Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Formula 1 star drives forward sport museum plan

The Eddie Irvine Sports Centre in Bangor has launched its campaign to become home to a permanent sports museum honouring Northern Ireland’s sporting heroes past and present.

Olympic gold medalist Dame Mary Peters and Formula One hero Eddie Irvine paid tribute to Ulster’s star athletes at the official launch of a special exhibition, ‘Celebrating the Past, Inspiring the Future’, at the Balloo Road centre.

The temporary exhibition, which offers free admission until the end of April, is run by the Ulster Sports Museum Association in partnership with Ulster Bank, Camelot and the Department for Social Development.

Eddie Irvine said: “We believe that celebrating the tremendous achievements of Ulster’s sporting stars will provide a powerful inspiration to the young people of Northern Ireland, helping to drive them on to future sporting success.

“We are currently negotiating with the Ulster Sports Museum Association to become the permanent site of the Ulster Sports Museum, as part of a £3 million investment plan to transform the Eddie Irvine Sports Centre into a state-of-the-art training and development centre for a range sports, including karting, boxing, soccer and GAA.

“As host to the exhibition over the next two months we will be demonstrating our tremendous capabilities and underlining our continuing commitment to provide a world class facility for a permanent sports museum.”

The exhibition features a wide range of sporting memorabilia, information boards and interactive games which chart the success of legendary stars like Dame Mary Peters,

George Best and Willie John McBride, along with names like mountaineer Dawson Stelfox and Gaelic star Peter Canavan.

Dame Mary said: “Northern Ireland has produced some of the best athletes in the world and this exhibition aims to offer a flavour of what might be achieved by a permanent sports museum honouring the dedication of our most remarkable sports men and women, past and present.

“Our ultimate aim is to secure a home for such a museum so that it will act as a lasting legacy to those achievements and an archive of memories of some incredible sporting moments, as well as to provide inspiration to future generations of talented young athletes.”

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