WITH exterior building work completed, the International Rugby Experience in Limerick city centre is now well advanced in its final, fit-out stage and on schedule to open for visitors in the new year.
There will be more than 50 people employed at peak season in the 30,000 sq ft structure on O’Connell Street with more than 400 employed during the construction phase. The footfall will also support a number of additional jobs in the local economy.
An independent economic impact study concluded that it will drive approximately €50 million in tourism revenue to the Limerick and Mid-West region in the five years after the doors open, with €14 million of that coming from overseas visitors.
London-based Event Communications, who were responsible for the Titanic Experience in Belfast and the EPIC Museum in Dublin, are currently overseeing installation of the immersive, audio-visual element, which will feature some of rugby’s best-known stars.
Chairperson Paul O’Connell said he and the Rugby Experience team were delighted to be close to opening the doors to the wider public.
“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.
“Around 100,000 visitors are expected in year one, so it is really a case of hitting the ground running,” the former Ireland, Lions and Munster captain said.
Event Communications chief executive James Alexander described the six zones inside the new building.
“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,” he explained.
“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 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,” Mr Alexander added.
The Niall McLaughlin-designed building 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, Thierry Dusautoir, Joy Neville, Keith Earls, Nigel Owens and David Pocock.