The UL Sport Climbing Wall will forever have a proud history and be steeped in the power of collective movement. The climbing wall was proudly built as a result of the UL Student Life Leave a Legacy Project. The movement began in 2008 with its primary goal 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, Sports Arena Extension and upgrade of Maguires Pitches.
The Outdoor Pursuits Club (OPC) founded in UL in 1992. The Club first mooted the Climbing Wall in 1994. Supported by the Sports Department of the day, David Mahedy and the late Jacinta Duffy agreed for the weights room at the back of the PESS building to be cleared, and a simple climbing wall constructed with a few overhangs were added the following year. This was a great success for the OPC and 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 90”s, 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 re-located. 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 the Director of Buildings & Estates, Robert Reidy informed Paul Lee the Clubs & 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 & Estates Dept., Sports Dept., Students Union and the Outdoor Pursuits Club about an alternative arrangement to accommodate the Outdoor Pursuits Club. In 2011, the PESS Building underwent a significant development and the Climbing Wall was demolished. Buildings & Estates provided an old “Joinery” Building opposite the UL Arena as a temporary facility although it was a poor substitute which lacked the height and space for the Club of its previous facility.
Through the Students Union and its forum the “Clubs & Societies Council”, the Outdoor Pursuits 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 UL Students Union with the support of the Outdoor Pursuits Club, its fellow Clubs & Societies, 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”.
Irelands tallest climbing wall and home to the University of Limerick Outdoor Pursuits Club was finally completed in 2020.