Limerick’s International Rugby Experience reveals plans for six-storey, immersive celebration of the game

Oct 2022
Barry Hannon (IRE CEO), Tracy Deane (IRE Operations Manager), Keith Wood (member of IRE advisory Board), Emma Foote (IRE Marketing Manager), Paul O'Connell (IRE Chairman) and James Alexander (CEO of Event, the Experience designers).
International Rugby Experience team, Barry Hannon (CEO), Tracy Deane (Operations Manager) & Emma Foote (Marketing Manager) with Keith Wood (IRE Advisory Board Member), Paul O'Connell (IRE Chairman) and James Alexander (CEO, Event Communications).

With exterior building work completed, the International Rugby Experience in Limerick city centre is now well advanced in its final, fit out stage. Experience designers Event, responsible for some of the most well-known visitor attractions and museums across the globe including, on the island of Ireland, Titanic Belfast and EPIC - The Irish Emigration Museum, are overseeing installation of the immersive, audio-visual experience, which will feature some of the best-known global stars of the sport.

Speaking at an event in the building on Thursday 13th October, Chairperson Paul O’Connell said he and the team were delighted to be close to opening the doors to the wider public.

Former Ireland, Lions and Munster captain O’Connell said: “We’re delighted to be at this stage of what has been a very exciting project to date. We’re really looking forward to welcoming the public through our doors shortly, and for them to enjoy the array of national and international names that have kindly agreed to be a part of our Experience. Approximately 100,000 visitors are expected in year one so it is really a case of hitting the ground running.”

Experience designer and Event Communications CEO James Alexander described the six zones inside the new building, each completely different from the next. Visitors will be taken on a journey - from grass roots level through to what makes someone a legend of the game – with each stage rooted in World Rugby's five key values of passion, discipline, integrity, solidarity and respect.

Vast media installations will bring all the exciting energy of game day. Immersive theatre spaces will re-live some of the most famous moments in rugby history, and a series of huge, game-style interactive trials will put the visitor’s running, kicking and passing skills to the test.

“The International Rugby Experience is the home of great rugby stories, gathered from all corners of the globe and featuring tales from across the generations. But more than simply a feast of statistics and rugby facts and figures, it is a fully-immersive, hands-on , multi-sensory experience designed to engage and inspire. Targeted at families seeking a fun day out as well as ardent rugby fans seeking to ‘deep dive’ into the detail, the International Rugby Experience is one of a kind and a ‘must see’ in Ireland’s rugby heartland.” James Alexander

The Experience is set to open early in the new year and will feature past and present rugby union players from Ireland and beyond, including Tadgh Furlong, Jonny Wilkinson, Joy Neville, Thierry Dusautoir, Keith Earls, Nigel Owens and David Pocock.

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. There will be over 50 people employed in the building at peak season in a wide variety of roles. The footfall will also support a number of additional jobs in the local economy once open and there were over 400 employed during the construction phase.

The Niall McLaughlin-designed building, home to the International Rugby Experience, is a unique, 30,000 sq ft structure on Limerick’s O’Connell Street.