Rutland Street, Limerick

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View of the Old Customs House on Rutland Street, now occupied by the Hunt Museum

Rutland Street (Irish: Sráid Rutland) is a street in central Limerick, Ireland that forms part of the main central thoroughfare of the city which incorporates Rutland Street, Patrick Street & O'Connell Street. It is named after Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, who was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1784 and who visited Limerick in 1785.[1] Rutland Street along with nearby Bank Place features some of Limerick's earliest (& oldest) examples of Georgian Architecture. It was the first street developed as part of Edmund Sexton Pery's plans for Newtown Pery, and was the first part of the great Georgian expansion of Limerick south from the medieval city.

The Hunt Museum is located on Rutland Street. It is located in the former Customs House, designed by architect Davis Ducart. The building dates from 1769. The headquarters of Limerick Corporation were located in the old Town Hall on the street. Limerick Corporation moved to Merchant's Quay near the City Courthouse in 1990. This then became the Mid West Business Institute before it moved to Upper William Street.

Once a very busy & thriving commercial centre, the past decade saw a steady decline in the economic prospects of the street which accelerated rapidly towards the end of the decade. All of the east facing side of the street was earmarked to be part of the Opera Centre which was a massive retail development to be built on a derelict site to the rear of the street. The development did not proceed due to the Irish Financial Crisis of 2008 onwards and has left the street empty of any business, retail or commercial activity along with its adjoining streets. The street has become characterised by dereliction & economic depression. Some of the city's earliest Georgian townhouses are now in real danger of dereliction and being lost completely.

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