IT is unrecognisable since his childhood days here in the 1940s, but presidential hopeful Michael D. Higgins paid an emotional journey to Limerick at the weekend where he lived for the first five years of his life.
The Labour candidate visited No. 27 Belfield Park, just off the Ennis Road, where he was born in 1941. His family lived there until 1946, before moving to Clare when his father fell ill.
The 70 year-old met the present owners John and Kathleen Histon, their son Andrew, aged 11, and daughter Jill, aged 13, who have been living here for the past four years.
The couple said they were completely unaware until last week that it was originally home to a presidential candidate. â€œI hope youâ€™re very happy here. Youâ€™ve done a fantastic job on this house,â€ he said.
Mr Histon. who works with Irish Aid in Limerick following its decentralisation from Dublin, said their children were excited about the visit all week.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Mr Higgins described his redeveloped former home as an â€œarchitectural achievement, which has brought the outside in.â€
â€œThat period of my life was probably the most comfortable,â€ he earlier told an audience in the White House pub, where he read a selection his new poetry.