ECHOES of Harry Potter will resound across the University of Limerick campus this summer when it hosts the European Quidditch Cup and the International Quidditch Association European Games.
The European Quidditch Cup Division 1 will take place over June 4 and 5 with an estimated 1,000 athletes representing 32 teams from Austria, Belgium, Catalonia, France, Spain, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Norway and the UK.
The International Quidditch Association European Games will be held from July 22 to 24 with up to 800 athletes representing more than 20 countries.
UL and Quidditch Ireland led the successful bids to host the competitions, beating competition from Spain, Germany and Turkey. Both bids were endorsed and supported by Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau, Failte Ireland, Limerick City and County Council, Limerick Sports Partnership and Out In UL, the university’s LGBTQ+ Society.
Quidditch has grown beyond the books and movies of Harry Potter to a sport loved by thousands worldwide. It is a fast-paced, mixed-gender and full contact sport likened to a cross between handball, rugby and dodge ball.
Originally inspired by the game in the JK Rowling books, quidditch has grown since an inaugural match in 2005 to be a sport played by thousands of players in over 40 countries.
Seven players on each team compete to outscore their opponents by scoring the quaffle through one of the opposition hoops, defending their own hoops with tackles and bludgers, and catching the snitch to end the game.
Mayor Daniel Butler said that winning both bids to host the games was testament to the superb sporting facilities and infrastructure at UL.
“Congratulations to everyone involved, we look forward to seeing the games take off and welcoming so many European visitors to our city and county,” he added.
Pauline Raes of the International Quidditch Association said that 2022 would be an exciting year for quidditch in Europe.
“Limerick will be the capital for our sport and with the fantastic quality of the venue, housing and staff, this event will surely be a success”.
Laurens Grinwis of Quidditch Europe said the sport of quidditch will reach new heights in Limerick when all the focus will be on UL as the best club teams in Europe compete for the Division 1 European Quidditch Cup in June.
Sam Johnston, Fáilte Ireland Convention Bureaux Manager Sam Johnston said “Sporting events like this are highly lucrative, contributing significantly to the local economy.
“With over 30 teams competing, the games will bring over a thousand international participants and Quidditch enthusiasts from across Europe to our shores. It is expected that these games will generate upwards of €1 million in revenue for Limerick.”