International Rugby Experience to be Gifted to People of Limerick

Apr 2024
International Rugby Experience Building
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JP McManus to donate state-of-the-art visitor attraction to Limerick City & County Council

One of Ireland’s leading visitor attractions, the state-of-the-art International Rugby Experience (IRE) on O’Connell Street, Limerick, will be donated by JP McManus and his family to the people of Limerick.

The IRE, initially funded through a €30 million investment by the JP McManus Charitable Foundation, is a fully immersive, hands on, multi-sensory experience designed to engage and inspire families and individuals alike. Inspired by World Rugby’s values of Passion, Discipline, Integrity, Solidarity and Respect, visitors hear the stories, feel the passion and test their own skills as they move through six, awe-inspiring stages inside the ‘Home of Legends’.


Following a process of due diligence, the 30,000 square foot centre will be owned and operated by Limerick City & County Council. It is envisaged that Discover Limerick DAC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Limerick City and County Council, will oversee the day-to-day operations, while the IRE will continue to be managed by the existing team appointed on opening last year. 

Heads of Terms have been signed by both parties and the transition process will commence once due diligence is completed. This transaction will enhance the current offering of Discover Limerick DAC particularly for visitors also travelling to their other attractions, such as King John’s Castle, Lough Gur Visitor Centre and Adare Heritage Centre.


Designed by renowned architect, Níall McLaughlin, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) announced the IRE as the winner of the Public Choice category at the Irish Architecture Awards 2023 and the building has since been recognised internationally for its world class design and structure. The ground floor retail space, first floor café and event spaces will also come under the remit of the local authority.

It has been an eventful first year in operation for the IRE, with a star-studded launch last May featuring legends of the game such as Jonathan Sexton, Martin Johnson, Sean Fitzpatrick, Bryan Habana, Joy Neville, Matt Dawson, Danielle Waterman and Francois Pienaar.

International Rugby Experience CEO, Barry Hannon said: “Over the course of the first year in operation, we have seen our corner of O’Connell Street revitalised by the International Rugby Experience with visitors to the building from far and wide to partake in the AV experience, for our local food offering or to support one of the many local artists who are displaying in our gift shop. We would like to recognise Paul O’Connell and Keith Wood for their incredible insight and expertise to ensure the successful outcome of the project. The IRE has truly become the public and civic building we sought to create and this next stage of the journey in public ownership will protect the buildings legacy, outlasting us all for generations.”

Deputy Chief Executive of Limerick City & County Council, Gordon Daly added: “This is an exciting opportunity for the Council to add International Rugby Experience to our existing successful tourist attractions; King Johns Castle, Lough Gur, Limerick Greenway and Adare Heritage Centre and build stronger synergies to drive tourism development and promotion in Limerick. We are working closely with IRE to advance the due diligence process and commence the transition.”

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