Mignon, Clancy Strand, Limerick Selling Price: €590,000 Broker: Murphy O’Connor (061) 279 300
The same trauma and fear experienced by residents of Ukrainian cities retaken in the recent counter-offensive was afflicted among the citizens of Limerick a century ago when the Free State Army attempted to wrest the city from the anti-Treaty IRA.
In July 1922, having been driven out of Dublin, the Irregulars consolidated in Munster in the second phase of the civil war. The IRA under Liam Forde’s Mid Limerick Brigade held four military barracks and most of the city.
At the same time, Free State forces under Michael Brennan and Donncadh O’Hannigan occupied the Customs House, Jail, Courthouse, Williams Street RIC Barracks and the Cruises Hotel.
Strand Barracks at Clancy Strand on the north bank of the Shannon was occupied by an anti-Treaty contingent led by Cornelius McNamara (Connie Mackey). Residents of neighboring houses such as Mignon, a four-bedroom red-brick terraced house two doors down from the barracks, must have feared the inevitable outbreak of hostilities.
It came on July 15, when the barracks of the Free State Army, stationed across the river and using the clock tower of St Mary’s Cathedral as a vantage point, came under sustained fire.
On July 17, General Eoin O’Duffy arrived with another 1,500 Free State soldiers and an 18-pounder field gun, which soon had its sights on Strand Barracks. Mignon, the late Victorian red brick house adjacent to the barracks, avoided the shells but was repeatedly raked with small arms fire during the ensuing five-day battle, eventually leading to the surrender of the barracks and the abandonment of Limerick by the Anti-Treaty forces on 20 July.
The house still bears the scars of that battle on its brickwork, which is riddled with more than a dozen bullet holes on both floors.
In Mignon owner Eithne Murphy’s front yard, she points across the river at the bell tower of St Mary’s Cathedral and then at the various bullet holes in her brick, made from half a kilometer away. A shot shattered a cornerstone, so powerful was the effect.
“A previous owner sued the state government for damages to his masonry. He got £500, which is €39,000 today,” she says. This inmate apparently found something else with the money and left the historic bullet holes untouched.
While the impact of the Civil War on the house is evident, the origin of the French connection is less clear, as indicated by the name ‘Mignon’ and ‘Bien Venue’ written in mosaic on the entrance hall floor. The house next door, Les Charmilles, also has strong French influences with its mansard roof. “The name, along with the welcoming message on the porch, has suggested that Mignon was once the property of a French architect,” says Murphy.
Mignon survived the Battle of Limerick and what’s more, this four bedroom terraced house overlooking the Shannon still retains many of its original Victorian features. It has just been launched with a target price of €590,000.
Born into the rag trade, Murphy’s family owned Eve’s, a well-known fashion boutique on Roche’s Street. A lover of horses, she went to Kildare to spend her time with the famous Iris Kellett, who had coached some of Irish show jumping’s stars like Eddie Macken and Paul Darragh. She returned to Limerick to lease a small stud farm from Shannon Development at Smithstown in Co Clare. She later joined the family business and since then has dedicated herself to teaching English to foreign students.
“My cousins lived here and whenever they were away I would look after the house and take care of ‘Quilty’ their cat. I fell in love with the place and asked them to give me a first go if they ever decide to sell. They did and sold it to me in 1999. It was like destiny. There was just one small caveat, I had to keep Quilty, which wasn’t a problem.”
A service door or servants’ entrance to the right of the front door attests to the stratified society that existed at the time of construction in the 1890s. The room behind the service door is now a utility room. Through the actual main door and to the left is the sitting room with a bay window and an ornate tiled fireplace. The next room on the left was originally the dining room but is now a bedroom. It also has an ornate tiled fireplace.
To the rear is a bright kitchen/dining area with sliding doors and velux windows in a room extended from the original house. French doors lead to a small rear garden whilst upstairs there are four bedrooms and a family bathroom. Original features include tiled fireplaces, high ceilings, ornate cornices and coving, a tiled walkway and cast iron railings in the front yard. Improvements made by Eithne who is now selling include new windows and a new roof. “I decided to leave the bullet holes as they are,” she says, “they are part of the character of the place.” O’Connor Murphy is aiming for 590,000 euros.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/bullet-holes-and-a-battle-for-a-barracks-are-part-of-this-limerick-home-42010580.html Bullet holes and a barracks fight are part of this Limerick home