International Rugby Experience set to open in Autumn 2022

Jul 2021
Image of the International Rugby Experience Tourist Attraction Limerick

The 30,000 sq. ft. International Rugby Experience is now firmly on schedule to open its doors in Autumn 2022 for a global celebration of the game of rugby union. At a cost of €30 million, the project is funded by the JP McManus Charitable Entities, and it is envisaged the centre will attract 100,000 visitors per annum.

The seven-storey building is one of the most exciting designs ever proposed for Limerick city and, aside from the celebration of rugby union, finished project will include spaces for the community to enjoy and for businesses to meet. In close proximity to some of Limerick’s leading hotels and attractions, the International Rugby Experience will also feature a café and street-level retail unit for visitors to enjoy. Nearby amenities also include public transport and a number of leading restaurants and eateries.

The Experience spaces will form a linear journey through the building, taking visitors from the grass roots of rugby, through training, the importance of determination and skill, the role of the wider team, culminating in the greatest rugby moments on the international stage.

This is a global celebration of rugby, the stories of amateur and professional era figures and their fascinating journeys. There will be six main experience spaces, each with a different character and proposition.

A global array of rugby legends will feature in the Experience including Dan Carter, Maggie Alphonsi, Willie John McBride, Joy Neville and Nigel Owens with many more names set to be released over the coming months. This is a global celebration of rugby, the stories of amateur and professional era figures and their fascinating journeys. There will be six main experience spaces, each with a different character and proposition. The stories in each space are underpinned by the World Rugby values of Passion, Discipline, Integrity, Solidarity and Respect. As visitors ascend through the building they will learn about each value and its importance to the game. 

An independent economic impact study has determined the International Rugby Experience will drive approximately €50 million in tourism revenue to the Limerick and Mid-West region in the five years after the doors open, with some €14m of that coming from overseas visitors. It is projected that a further 70 jobs will be supported in the local tourism economy through direct and indirect tourism service provision. This is in addition to the 100+ jobs created during the construction phase of the development, and the dozens of full-time staff the International Rugby Experience will employ once completed. It is also expected that the Experience will see up to 100,000 visitors a year.  

We are excited about bringing this fun, family-friendly, interactive experience to life in the heart of Limerick city. The sport of rugby union has many unique stories to tell and we are eagerly anticipating expressing them in a state of the art, audiovisual, interactive form.

Barry Hannon, International Rugby Experience CEO

International Rugby Experience CEO, Barry Hannon, said the new development can only help to enhance the Mid-West’s appeal to overseas visitors: “We are excited about bringing this fun, family-friendly, interactive experience to life in the heart of Limerick city. The sport of rugby union has many unique stories to tell and we are eagerly anticipating expressing them in a state of the art, audiovisual, interactive form.” 

“The Experience will appeal to avid rugby fans, future fans and family fun-seekers alike as there is truly something for everyone due to the sheer quality of the exhibition, curated by Event Communications. The architectural magnificence of the building will be an attraction in itself and we are looking forward to it living in the city centre and complementing the broad tourism offering Limerick already exhibits.”  

Ex Lions, Ireland and Munster captain and International Rugby Experience Chairman Paul O’Connell said: “It will be a world-class, 21st century celebration of the game, and even non-rugby lovers will be amazed by the interactive technology inside the walls. Since the very beginning, it was envisaged this Experience will be one of the best of its kind in the world and we can’t wait to really bring it to life for Limerick, and to the global stage.”