Corkagh Park, West Dublin, Ireland is the site of the July 4, 1998 dedication of two baseball fields privately built by Peter O’Malley. The first was Dodger Baseball Field, a regulation-sized adult field and the second was O’Malley Little League Field, an international standard Little League Baseball field. These were the first baseball fields in Ireland devoted solely to baseball for adults and youth.

Ireland's “Field of Dreams” Becomes A Reality

By Brent Shyer

As a fifth generation Irish American, Peter O’Malley became a lucky charm in Ireland by fulfilling the need to provide youth and adults a dedicated place to play baseball.

O’Malley has always looked for places to encourage the growth and development of international baseball. His strong personal connection made this a perfect fit. One of the O’Malley family’s great traditions was the celebration of all things Irish during the annual St. Patrick’s Day party during Spring Training at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida, where Baseball Commissioners, League Presidents, umpires and executives made it a point to attend those festive galas legendary in Dodger lore.

O’Malley had previously privately built baseball fields in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China (1986) and Managua, Nicaragua (1992), as well as a state-of-the-art baseball academy, Campo Las Palmas (1987), in the Dominican Republic.

Working hand in glove with the baseball leaders from Ireland, he privately built the first two fields – Dodger Baseball Field, a regulation-sized adult field and O’Malley Little League Field, an international standard Little League field. Known affectionately as the Irish “Field of Dreams,” both opened on July 4, 1998.

The beginning of the journey with Ireland took place some four years earlier at International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, when O’Malley attended an International Baseball Association meeting on June 6, 1994 and first met Ann Murphy, President of the Irish Baseball and Softball Association (IBSA), founded in 1989. O’Malley wanted to know how could baseball grow in Ireland and was curious about where games were being played. Murphy explained to O’Malley that what Ireland really needed were fields that were exclusively to be used for baseball, because when a soccer field was being used by a baseball team for practice or a game, the soccer team would show up and chase off the baseball players! The country just did not have fields designed and dedicated for baseball. 

O’Malley expressed his interest in helping to make that happen. He traveled to Ireland several months later and met with baseball leaders to discuss details once again. The task involved considerable planning and identifying the location of a permanent site for the baseball fields – one for youth and another for adults.

“We looked at five or so different sites,” O’Malley said regarding the process to find a spot with the Irish baseball leadership. “I told the association that I would pay for the building of the ball field and all clearing of the land, but they would own and maintain it.” Kelly Candaele,, October/November, 2003  

O’Malley traveled to Dublin for short trips in February and August, 1995 to review potential sites. The Irish Times reported in August, “It will surprise most – even someone who has been involved in the adult softball leagues here – that there is a Little League in Dublin, never mind one in need of a dedicated venue.” O’Malley said in the article, “Little League baseball is my hobby. I believe in baseball. It’s good for children.” The Irish Times, Joe Culley, “Baseball fans to realise a junior field of dreams”, August 19, 1995

The Irish baseball leaders – Ann Murphy; National Team players and coaches Mike Kindle and Mick Manning; and Barry Sheehan, president, Little League Baseball Ireland – found a perfect spot at Corkagh Demesne Park in Clondalkin, West Dublin that was available to be developed for baseball.

(L-R): Dr. Creighton Hale, Senior Advisor, Little League Baseball; Ann Murphy, President, Irish Baseball and Softball Association; Mick Manning; and Mike Kindle. Manning and Kindle were the head coaches for the Irish Baseball team. On June 14, 1997, Groundbreaking Ceremonies were held for “O’Malley Little League Field,” an international standard Little League Baseball field at Corkagh Park, West Dublin, Ireland. Peter O’Malley privately built that field for youth as well as “Dodger Baseball Field,” a regulation-sized adult field. Both fields opened July 4, 1998.

O’Malley returned to Ireland for the groundbreaking ceremonies on June 14, 1997 and turned the first sod. O’Malley was joined by Dr. Creighton Hale, senior advisor of Little League Baseball, the organization’s former longtime president and CEO. Also participating in groundbreaking ceremonies were Murphy, Kindle, Manning, Sheehan (then past president, Little League Baseball Ireland), Patrick Hickey, President, Olympic Council of Ireland, Jack Donnelly, president, Little League Baseball Ireland and Shane O’Neill, landscape architect.

