UL - Ireland's Sporting Campus

The University of Limerick has a unique role in Irish sport. This includes responsibility for the provision of teaching and research programmes in Physical Education and Sports Science. In addition to its national role, the University has responsibility to provide a sports environment to the 10,000 student body and staff on campus and the general sporting public in the region.

The University Arena is a multi-purpose sports facility catering for the expanding national sports responsibility the University enjoys. The facility is divided into two areas - a top class indoor 'dry' sport facility and a 'wet' pool facility. The building is located in an area close to all of the other key existing campus sports facilities, including Coaching Ireland, sports science laboratories, strength training facilities, residential accommodation, meeting rooms and catering facilities.

Facilities include:

  • National 50m swimming pool
  • 4 Courts offering basketball, volleyball, badminton, futsal and indoor soccer
  • 60m six lane indoor sprint track
  • 225m three lane suspended jogging track
  • Cardio fitness centre
  • National Strength and Conditioning Centre
  • Fitness studio
  • Arena Sports Club & Restaurant

The National 50m swimming pool has been created to provide an excellent training and competition facility where Ireland's resident high performance swimmers will achieve their optimum levels in both training and performance, under the guidance of top class coaches and Sports Science experts in the field.

The pool has been designed to the highest specifications and is now home to the first High Performance Centre in Ireland. Not alone does it meet the requirements of international swimmers but it has an adjustable floor, offering flexibility for usage by swimming clubs, schools, the general public, recreational swimmers, disabled swimmers and aqua aerobics.

High Performance Centre - University of Limerick

Swim Ireland’s first ever HPC is based at the state-of-the-art University Arena complex and is run by full-time coach, Lars Hummer. The squad consists of 8 top class swimmers, who train up to 6 hours a day and are backed by a dedicated sports science team. The team that includes a Medical Officer, sport physiologist, sport psychologist, chartered physiotherapist, dietician and performance analyst. The centre was set up in order to give talented Irish swimmers the opportunity to compete and develop at the highest level. The results from the past few years can only indicate that they are already ahead of the game.

In 2010 alone, 4 swimmers qualified for the European Championships (Chris Bryan, Andrew Meegan, Nuala Murphy – all 3 UL students – and Gráinne Murphy) and 1 swimmer made the cut for the European Junior Championships. At the European Long Course Championships in Budapest that August, Gráinne Murphy made Irish swimming history by winning a silver medal in the 1500m Freestyle and clocking the 3rd fastest time in the world that season (16’02”27). At the European Short Course Championships (Eindhoven) in November 2010, she inspired the nation once again as she marked her territory in the 400m and 800m freestyle picking up 2 bronze medals.

2011 and 2012 were notable for UL’s High Performance swimmers, and included an 8th place finish in the 5km Open Water event at the World Championships in Shanghai for Chris Bryan; Bernard Cahill winning gold at the World Lifesaving Championships (Rescue Medley) in Adelaide; Grainne Murphy representing Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics, and UL student Jonathan McGrath, who joined the Irish Paralympic swim team in 2008, competing at the 2010 World Championships (5th place finish), 2011 European Championships (8th place finish) as well as the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Following the ongoing success of this programme, the High Performance Development Squad was set up last year to encourage younger swimmers to prepare themselves to train and compete at international level and progress to a higher standard. Each year the HPC is gaining more and more recognition and UL continue to understand and accommodate student’s needs and commitments. Balancing education and sport has become more attainable, allowing the student to reach their full potential in both fields.

TThe UL Foundation has established a bursary of €20,000 that will be awarded over 2 years to UL students participating in the High Performance Centre. The bursaries will be awarded to the swimmers based on their performances at the European and World Championships in 2011 and at the Olympic Games in 2012. Plassey Campus Centre is supporting the HPC with reduced on-campus accommodation costs for UL students training in the HPC.

