DAFT Punk’s hit song Get Lucky proved fortuitous for Limerick musicians Mark Sheehan and David Irwin some months ago.
They had finished playing a gig in Limerick, and had been racking their brains to think of a name for their first business, located in an disused unit in a lane-way off Catherine Street.
The increasingly popular Lucky Lane has born just before Christmas, and since then, a host of new, small enterprises have been springing up across the city. Now home to a collective of artisan traders, Lucky Lane was formerly used as a storage yard for Duggan Glass.
“We were impressed with the size and the location, and immediately saw the potential of the place. It was one of those thoughts that kept developing, and we thought that we had to follow through, rather than just talking about it. It has been really rewarding to have people come in and say ‘This is a really nice quirky place’.
“We had the intention of opening up some sort of arts and crafts unit, with a focus on the upcycling and recycling concept. So when we saw this place it all made sense,” explained Mark, a music graduate of Limerick Institute of Technology from Shannonbanks.
They took a leasehold, renovated the space and began getting others involved. As part of the unit remains open to the element, they incorporated a mini garden centre to the front of the store.
“We now have a bit of a collective with eight or nine different here selling their goods, and sell on commission other arts and crafts, from handbags to bath products and jewellery. We have LPs and the old Limerick prints are quite a hit at the moment” he explained.
“We’re delighted we’re surviving in the current climate. Our main focus was ‘Can we survive January, February and March?’ We’ve gotten this far, and with the good weather beginning, and more people on the streets, more people are coming on as we seem to have a little bit of something for everybody. It has been fun, and it’s nice to be able to say that about a new business or any business.”
Twenty-somethings Abigail Hibbert and Maeve O’Donovan were also not afraid to take a chance on their first business, located in a cellar in Foxes Bow, and appropriately called the Cellar Door.
Abigail, 24, an actress from Cheshire in England, and Maeve, 23, from Ardnacrusha, met upstairs, while working in The Blind Pig pub.
They left the bar, and moved downstairs in late March to open up their Moroccan themed style cafe, which sells cakes, buns, coffee and vintage clothing, which they source from suppliers across Ireland and the UK. “It was such a wasted space, and such a beautiful space, we felt we had to do something with it,” said Maeve, a finalist on RTE’s You’re a Star when she was just 16.
The venue is now hosting live music, poetry and story telling sessions.
The duo long felt that a gap had been left in the market following the closure of Java’s on Catherine Street, and now the Cellar Door is the only late night cafe open in Limerick, and a safe place for teenagers to come to up to 9pm, they say. “It’s going really well. We’re tired but it’s a good tired, especially when it’s your own place. It’s a nice, relaxed space to come in. We’ve a lot we want to do yet but it’s exciting,” said Abigail.
A day in the life of a young entrepreneur is not easy, however, as they get home at 10pm and stay up baking until 1am. Delicious treats on offer include gluten free brownies, gelatin free cheesecake, lemon Greek cake, and chocolate and raspberry brownies. With cheese boards and wine due to be added to the menu, and new businesses opening nearby, they hope that Foxes Bow may yet turn into “Limerick’s Bohemian quarter”.
Nearby, the Stormy Teacup shop has also opened on Foxes Bow, which describes itself as “an alternative tea and coffee shop, a place that is a haven for book and craft lovers alike,” following donations of €6,500 from the public for their start-up costs.
The brainchild of good friends Mārtiņš Punculis and Ruth Crean, they said it all started over a nice cup of tea.