The UL Sport Climbing Wall will forever have a proud history and be steeped in the power of collective movement. The climbing wall was built as a result of the UL Student Life Leave A Legacy Project. The movement began in 2008; its primary goal is to improve the facilities for the students of UL. In 2016, a referendum was held and 78% of students voted in favor of the introduction of a staggered levy to be contributed by students over 20 years. The levy will be used to develop student projects and sports facilities on campus such as a new Student Centre, a Sports Arena Extension and an upgrade of the Maguire’s Pitches.
The Outdoor Pursuits Club (OPC) was founded in UL in 1992. The club first mooted the climbing wall in 1994. Supported by the Sports Depart. of the day, David Mahedy and the late Jacinta Duffy agreed for the weight room at the back of the PESS building to be cleared for a simple but modest climbing wall to be constructed. Overhangs were added in the following year. This was a great success for the OPC where their members honed their climbing skills and were able to host several intervarsity climbing competitions over the years.
However, it was too small to cope with the growing club and in the mid 90s, a new sports building was discussed in the University. This was to become the UL Sports Arena on campus today. The OPC lobbied the University to have the climbing wall relocated. The UL Arena’s original designs showed a tower containing the wall until the University eventually dropped the tower due to budget considerations.
In 2010, in a conversation with the Director of Buildings and Estates, Robert Reidy informed Paul Lee, who was the Clubs and Societies Development Officer for the Students Union, that the PESS Building was earmarked for significant refurbishment, which would require the demolition of the OPC Climbing Wall. This was pending approval by the Department of Education for a grant for works, which to that point in time had proved unsuccessful.
Conversations began between the Building and Estates Dept., Sports Dept., Students Union and the OPC about an alternative arrangement to accommodate the OPC’s activities. In 2011, the PESS Building underwent a significant development and the climbing wall was demolished. Buildings and Estates provided an old ‘Joinery’ Building opposite the UL Arena as a temporary facility although it was a poor substitute and it lacked the height and space for the club compared to its previous facility.
Through the Students Union and its forum the ‘Clubs and Societies Council,’ the OPC campaigned vigorously for a new climbing wall. In 2012 and 2014 there were two unsuccessful Students Union Referenda supported by the University and the Sports Dept. for a range of capital developments of which a brand new climbing wall was one of those projects.
In 2016, in a third and final attempt led by the UL Students Union with the support of the OPC, its fellow Clubs and Societies Council, Sabbatical Officers, Staff of the Students Union, the Sports Department and the University, it finally managed to convince the student body to vote “YES” under the campaign of “Leave A Legacy”.
Ireland’s tallest indoor climbing wall and home to the University of Limerick Outdoor Pursuits Club was finally completed in 2020.