Munster Rugby - Thomond Park
View from the West Stand at Thomond Park
Munster Rugby represent the province of Munster in the South of Ireland, a real rugby heartland where visiting fans are guaranteed a warm welcome. The team play the majority of their games at the magnificent Thomond Park stadium in Limerick, although fixtures are also played in Musgrave Park in Cork. Munster have a long and distinguished history, with many notable victories against touring Southern Hemisphere sides over the years. In particular, a 12-0 victory over the mighty All Blacks of New Zealand in 1978 has entered into rugby folklore in these parts.
Ground Information Back to Top ^
Thomond Park is a fantastic purpose-built rugby stadium just outside Limerick City Centre that was completely redeveloped in 2008. The capacity currently stands at around 26,000, making it the largest club rugby ground on the island of Ireland.
Two large covered curved stands dominate the ground (East and West), both of which offer standing areas at the front and seating to the rear. Behind each set of posts, there are small terraced areas that have the potential to be significantly developed in the future to further increase capacity. As it stands, the atmosphere at 'Fortress Thomond' can be immense despite the open ends, particularly when 'The Fields of Athenry' is belted out around the ground on a big matchday.
The Munster Rugby ticket office is located to the rear of the East Stand. The ground itself operates year-round as a venue for concerts, meetings and conferences, whilst the branch also operate stadium tours and have a museum of Munster rugby history within the stadium. The club store is located in the East Stand.
Image - Owen Pavey
to Top ^
There is no parking at Thomond Park on match days, but as the ground is a short walk from the City Centre you can avail of parking facilities there. Park and Ride schemes also offer from a range of locations - check on the club's website in advance to find out what is happening on your specific match day.
Colbert Station is approximately 2.5km from Thomond Park, but well
situated for the majority of hotels, restaurants and bars. Regular
direct services operate to Dublin (2.5 hours) and Galway (2
hours) whilst connections to other destinations including Cork and
Waterford can be made at Limerick Junction.
Ireland's bus network is far more extensive than rail, and at times can also be quicker. Bus Eireann is the main bus operator in the country, and offers services from Limerick to the major airports (see below), and towns and cities including Galway (1.5 hours), Tralee (2 hours), Killarney (2 hours), Cork (2 hours), Sligo (2.5 hours) and Dublin (3.25 hours). The bus and train stations are co-located in the City Centre.
By far the closest air link to Limerick is Shannon Airport, 25 km to the West of the City. Although not as busy as some Irish airports, the main players Aer Lingus and Ryanair still offer scheduled services to a range of destinations in the UK and Europe. Bus Eireann provide bus connections from the airport to the City.
Cork Airport is 115km from Limerick and as the second busiest airport in the country offers a wider range of destinations than Shannon, again primarily operated by Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Buses operated by Citylink go directly from the airport to Limerick in around 2 hours.
Dublin airport is also within reach of the city, and connected by frequent bus links operated by Bus Eireann.
Drinking Back to Top ^In The Ground
There are numerous bar and catering facilities within Thomond Park that open several hours before kick-off. The largest bar (which also offers televised coverage of other games) is the Dugout Bar located in the East Stand, which usually also offers live entertainment on matchdays.
Before/After the Game
Rugby is hugely popular in Limerick, and there are numerous great rugby pubs dotted around the City.
- Peter Cloghessey's (ex-Munster and Ireland prop) Bar on Howley Quay serves up food, music, a large bar and even a nightclub downstairs to keep you inside until the small hours.
- Jerry Flannery, the former Munster and Ireland hooker also
owns a bar nearby on Catherine Street.
- Dolans Pub has live music every night of the week (including traditional music if that's your thing), and is the home of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club. They'll also show most other rugby games, soccer and GAA.
- Charlie St George on Parnell Street is also popular with the rugby club, and is located very close to the rail and bus stations for those who need to hit the bar on arrival.
Eating Back to Top ^Where's best to eat in Limerick? Where can you get a half-time feed at Thomond Park?
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Sleeping Back to Top ^Most visitors opt to stay in the City Centre amidst the nightlife as it's only a short walk out to Thomond Park. Here are a few suggestions for where to kip in Limerick.
- The 4-star Limerick Strand Hotel is well located right on the banks of the River Shannon.
- The George Boutique Hotel on
O'Connell Street is as central as it gets.
- The Pier Hotel is another central
option, and also offers a bar with live sports downstairs.
- The Absolute Hotel is just off
Charlotte's Quay and also right in the thick of it.
- There is also a branch of the Jurys
Inn chain, centrally located and right beside the bus
& train station.
- Not centrally located, but a budget option is the Travelodge. It's just on the
outskirts of town but handy if you have an early flight out of Shannon.
- If you prefer bed & breakfasts to the larger hotels, try RobinsNest, Armada Lodge, Clifton Guesthouse or Ashgrove House. All are within a short walk of Thomond Park.
Make a Trip of It Back to Top ^In Town
- Combine a behind-the-scenes tour of Thomond Park stadium (including visits to the dressing rooms and dugouts) with a visit to the rugby museum, which tells the great history of Munster Rugby complete with trophies, films and interactive displays. The museum is also open on matchdays.
- King John's Castle sits on the banks of the River Shannon in Limerick, and its walls and towers (some dating from the 11th Century) are a popular attraction for visitors to the city.
- Blow off the cobwebs in the People's Park, a green space right in the City Centre that also houses an Art Gallery.
If you've exhausted what Limerick has to offer, many of Ireland's prime tourist attractions are within easy reach. If you have a car, you can do much worse than tour the countryside and coastline of the South West, with most guests making tracks for Tralee, Dingle and Killarney.
For those without their own wheels, Cork, Galway and Dublin are all reachable in a couple of hours by train or bus.
- Fan's Forum
- A limited number of tickets are available for wheelchair
users and those requiring a seat in the designated disability areas at
- The club recommend you make an application for one a
whopping 4 weeks before the fixture, although they will be considered
after this stage subject to availability. Wheelchair user tickets come
with a parking pass. More information can be found here.
- Can you provide some information for this section? Let us know here.
- In the modern era, Munster have had considerable success in
both the Celtic League and European Cup, but it is the latter that sits
atop every supporter's wishlist at the start of the season.
- The province have won the competition twice, defeating
Biarritz in the final in 2005-06 and Toulouse in 2007-08, whilst they
have also finished runners-up on two occasions.
- Their phenomenal unbeaten home record in Europe at Thomond Park once stretched to 26 games (over a decade!) and they remain notoriously difficult to beat at home.
- In addition to Munster Rugby games, Thomond Park also plays
host to the home fixtures of both Shannon RFC and UL Bohemian RFC, who
compete in the All-Ireland League.
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