Little Ratra

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Little Ratra, sometimes called Ratra House, is one of the minor state residences located in Dublin's Phoenix Park. Until recently it was used as the Civil Defence School.

The building, which was built circa 1876 and originally known as the Little Lodge, was the official residence of the Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who lived out of season in the next door Viceregal Lodge. Its first resident was Lord Randolph Churchill who was appointed his Private Secretary by the then Lord Lieutenant, his father John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough. Churchill lived there with his wife Jennie Jerome, and his young son Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill in his writings described his four years, from aged 2 to 6, spent in the Little Lodge as among the happiest of his life. It was claimed that he developed his interest in the military from watching military parades at the Lodge.

Following Irish independence in 1922 the house was used for some years by staff of the Governor-General of the Irish Free State before becoming the official residence of Adjutant General of the Irish Army, Major General Brennan between 1926 and 1940.

It was the last Irish state residence to be connected to the ESB grid, in 1937.

In 1945, the wheelchair-using retiring first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde was judged too ill to return to his Roscommon country house, Ratra. It was decided instead to move him into the vacant residence in the grounds of the Lodge (then renamed...
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