Peter Stringer goes from Ultimate Hell success to 'perfect fit' slot at Cork's Elysian tower

Former Munster and Ireland rugby scrum half, TV pundit,  Dancer with the Stars and now Army Ranger bootcamp victor Peter Stringer high-kicks in Elysian fitness business investment with golfer Peter O'Keeffe
Peter Stringer goes from Ultimate Hell success to 'perfect fit' slot at Cork's Elysian tower

Onwards and upwards: Peter Stringer is a co-owner and investor in Cork's F45 fitness franchise with Peter O'Keeffe, and Paul Buckley. There are six F45 studios in Dublin: the Cork owners may look as other Munster studios, including Limerick., says Stringer. Pictures Denis Minihane 

IRISH rugby legend Peter Stringer this week swaps his gruelling spell in RTÉ’s Ultimate Hell for a slightly less gruelling spell in ‘heaven’ — in the shape of Cork’s landmark Elysian building.

Aiming high: Peter Stringer and Peter O'Keeffe have high hopes at the Elysian, recreating this 50-year old classic statuesque pose "Two Working Men" by sculptor Oisín Kelly at Cork's other lofty tower the iconic County Hall.
Aiming high: Peter Stringer and Peter O'Keeffe have high hopes at the Elysian, recreating this 50-year old classic statuesque pose "Two Working Men" by sculptor Oisín Kelly at Cork's other lofty tower the iconic County Hall.

As the TV show Ultimate Hell Week the Professionals finished in a last gasp last night, its leading contestant the former rugby star, RTÉ pundit and all-round fitness fanatic Peter Stringer adds another few strings to his bow: next week he launches BodyPlan with Peter Stringer, and also is investing in a high-intensity gym business F45 in the heart of Cork city, taking on a franchise with co-owners, top Munster golfer and trainer Peter O’Keeffe, with Paul Buckley.

 Their gym business, part of the Australian franchise F45, founded in Sydney, which is now in 63 counties, with 1,500 studios and 2,800 franchises, will employ up to a dozen people in a new 3,150 sq ft unit in the Elysian, with a soft opening in December, and kicking into gear with a range of membership options in January 2022.

Trainers are currently being recruited for the men’s new venture, coming from a range of backgrounds, from the fitness industry and from the fields of sports such as GAA, rugby and soccer, said Mr O’Keeffe, who has been in the fitness sector for a number of years and runs his own O’Keeffe Golf Performance/Golf Strong  business in Douglas Golf club.

Ultimate Hell survivor and victor Peter Stringer
Ultimate Hell survivor and victor Peter Stringer

Whether or not Peter Stringer decides to job interview ex-personnel from the elite Army Rangers Wing for F45, for a bit of payback for the ordeals he and other were made endure in Ultimate Hell remains to be seen….

Peter O'Keeffe, Irish international golfer, (left) and Peter Stringer, former Munster and Irish rugby player, business partners whose studio space, F45 studio, will be located in The Elysian, Cork.
Peter O'Keeffe, Irish international golfer, (left) and Peter Stringer, former Munster and Irish rugby player, business partners whose studio space, F45 studio, will be located in The Elysian, Cork.

“Fitness has always played a huge part in my life, not only from a physical point of view but also mentally it has allowed me to remain in such a positive place,” says the much-admired sports star and granite-hewn scrum half, who retired from professional rugby in 2018. He’ll turn 44 the month the F45 business knuckles down at the Elysian.

“Owning a gym has always been an ambition of mine and when the opportunity arose to be part of F45, it was an easy decision,” he adds of the pairing which, typically sees two trainers working in tandem on 45-minute exercise classes which can accommodate members of all fitness levels with a range of tailored programmes and nutrition advice.

The trio have taken their fitness studio space in Unit 4 at the Elysian in a deal done via agent David McCarthy of Lisney, who also confirmed a letting on Unit 3, where 2,280 sq ft is being let to independent commercial furniture dealer Interiors at Work which currently has a presence on Barrack Street, and a warehouse in Carrigtwohill.

The two deals — appropriately now moving to commercial ‘fit-out’ — mean full commercial occupancy is achieved at the 17-storey Elysian building in the heart of Cork city, which launched at a gala event fronted by another Irish rugby legend, Ronan O’Gara in September 2008, just as a post-Lehmann Brothers global banking crisis took hold, crippling economies worldwide.

F45 and Interiors at Work’s arrival to ground floor units at the Elysian (where F45 members will get free parking for classes) sees them complete the occupancy line-up with existing occupiers health/medical centre Affidea, an Aldi, Skyworks, the OPW, and the artisan café and restaurant, The Bookshelf.

Developed by Cork’s O’Flynn Group, the Elysian which also has over 200 apartments and 550 car spaces on a three acres site next to City Hall, is now fully let, top-to bottom, and was acquired by global fund Kennedy Wilson in 2018 from Blackstone for a reported €87.5 million.

Rents sought for the remaining units 3 & 4 had been in the region of €22 per square foot and Lisney’s David McCarthy said “there has always been strong interest in the commercial opportunities in The Elysian given the availability of onsite parking as well as its superb position in the heart of the City Centre Business.” Described as the fastest-growing fitness franchise in the world, F45 currently has six studios in Dublin and now arrives in Munster.

“After thorough research and lengthy discussions, we agreed that The Elysian was a natural fit for us and we believe our project will be a perfect fit for such an iconic building,” said the Cork trio. We’ll run run classes for our members seven days a week and will provide a new, innovative style of personal training in a group environment. Our team will help each client improve their fitness levels and overall health markers through training and nutritional advice. Our F45 mission is to help create a positive and enjoyable experience for our members, resulting in a close-knit community.”

DETAILS:  Instagram: @f45_theelysian

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