From today there’s a new landmark on the East Mayo horizon, just a few miles down the road from Knock where the basilica has long been a dominant feature in the skyline.
The new feature, set in the countryside just off the road between Knock and Ballyhaunis, comes in the form of the giant air dome that Connacht GAA have erected at their Centre of Excellence. Work has been proceeding over the last few months in laying the 4G pitch and today the dome was inflated. An impressive sight it made too.
??All in a matter of four hours!— Connacht GAA (@ConnachtGAA) July 23, 2020
Make sure to tune into the @rtenews tonight at 6pm and 9pm to see the full story of the world's biggest Indoor Sports Dome! ? #ConnachtGAA #GAA pic.twitter.com/ePb7wOUr4L
According to Connacht GAA it’ll be the largest indoor playing dome in the world. Under the covering there’s a full-sized GAA pitch, as well as a running track and other training facilities. It’s due to be ready for use in late September this year.
Here’s what it looks like on the inside.
The cost of the facility is reportedly €3.1m, with €2.1m of that coming from Government funding while the GAA at central level contributed €700,000. Connacht GAA are on the hook for the remainder but, by the looks of it, it’s money well spent as I’d imagine it’ll be a very heavily used facility.
According to this piece on RTÉ’s website, the dome could also be used for non-sporting events as it could easily be converted into a fully functional conference centre.
When I’m next in the west this summer I’ll definitely make it my business to swing by the Centre of Excellence to give this cracking new facility a closer look. Well done to all involved on bringing this project to fruition.