Academy's €20m new home unveiled


THE NEW €20 million home of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance was officially unveiled at the University of Limerick yesterday.

The state-of-the-art facility has several theatres as well as dance performance studios, recording spaces, music performance practice rooms, seminar rooms, exhibition areas and an international research centre.

Yesterday’s official opening by Taoiseach Brian Cowen included performances by the Chieftains, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Rex Levitates Dance Company and students of the academy.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Cowen underlined the importance of the academy in protecting and showcasing Ireland’s cultural heritage.

“The new academy building not only offers a place to study, examine and develop the many strands of our musical heritage but it also lets us celebrate it, and the rich and varied traditions of other cultures,” he said.

In his address, the director of the academy Prof Micheál Ó Súilleabháin said the building was like “walking into a poem”.

“It has all the practicalities of a safe haven, and all the poetics of a work of art. The Irish World Academy team holds it in trust for the Irish nation and for fellow artists and scholars across the world,” he said.

The new facility will operate as a naturally ventilated building with minimal mechanical ventilation to reduce its long-term carbon footprint. It was designed by leading French architect Daniel Cordier and weather data from Shannon airport was utilised to understand the microclimate.