THERE’S a sort of a subtle, circular theme going on at St Rita’s, a fine-upstanding Edwardian home on Limerick city’s esteemed Ennis Road: curves, circles and oval shapes abound, inside and outside.
Most notable, from the get-go, is the top floor’s small and perfectly formed nine-pane circular or occulus window, in a sort of ‘noughts and crosses’ pattern.
Other windows and glazing patterns across the very original facade of this impressive semi-d also have round-headed sections and timber tracery, while a curvaceous bit of painted decking sets another tone, right by the front door in the long approach garden, while a bed of purple heathers curves in another sweep close to the entrance gate.
Several of the many en suite bedrooms inside have curved shower enclosures, including one in a mosaic tiled alcove. Also, some feature mirrors are circular, but they are more easily obtained. A projecting section of the kitchen’s granite-topped birch units appears to have a curve, possibly by being done in a steamed ply, all helping to keep the witting or unwitting curve theme cooking.
Finally, and to round it all off out the back of tall and accommodating St Rita’s is a stand-alone separate studio, with four elliptical shaped windows, and a curved, wood-clad finish along one side and corner.
That studio space is about 250 sq ft, and is set just a few feet away from a previously added ground floor annex to the back of this three-storey home, which in itself has about 3,000 sq ft, in an adaptable layout.
Web searches indicate this house may have traded as Saint Rita’s B&B, and it currently does an Air BnB trade, facilitated by the presence of seven en suite bedrooms on its upper two levels and returns, and it also has an en suite ground floor bedroom, bringing the tally to eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms in all. Views to the front are over the Ennis Road, and the views from the upper level rear bedrooms include the stadium at Thomond Park, to the north.
Limerick estate agent JC Gubbins has a €720,000 price tag on St Rita’s which is in quite exalted company of large period homes, many in this row attributed to a Clifford Smith and “evidence of the middle class wealth in the city at the time,” says the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Most are in private family occupation, or reverting to domestic usage only, and the location has a century’s cachet of exclusive address (there are captivating black and white images of the section by St Rita’s in the National Gallery’s Lawrence Collection, showing families with perambulators on the road, next to a horse and trap.)
Externally, it has a part brick and dash exterior with canted two storey bay windows with limestone pillars and decorative cast iron cresting above the first floor bay; there’s a covered balcony over the porch, with the occulus window above. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (www.niah.ie) has a fuller appreciative description, along with cataloguing the ornate bargeboard/fascias, corbels and cast iron cresting/trellis work. Internally, it has many architectural features with fireplaces (in some bedrooms, also) decorative plasterwork, dados, 9’ ceilings with coving and an arch in the parquet-floored hall.
At ground are two, interlinked reception rooms with fireplaces, and the kitchen’s down below to the back in an added on section that includes modern kitchen, dining section with pitched/vaulted ceiling glazing rooflights, and casual seating, with a wood-burning stove, while the further section is described as a self-contained one-bed apartment.
Auctioneer JC Gubbins says St Ritas “is a wonderful Edwardian style home which has been maintained impeccably over the years. The spacious family friendly accommodation has a superbly maintained interior, a modern extension with annex, landscaped gardens to the front with a separate studio and parking at the rear.”
Rear access is via a sliding electric gate, off the Farranshone Road, while Shelbourne Road runs the few hundred yards up to Munster rugby shrine Thomond Park.
VERDICT: Could be bought as a family home, or, given the setting, could return to part-guest accommodation use – squaring the circle?
Ennis Road, Limerick
Size: 275 sq m (2,960 sq ft)
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