Limerick wants to establish itself in world rugby tourism with an International Rugby Experience museum.
Funded by a €10m grant from McManus, the advisory board behind the centre is being headed by former Munster, Ireland, and Lions captain, Paul O’Connell.
Located in O’Connell St, the facility is intended to become an international tourist attraction, with dramatic, 4D interactive galleries and exhibits celebrating rugby.
The ambitious plans have been described by O’Connell as “very special for the city”, and the developers say they will “celebrate the sport of rugby on a global scale, through a state-of-the-art and iconic building”.
The blueprint will involve the demolition of 40 and 41 O’Connell St, and the razing of 1, Cecil St.
In their place, there will be a seven-storey building, with a two-storey portico fronting O’Connell Street, and a two-storey block to the rear. There will be a three-storey block built over the existing Fine’s Jewellers, at the junction of O’Connell St and Cecil St.
Inside, the development will see “a multi-media visitor experience, exhibition and education space”, plus retail and cafe at ground-floor level, according to the planning application.
O’Connell said: “After many months of planning and design, we are particularly excited the team has now created something very special for the heart of the city.
“We truly hope it will celebrate the sport of rugby on a global scale, through a state-of-the-art and iconic building.”
It is hoped that the International Rugby Experience will open by early 2019.