Back row, Martin Johnson, Cian Foley, Kieran McManus, Rory Best, Jonathan Sexton, middle row, Jeremy Guscott, Keith Wood, Matt Dawson, Barry Hannon, Francois Pienaar, front row, Peter Stringer, Sean Fitzpatrick, Ciara Griffin, Danielle Waterman, Sue Ann Foley, JP McManus, Paul O’Connell, Joy Neville, Noreen McManus, and Bryan Habana, assisted by IRE staff Karolina Bienert and Anthony Shaw at the ribbon-cutting for the International Rugby Experience launch, as the state-of-the-art, interactive visitor attraction launched in Limerick. Picture: Don Moloney
Some of the most famous faces in rugby union were in Limerick for the International Rugby Experience launch
Some of the most famous faces in rugby union were in Limerick today to launch the six-storey International Rugby Experience, Ireland’s newest interactive visitor experience situated in the heart of the city.
A variety of World Cup winners, British & Irish Lions legends and Irish Rugby stars including Bryan Habana, Francois Pienaar, Jonathan Sexton, Joy Neville, Danielle Waterman, Keith Wood, Paul O’Connell, Jeremy Guscott, Matt Dawson, Sean FitzPatrick, Martin Johnson, Peter Stringer, Ciara Griffin and Rory Best were among today’s inaugural visitors to the six-storey “Home of Legends”.
With tickets priced at just €10 for children (under 18) and €15 for adults, individuals and families can discover what it takes to Become a Legend – following the game from grassroots right up to the players, clubs and nations that have reached legendary status.
Inspired by World Rugby’s values of Passion, Discipline, Integrity, Solidarity and Respect, visitors will hear the stories, feel the passion and test their own skills as they move through six, awe-inspiring stages inside the state-of-the-art building. Using leading, custom-made, real-time software coupled with the expert knowledge of Jock Peggie, Head of Education, Laws and Compliance at World Rugby, the interactive experience delivers a truly authentic and exciting reflection of the game, with visitors having hands-on fun every step of the way.
Stunning 360-degree views of Limerick city centre ensure that the sixth-floor Legends Gallery will be a jaw-dropping end to this unique, interactive, experience. Walk-in visitors are welcome from tomorrow morning with tickets available to pre-book from May 15 online at www.internationalrugbyexperience.com.
The not-for-profit venture was initially funded via a €30 million investment by the JP McManus Charitable Foundation.
International Rugby Experience Chairperson, Paul O’Connell said he was delighted to now be able to welcome the public to the building, “It’s been years in the making, but we’re finally able to throw open the doors and the whole team are really looking forward to it. This is a visitor attraction that Limerick, and indeed the whole country, can be proud of and we’re very thankful to those who have helped us along our journey to this point.”
International Rugby Experience CEO, Barry Hannon, echoed O’Connell’s sentiments, “We’re delighted to be able to say that we’re open for business tomorrow and that advance tickets can now be pre-booked on our website, with entry dates from May 15; we’d encourage everybody who is interested in visiting to book online as soon as they can.
Judging from the level of interest we’ve already received, demand will be high and we want people to make sure they’re getting the dates and time slots they want. This is going to be a really unique and fun way to spend time in Limerick city – for families, fans and those just looking for something different to do. Come and see for yourselves!”
The International Rugby Experience ground-floor retail space and first-floor café are also notable features of the new building. Offerings include everything from locally produced contemporary ceramics by Aoife Slattery, customised collections of rugby-inspired prints by Nell Stritch and Paul O’Brien’s unique artwork of local landmarks, to bespoke branded clothing and much more. With locally sourced food suppliers to the fore, the International Rugby Experience café offers a selection of light bites, quality coffee and a unique setting overlooking Limerick city from the first floor.
The International Rugby Experience tours, gift store and cafe will be open seven days a week from 3 rd May onwards; 9.30am to 6pm, with the last tour starting at 4.30pm.
Pictures: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick