Sale agreed for Kate O’Brien house as festival looms large

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A SALE has been agreed for the home of famous Limerick writer Kate O’Brien in advance of the upcoming annual literary weekend in her honour.

A SALE has been agreed for the home of famous Limerick writer Kate O’Brien in advance of the upcoming annual literary weekend in her honour.

Auctioneer John de Courcy confirmed that the sale of the house on Mulgrave Street has been agreed for fractionally in excess of its asking price of just €85,000.

However, this does not include the expansive lands to the rear of Boru House.

The sale of the house is currently with both parties respective solicitors, and Mr de Courcy could not comment on this time on what the plans are for the property, or disclose the identity of the buyer. It is expected the sale will be confirmed next week.

The house and site was originally valued at €1.4m, while the house itself would have been valued at €350,000 during the height of the boom. Its price was written down by 76 per cent to lure a buyer, as the property had lain on the agents books for some five years and had declined into a state of dereliction.

During that time numerous city councillors called on the council to purchase the property for it to be used for a civic purpose.

The detached two-storey redbrick building spans 3000 sq ft property and includes seven bedrooms and four additional rooms in the attic.

It was built by the writer’s grandfather, Thomas O’Brien, in 1880 and is described of possessing “rich architectural, artistic and historic interest.”

The protected structure, has been damaged by fire due to acts of vandalism, but still retains many of its original architectural features.

The works of the writer, who passed away in 1974 aged 77, have given rise to the annual Kate O’Brien weekend in Limerick which will run for three days from Friday, February 24.

The theme for this year’s weekend is ‘Tell it slant’, a quote from an Emily Dickinson poem about telling the truth.

The Kate O’Brien lecture will be given by Nobel prize winning poet Seamus Heaney on Sunday, February 26 at 12 noon.

Other speakers will include John Boyne, author of the novel The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, which was made into an award-winning film; Frank McNally, a journalist with The Irish Times; Susie Boyt, novelist and columnist with the Financial Times, and poet Katharine Towers.

Limerick born sociologist Dr Niamh Hourigan will give a talk entitled ‘Tell it slant: intimacy and integrity in post Celtic Tiger Ireland’.

The annual literary weekend, which is now in its 28th year, is funded by the Arts Council and Limerick City Council.

The readings, lectures and seminars will take place in recently renovated Belltable Arts Centre on O’Connell Street.

Tickets for the events are priced from €10 to €15.

The University of Limerick’s Glucksman Library acquired the Kate O’Brien papers in 2002, which include her personal diaries and coverage of her literary life and death.

See Kate O’Brien weekend for full listings of all events.