CONSIDERED to be the Madonna of her era, Patrick Street-born singer Catherine Hayes had become a sensation in the world of opera at just 20 in the 1840s.
Hayes, one of Ireland’s first female celebrities in the cultural world, studied in Dublin before moving to continue studies in Paris, completing them in Milan.
According to media reports in the late 1840s, the soprano’s talents were so revered, there were mile-long queues leading up to one of her concerts at the Covent Garden Theatre in London.
Hayes died at the young age of 36 in 1861, setting the tone for Limerick’s prosperous music culture as the city’s first ever prominent singer.
She was born at 4 Patrick Street and is the reason the redevelopment of the area was known as the Opera Centre.