Paul O'Connell across from the site of the new rugby experience Picture: Alan Place
A €10 million rugby interactive ‘Rugby Experience’ is to be opened in Limerick city.
The new centre was announced this Monday morning, but won’t open until September 2019.
The digital interactive visitor centre dedicated to rugby worldwide will fill a high-tech 30,000 square foot exhibition space - funded by an initial investment of €10 million by JP McManus.
"We are very excited about this initiative for Limerick which will be the first of its kind in Ireland,” said JP McManus.
“Hopefully it will encourage more private investment to the city centre renewal programme and will further enhance exchequer returns as well as creating spin off jobs as a result.
"We are also delighted that the location of the centre is in the heart of Georgian Limerick which has many historic values. The sport of rugby is at the core of Limerick, its people and visitors, and we are absolutely delighted it will be celebrated and treasured here,” outlined Mr McManus.
Located at 40-42 O’Connell Street and No 1 Cecil Street, Limerick, the ‘rugby experience’ is intended to be an international tourist attraction with dramatic 4D interactive galleries and exhibits celebrating iconic moments from the world of rugby.
The planning process is set to commence in the coming months with works anticipated to advance on site in early 2018 and could generate up to 100 city centre jobs locally during the construction phase with permanent positions created after completion.
The international rugby experience will have an advisory board headed by former Munster, Ireland and Lions Captain Paul O’Connell and will include leading figures from the world of sport, business and tourism.
“Limerick has a strong and historic rugby tradition which is internationally recognised,” said O’Connell.
“The objective of the visitor centre is to operate as a fitting tribute to the sport of rugby across the world and in so doing, recognise every country in which it is played through the highest quality interactive digital experience. I’m very proud to be part of this ground breaking project and look forward to working with the team on its development,” said O’Connell.
Dedicated immersive and sensory galleries designed for Irish and international rugby fans will be a top attraction.
The objective of the development is to recognise and celebrate the sport of rugby throughout the world with futuristic and interactive presentations in a state-of-the-art setting.
It is hoped global strategic partnerships will be developed to further authenticate the experience as an international “go-to” destination for tourists, sports fans and families alike.