Swim Ireland’s High Performance Centre in UL is co-funded by the Irish Sports Council and the Irish Institute of Sport.

If you’re interested in combining studies and sport at a high level, you can contact Ronald Claes: Email:


This multi-purpose fully floodlit all-weather synthetic grass park contains 2 full size 3rd Generation (3G) soccer pitches, 1 full size 3rd Generation rugby pitch and a full size 3G GAA pitch. This is the largest artificial grass development in Ireland to date designed to IRB, GAA and FIFA specifications. The 3G all-weather surface plays like natural grass and is designed for full contact. Each full size pitch can be sub-divided to create smaller-sized playing areas. Player comfort is a priority and this synthetic surface is unlike most others as it eliminates carpet burn and reduces the risk of injuries caused by the other hard or uneven surfaces. In addition to these state-of-the-art playing fields, the new Sports Pavilion features a reception area, 8 changing rooms (all with under-floor heating), 2 squad rooms and the Pavilion Bar & Restaurant.

The University of Limerick is the centre for sporting excellence in Ireland, used by the Irish international rugby squad, Munster rugby squad, Bath and Wasps rugby, Irish boxing squad, Special Olympics and Paralympics, and European womenÕs basketball. Training camps are now expanding into national residential competitions as a result of increased campus accommodation.

Other University of Limerick facilities include:

  • 400m Olympic standard track
  • Floodlit astroturf all weather pitch for hockey
  • Climbing Wall
  • 30 acres of playing fields including floodlit training fields
  • Boathouse - home to first indoor Rowing Tank in Ireland

A corner stone of the sports and recreation programme is the supervised activities in both the swimming pool and the fitness area. The “master class” concept of encouraging the individual as part of a much larger group has been a feature of this programme. There are now 65 scheduled fitness classes per week and the National 50m Swimming Pool offers many hours of recreational swimming for the campus community.


Another unique UL sports facility is the UL Activity Centre. ULAC is located on the picturesque shores of Lough Derg in Killaloe Co. Clare. Owned and run by the University Sports Department, ULAC provides an excellent facility for the staff and students of the University and is also open all year round to the general public. The Centre is one of the leading water sports facilities in the country, with an extensive fleet of sailing dinghies, top class windsurfing equipment and a vast array of canoes and kayaks. The facility has on numerous occasions played host to large-scale competitions and intervarsity events. In addition to this, school tours, kids camps, adult skills courses, teambuilding programmes and corporate entertainment and events are a regular occurrence here. All programmes are designed and developed by our highly qualified and experienced staff who are experts in the field of outdoor education and adventure activities. There really is no better place to launch a tailor made assault on the outdoors than UL Activity Centre. Our sporting facilities are unmatched at university level in Ireland. Our emphasis is on enjoyable participation and achieving a balance between academic responsibilities and a healthy life-style.

For further information see

UL Activity Centre, Two Mile Gate,
Killaloe, Co. Clare
010 353 61 376622


This unique facility is home to the first indoor rowing tank in Ireland and will simulate various weather and water conditions, whilst accommodating up to 8 rowers at a time. If you are a rowing enthusiast, this is the chance of a lifetime to enjoy this fantastic amenity.

Sports and Recreation Programmes

Each week the Sports and Recreation programme supervises more than fifty activities and classes at a variety of intensity and ability levels, which include:

Activities Include:

