ALMOST €28m has been spent in the last three-and-a-half years renovating, redecorating and redeveloping Ireland's international network of embassies.
The costs range from the mundane to the monstrous, from tiny repainting jobs to major multi-million-euro refurbishments.
By far the biggest project was the €5.2m spent on the ambassador's residence in the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
The renovated home ended up being double the size of the Canadian prime minister's home, running to a floor area of 24,000sq ft.
According to figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the refurbishment cost €1.8m in 2008 and a further €3.362m last year.
Costly renovations also took place at the embassy in the Hague, in the Netherlands, where €6.8m was spent on the embassy building and the ambassador's residence.
More than €600,000 was spent at the embassy in the Vatican City, which some government critics have said should be closed. It is one of two embassies maintained by Ireland in Rome at an annual cost of €2.5m.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not possible to shut either of the two embassies as the Vatican would not accept an ambassador who had the same address as the embassy for the Italian Republic.
It was not only overseas that the department spent huge sums of money – a residence in the Belfast secretariat was redeveloped at a cost of €781,000 in 2007.
Other major projects that year included €992,000 spent on a residence in Lisbon and another €420,000 spent on the ambassador's house in London.
In 2008, the largest portion of expenditure went on Ottawa and the Hague, but considerable expense was also incurred elsewhere.
A total of €562,000 was spent in Canberra, Australia, with most of that going on redevelopment of the chancery and a further €46,000 spent on the official residence.
The house of the ambassador in Oslo, Norway, was also renovated at considerable cost, with the project coming in at €550,000.
Significant costs were run up in the US capital Washington DC, where a total of €709,000 was spent doing up the official residence there.
In 2009, the largest costs again related to works carried out in the Hague and in Ottawa, but more than €10m was spent that year.
Other large-scale projects included a €1.144m renovation of the chancery in Brussels, Belgium, and €939,000 spent at the chancery in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Costs have been considerably cut this year and less than €3m has been spent so far.
The largest projects included a €401,000 refurbishment of the residence in the Czech capital Prague, a further €534,000 for the chancery in Addis Ababa and €482,000 for offices of the North-South Ministerial Council in Armagh.