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From two-bed Dublin flat to the delights of the Aras for Michael D

IT USED to be Michael D from the block but not for much longer.

This is the city apartment block that our President Elect will vacate later this week.

The Herald can reveal that Michael D Higgins has been living in a modest two-bed apartment during his recent years in the Dail.

In a few days time the Galway man will move into the country's plushest pad, leaving behind the residents of Grattan Hall on Mount Street. A neighbour at the south city apartments said: "You would often see Michael D here. He was always friendly and quiet."

She laughed: "He was never having any mad poetry nights or anything like that."

Soon Michael D will live in a house that could accommodate the entire block of Grattan Hall.

The 70-year-old will say goodbye to his neighbours when he moves into Aras an Uachtarain with his wife Sabina on Friday.

It is impossible to put a value on the Aras but should Michael D decide to sell his old apartment he could hope to make around €200,000.

A similar home in the same block is currently for sale with an asking price of €195,000.

He also has a family home in Galway, located on the Circular Road. His four children will remain in Galway.

In an interview with the Herald following his father's election victory, Michael Higgins Jnr admitted that he and his siblings would use the Aras as a "retreat".

"I won't live in the Aras, I don't think any of the kids will. But we may well use it as a retreat," he said.

The Galway home appears modest from the exterior, but has a sizeable extension at the rear of the property.

While it would have sold for well over one million euro in the boom time, its current value is estimated to be around the €700,000 mark.

Mr Higgins lived in his flat on Mount Street for several years -- which is only a few minutes walk from his former workplace of Leinster House.

He used the apartment as his Dublin base when out canvassing in the capital during the presidential election.

The Galway man is already making plans for the Aras -- and has ordered two Bernese mountain dogs which will become the first pets of the Higgins administration.