  • Archery
  • American
  • Football
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Ballroom
  • Basketball(M&W)
  • Dancing
  • Camogie
  • Canoe-Polo
  • Climbing
  • Wall
  • Cricket
  • Fencing
  • Gaelic Football (M&W)
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey (M&W)
  • Hurling
  • Judo
  • Karate
  • Kayaking
  • Life-Saving
  • Mountain-Biking
  • Orienteering
  • Outdoor
  • Pursuits
  • Pool & Darts
  • Rowing
  • Rugby (M&W)
  • Sailing
  • Soccer (M&W)
  • Softball
  • Sub-Aqua (Diving)
  • Swimming
  • Table-Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Trampolining
  • Tennis
  • Ultimate
  • Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Weight-Lifting
  • Waterpolo
  • Windsurfing
  • Parkour
  • Classes include:
  • Aqua Aerobics
  • Aqua Jogging
  • Body Attack
  • Body Pump
  • Boot Camp
  • Box Fit
  • Campus Run
  • Circuits
  • Fit for Life
  • Mind Body
  • Fusion
  • Nordic Walking
  • Pilates
  • Ritchie’s Master-Class
  • Spinning
  • Trak Attack
  • Walk, Talk & Tone
  • Yoga

Sporting Successes at UL

  • UL Hurlers had come very close over the past 4 years and finally 2011 was their year as they scooped the coveted Fitzgibbon Cup in a massive match versus local rivals LIT.
  • UL Women’s Soccer retain their Intervarsity and League titles in 2011 making history with 4-in-a-row.
  • UL student Michael Mulhare wins gold with the Irish men’s team at the U-23 European Cross Country championships – the first Irish gold medal in international cross country since Catherina McKiernan in 1994.
  • UL Men’s Rugby win Colours title 2011 and 2012.
  • UL Women’s Rugby win 2012 and 2013 Intervarsity and League
  • 5 UL Graduates were on the victorious 2013 RBS Six Nations & Grand Slam winning team
  • UL Windsurfing win Intervarsity titles 2012 for 4th consecutive year.
  • UL Sailing Club won won the Intervarsity title for the 4th time in the last 5 years, completing a grand slam of titles in 2013
  • UL Basketball Club UL Huskies (women) win the Superleague Trophy 2012 and 2013, and the National Cup 2012 and 2013.
  • UL Men’s varsity team win Intervarsity title 2013
  • UL Eagles (men) win SuperLeague Championship 2013
  • UL Archery Club will host the Irish Open & National League 2013- the Irish Open is one of the most prestigious Outdoor Shoots in Ireland Hosted first ever National Indoor Shoot at the University Arena
  • UL Chess host Irish Championships 2013
  • UL Karate hosted the 2013 Intervarsity
  • UL Kayak hosted the Canoe IVs and won their 4th consecutive title - overall first
  • UL GAA hosted the 2013 Ashbourne, Purcell & Fr Meaghair Cup competitions – making history as the first university ever to host this All Ireland Third Level competition on 3G synthetic pitches on the new state-of-the-art UL pitches
  • Chris Bryan qualified for 2011 World Open
  • Water Swimming Championships & World University Games, Kazan, Russia July 2013
  • UL Frisbee hosted Siege of Limerick Intervarsity 2010 & 2012 & 2013 & 6 Club members selected for the WFDF World U-23 Ultimate Championships, Toronto, Canada- July 2013 – Conor Carey, Jamie Chambers, Niall McCarney, Niall McCarthy, Pádraig Sweeney & Barry Walsh

These are just some examples of the increasing profiles enjoyed by our competitive clubs, thereby offering our students the chance to play sport for the university at top class national level.

The completion of the Boathouse along with the National 50m Swimming Pool, the fantastic indoor Arena facilities and the North Campus ‘Field of Dreams’ officially opened in October 2012 by Leo Varadkar, T.D. Minister of Transport, Tourism & Sport : includes two soccer pitches, one GAA pitch and one rugby pitch, all floodlit, and a state-of-the-art sports pavilion and the newest additional of an ‘Altitude House’ for elite athlete training all combine to position UL as the leading sports institution in the country. UL offers the complete one-stop experience to every sports person, no matter what level. UL acts as a centre of sporting excellence that can support the needs of the campus community while at the same time offering facilities that can support elite athletes to the highest level.

To find out more about the University Arena and other UL sports facilities go to:

Contact: University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 61-202700, Fax: +353 (0) 61-330316

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