Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Three colourful redbrick houses
in a terrace in inner city Limerick

Carrick Villas … three picturesque and highly decorative Victorian houses on Newenham Street, Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

On my walk around inner-city Limerick yesterday afternoon, I stopped to admire Carrick Villas, a short terrace of three unusual late Victorian houses – Nos 8, 9 and 10 Newenham Street – between Henry Street and O’Connell Street in Limerick.

These picturesque though neglected highly decorative houses stand on the south side of Newenham Street and they provide a colourful and sharp contrast to the imposing and sometimes sober Georgian terraces found on the neighbouring streets.

The three small houses that form Carrick Villas were built in redbrick and stone around 1875, and they are at odds with the uniformity of the remainder of the street. Their decorative yet modest façades add interest and variety to the streetscape of this part of inner city Limerick.

No 8, on the corner of Newenham Street and Lourigan’s Lane, is an end-of-terrace, two-bay, two-storey house with an attic storey and a gable, and with a gabled attic storey and return.

The redbrick walls are laid in Flemish bond with yellow brick quoins and window and door surrounds, and on this house the letters ‘Carrick’ can be seen in the yellow brick above the first floor.

There are rubble limestone walls at the side gabled elevation and the rear elevation. There are yellow brick flat-arched window openings with timber casement windows and limestone sills, with two-over-two timber sash window to ground floor.

There is a yellow brick round-arched door opening with a replacement decorative timber-panelled door flanked by pair of timber pilasters and foliate console brackets with an architrave and fanlight above.

The front door opens onto a concrete step and a limestone flagged front area that is enclosed by low red brick walls with limestone ashlar stiles and coping that have cast-iron railings and a gate.

The house has a pitched natural slate roof with a substantial shared red brick chimneystack, terracotta pots and cast-iron rainwater goods. There are decorative black clay ridge tiles to the central attic half-dormer, with a barge board and timber finial.

The lettering in yellow brick at No 8 and 9 Carrick Villas (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

No 9 is a mid-terrace, two-bay, two-storey over basement polychromatic house, with a gabled dormer attic window above decorative brick lettering to the eaves level, reading ‘Villas.’

Here too the redbrick-faced walls are laid in Flemish bond with red and yellow brick quoins to the east party wall. There is a rubble limestone rear elevation.

The house has square-headed window openings, with raised yellow-brick surrounds that have block-and-start sides and flat arches and limestone sills to both. The windows are replacement uPVC windows.

The round-arched door opening has a yellow brick arch and surround, and the inset timber doorcase has flat panels with console brackets joined by a profiled lintel. There is an early raised and fielded panelled timber door, and a plain fanlight above.

There is a pitched artificial slate roof with cast-iron rainwater goods, and a timber finial and plain timber bargeboard to the dormer. There is a redbrick chimneystack to the west party wall.

The front site is enclosed by a redbrick plinth wall with limestone coping supporting the original wrought-iron railings with arch and finial detailing. There are limestone reveals at the gate opening, and a limestone flagged path to the front door.

Decorative brickwork at No 10 Carrick Villas (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

No 10 is the smallest of the three houses on this terrace and is almost diminutive in this street setting.

This is a single-bay, two-storey, polychromatic house, with decorative brick coursing at the eaves level. The redbrick faced walls are laid in Flemish bond with red and yellow brick herringbone courses at the eaves level.

The house has square-headed window openings, with raised red and yellow brick surrounds that have alternating chamfered and squared reveals to the block-and-start sides at the first floor level and ovolo moulded reveals at the ground floor level. There is a polychrome flat arch and limestone sill to both, and two-over-two timber sash windows with ogee horns.

The round-arched door opening has a yellow brick arch and surround, and an inset timber doorcase made of flat panels with console brackets joined by a profiled lintel. There is a replacement raised and fielded panelled timber door that has a plain fanlight above.

No 10 house has a pitched artificial slate roof with cast-iron rainwater goods. The rear span has been altered to form a dormer window.

The front site at No 10 is enclosed by a red brick plinth wall with limestone coping supporting the original wrought-iron railings with arch and finial detailing. There are Limestone gate reveals and original wrought-iron gate.

These three houses seem to be sadly neglected today, but a little tender loving care could return this terrace to a vivid and colourful presence in this part of inner city Limerick.

With a little careful attention, Carrick Villas could offer a vivid and colourful presence in inner-city Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

‘Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.’

The Malabar community from Kerala in India lead us into Saint John’s Cathedral in Limerick last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

As Ireland awaits the arrival of Pope Francis, I was invited to take part in a special service in Saint John’s Cathedral, Limerick, last night [21 August 2018] to mark the opening of the World Meeting of Families.

The service of Solemn Evening Prayer was entitled Le Chéile le Críost and was led by Bishop Brendan Leahy of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop Kenneth Kearon of the Church of Ireland.

Other participants included the Dean of Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Niall Sloane, who read the Epistle reading, the Methodist minister in Adare, the Revd Ruth Watt who joined me in leading the intercessions, and members of the Italian, Spanish and Polish community.

We were led in and out of the cathedral by members of the Malabar community from Kerala in India, carrying colourful parasols.

Dean Niall Sloane, Bishop Brendan Leahy and Bishop Kenneth Kearon at Saint John’s Cathedral last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

The attendance included the newly-elected Mayor of Limerick, Councillor James Collins, Senator Maria Byrne, members of the council, parish delegates, academics, representatives of the defence forces and youth groups.

It seemed both thoughtful and appropriate that I was asked to lead prayers for emigrants, migrants and refugees:

We pray for all who live apart from their family, for young people and families who have emigrated abroad, for all those who experience marginalisation, for those forced to flee their homeland in search of safety.

There was going to be no complacency about the meaning of family life at last night’s service. The opening hymn, as we processed in and lit and shared candles, was ‘Christ, be our light’ by Bernadette Farrell:

The Malabar community from Kerala in India prepare to lead us out from Saint John’s Cathedral, Limerick, last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness. Longing for truth, we turn to you. Make us your own, your holy people, light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has pow’r to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.


Earlier in the day, a street party filled Saint John’s Square for the afternoon. This was the second day in a row that a part of Limerick had come to a standstill for celebrations, although the return of the All-Ireland hurling champions to Limerick on Monday was on a far greater scale.

It was a sunny afternoon, as friars from Moyross mixed with musicians, dancers, face-painters, puppeteers, in between the food stalls, enjoying the summer sunshine.

Friars and ice cream in the summer sunshine in Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)