The High Court has heard that rats ate into substantial amounts of cash which had been hoarded by an elderly woman in her home.

The woman, who was found living in squalid conditions, will now have her financial affairs looked after by the High Court.

The court was told that rats had eaten vast amounts of a substantial sum of bank notes hidden in the woman's home. Remnants of the notes could not be retrieved and had to be destroyed.

The woman, who has serious physical disabilities is now in a nursing home, the court was told.

The woman, who has no family, was described as being "cash poor" but owns property valued at €600,000.

The court was told the woman's house was an unimaginable "mess" with remnants of food all around and vermin having eaten away parts of the property as well as hoarded cash.

After the authorities raised concerns about her, the woman was moved from her house to a "state of the art" nursing home. She appears very happy there, demonstrating no desire to leave, solicitor Maria Dilllon said.

Her solicitor added that apart from her significant physical disabilities she was "hale and hearty".

President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the woman had been moved from "simply appalling" living conditions.

"Squalid is the only word," he said.

Some of the details are "stomach-churning", he added.

He praised her solicitor for the exemplary care given to the woman's case, which he said went "well beyond the call of duty."

The woman was not made a ward of court but the judge said the court would exercise jurisdiction to mirror the process as much as possible in relation to her care.

He also made orders allowing the nursing home to treat her as a resident and arrange for hospital and medical care if required.

The court earlier heard the nursing home is receiving 80% of the woman's pension and will get some €12,000 in a savings account to go towards the costs of her care.

The judge, however, added it is likely that orders will have to be made for the sale of her property so as to finance her care for the remainder of her life.