New home view: Meet me in St Luas
St Luas, North Circular Road, Limerick City Asking price: €250,000-€390,000 Agent: REA O'Connor Murphy (061) 279 300
Saint Molua is said to have been born in the sixth century in Ardagh, Co Limerick. On a visit to Munster, St Comhghall, the Abbot of Bangor, discovered Molua asleep in a field, where he had been tending his father's flocks. Recognising the boy's holiness, St Comhghall reputedly took him with him to Bangor, where he studied for the religious life and was ordained a priest.
Molua went on to set up a series of monasteries, including at Ardagh and at Killaloe in east Clare. He was also known as St Lua, with "mo" being a term of endearment in Irish that was prefixed to the names of many saints. Right next to the Catholic church in Killaloe is St Lua's Oratory, a building that once stood on Friar's Island in the River Shannon. In the 1930s when Ardnacrusha was built, Friar's Island was flooded and submerged, so the oratory was dismantled and rebuilt on the grounds of the church at Killaloe.
In Limerick city, 24km away from Killaloe, many of the detached houses on Iona Drive were named after saints. These included, it is believed, the home that once sat on the site of St Luas, a development of high-end apartments. Despite the name of the scheme missing an apostrophe and giving the impression it is linked to Dublin's tram system, the three-storey complex's name is a nod to the site's heritage.
Iona Drive itself is tucked away off the North Circular Road, which is dotted with some of the most sought-after houses in the city. The North Circular Road is home to Gleneagles, the most expensive property to sell in Limerick so far this year - in February, the five-bed, 4,000-sq ft house sold for €1.11m.
Also on the road is Kilmoyle House, better known as the Bishop's Palace, built in the 1830s. The three-storey pile, which stands on six acres, was sold in 2007 for a reported €26m to property developer Aidan Brooks. After the crash, Gerry McManus, brother of billionaire JP McManus, bought Kilmoyle House for a knock-down €1.1m. McManus submitted a planning application to restore the house and add buildings such as a gate lodge but some of the property was gutted by fire in 2016. However, McManus is still ploughing ahead with the plans.
St Luas, meanwhile, dates back to the origins of the Celtic Tiger: the apartments in the tree-lined scheme were originally built in 1994, but they have been fully refurbished and freshly redecorated and put on the market. The revamped complex is made up of 10 apartments, with prices ranging from €250,000 for a one-bed to €390,000 for number nine, the most expensive two-bed penthouse. Offers have already been made on three of the apartments.
The gated entrance to the development is flanked by iron railings and the facade is finished in render, with red-brick detail between the front double-glazed PVC windows. Would-be residents will also have access to a communal roof-top garden. There is a variety of internal layouts within the development. Number nine, for instance, spans 1,598 sq ft, making it larger than many a four-bed house in Limerick City, and has wrap-around terraces commanding views of its leafy environs.
Just off its hallway is a master bedroom with a shower in the accompanying ensuite, and a second bedroom, both with built-in wardrobes. Unlike many new penthouses, number nine comes with a separate living room. Both the kitchen and dining spaces in the open-plan kitchen/diner have access to their own side-balconies, while the kitchen also overlooks the main balcony to the front of the living room and second bedroom. Each apartment has gas heating and secure private parking, while the common areas have electric storage heating and lifts. Owners will be charged management fees of about €2,500 a year.
St Luas is within walking distance of Barrington's pier, the riverbank walk, the city centre and the Limerick Lawn Tennis Club.
Viewings of the show-apartment at St Luas are by appointment only.