Europe’s first all-inclusive indoor play centre for sick and disabled children had a preview opening in Castletroy’s Park Point Complex on Friday.
Dreamland, the brand new play centre set up by the Share a Dream Foundation, will cater for Ireland’s 80,000 disabled children, recreating the magic of Disneyland at home.
Share a Dream Founder, Shay Kinsella, said, “This is a big news story for Limerick. Travelling with sick children can be an ordeal when you consider all the medicine parents have to bring and parking and It’s not easy. Now they can come to Dreamland in Limerick.”
Dreamland was designed to allow both able bodied and disabled children to play side by side, sparking their imaginations through themed playrooms suitable for children’s parties, a magical palace, tree-house, slide and an even an airplane.
It also boasts a hand-painted enchanted forest area which disguises a ramp leading down to the airplane making it wheel chair accessible. Mr Kinsella pointed out that “It’s not a ramp, it’s seen as an enchanted forest” so that no child feels left out or different.
The playrooms, painted by Global Attractions, an Italian art company, includes a princess themed décor which comes complete with a chandelier and a long elegant dining table.
During parties, children will have staff dressed as princesses on hand to offer child-friendly pink champagne and little princess themed treats.
Next door, the under the sea themed playroom featuring ‘Ollie the octopus’ will also double as a therapeutic sensory room for special needs visitors with its calming colours and special light effects.
Speaking about where the idea for Dreamland came from, Mr Kinsella said, “I had a dream to build a playground of some description but when I looked at all the playgrounds around the country I realised there was no playground suitable for disabled children”.
Currently between all of the Share a Dream events the foundation holds, they are able to help approximately 1200 families per year, though Project Manager, Ciara Brolly, hopes the monetization of Dreamland will enable the charity to make a lot more children’s dreams come true.
The Share a Dream Foundation believe that the new Dreamland fun centre will be a driving force in generating extra tourism for the area and are expecting over 200 visitors daily.
“People are already traveling all the way down from Dublin to visit the fun centre. They’ll travel anywhere to let their children feel normal,” Ms Brolly added.
Share a Dream’s Dreamland complex will officially open its doors to the public on November 24.
*This article originally appeared in the 2016 edition of the Limerick Voice newspaper.