The 2005 and 2009 Lions prop won a host of domestic honours and a brace of Heineken Cups with the Thomond Park outfit and fellow front rower Damien Varley insists his work ethic, attitude and achievements will have a prolonged effect on Munster's push for further honours this term.
"John has been such a massive part of Munster rugby for the past 14 seasons, but that's sport - guys move on. John has passed on a massive amount of knowledge and experience to the younger players and will continue to be an inspiration to all of us," said Varley.
"He spoke to us in the dressing room after his final appearance and told us what it had meant to him to wear the Munster jersey. His values will be carried on by those who remain and none of us will ever take for granted our place in the side or the shirt we pull on."
Hayes made 217 appearances for Munster, won 105 Test caps for Ireland and wore the Lions' jersey on seven occasions.
A member of Sir Clive Woodward's tour party in New Zealand seven years ago, Hayes was a late call up to the 2009 tour of South Africa on which he won his only Lions Test cap in the thrilling win over the Springboks in Johannesburg.