“The main thing I want from the investment is to get people involved in the sport,” O’Malley said at the time construction was to begin. “It’s a great way to get people involved in recreation. Old and young people can play, girls and boys. Further on up the road, there is a great chance to develop in international competition now that Ireland will have its own venue. And that’s one of the best ways to develop a sport.”, Bill Lucey blog, “Baseball and the Green Green Grass of Ireland,” August 15, 2019

July 4, 1998, Grand Opening Ceremonies for two baseball fields privately built by Peter O’Malley in Corkagh Park, Clondalkin, West Dublin, Ireland.

(L-R): Aldo Notari, President, International Baseball Federation; Dr. Creighton Hale, Senior Advisor, Little League Baseball; Ed Piszek, Little League Foundation Board of Trustees; U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, throwing the ceremonial first pitch; Ann Murphy, President, Irish Baseball and Softball Association behind the Ambassador; Rod Dedeaux, legendary USC baseball head coach; and Peter O’Malley.

The July 4, 1998 dedication ceremonies were a joyous occasion for the baseball leaders of Ireland, as well as for O’Malley, as a true sense of accomplishment reigned the day. Alongside O’Malley was the United States Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, who threw the ceremonial first pitch. Humanitarian Smith was the younger sister of President John F. Kennedy and served as Ambassador to Ireland from 1993-1998. Other participants in the opening were Ann Murphy, president of IBSA; Aldo Notari, president, International Baseball Federation (IBAF); Dr. Hale, senior advisor, Little League; Ed Piszek, Little League Foundation Board of Trustees member, who had a Little League Field named for him in Kutno, Poland; Jin Roy Ryu, Little League Baseball Trustee; Rod Dedeaux, legendary University of Southern California head baseball coach for 45 years and USA Olympic baseball coach in 1964 and 1984; and Ikuo Ikeda, longtime publisher and president of Baseball Magazine SHA in Japan.

July 4, 1998, Corkagh Park, West Dublin, Ireland, Grand Opening with dedication stone marker. Dodger Chairman of the Board Peter O’Malley privately built two baseball fields – “O’Malley Little League Baseball Field” and “Dodger Baseball Field” for adults – in Ireland. (L-R): Jean Kennedy Smith, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland; Annette O’Malley, wife of Peter O’Malley; Peter O’Malley; Eamon Walsh, the Cathaoirleach (Mayor) of South Dublin County Council.

Also attending the festivities were O’Malley’s wife Annette, his daughter Katherine, his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler, along with Terry’s husband Rollie. O’Malley hosted at the fields a barbecue for hundreds who were interested in seeing Ireland’s first baseball fields.

Special Dodger mugs were created to commemorate the Grand Opening of “O’Malley Little League Field” in Ireland on July 4, 1998. The mugs feature a shamrock in place of a baseball and rare use of the Dodger logo and speed lines in green ink on one side with details of the opening on the reverse.

“Now the children and families of Dublin have their own field of dreams to enjoy the game of baseball,” O’Malley said at the ceremonies. Associated Press, July 4, 1998  

Peter O’Malley created special mini bats for the July 4, 1998 Grand Opening of Dodger Baseball Field for adults and O’Malley Little League Baseball Field for youth in Ireland.

The fields were greatly appreciated, used constantly and became the centerpiece of baseball in Ireland. Former Irish National baseball team member Cormac Eklof said that the first foray into the European Pool B Championships was eye-opening in 1996, but winning just one game against Yugoslavia gave the players hope for the future. There were six teams (four in Dublin and two in Belfast) playing in an Irish senior baseball league in 1997. Irish Independent, “Irelands Field of Dreams”, June 13, 1997 All that changed when the Dodger Baseball Field was created in 1998. Eklof said, “The O’Malley Field is the spiritual home of baseball in Ireland. There (have) been hundreds of games and thousands of innings there since the 1990’s.”, July 4, 1998 Using that field, the Irish National baseball team showed steady improvement in the European Pool B Championships, including in 2006, by capturing the silver medal.


From July 12-14, 2013, Kindle of BASEBALL IRELAND arranged for the inaugural Peter O’Malley International Invitational Baseball Tournament to be played on Dodger Baseball Field. O’Malley returned to Ireland and was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch to start the round-robin tournament, prior to the game between the Irish National team and the Rota Blue Devils. The Irish National team won the tournament, part of a larger year-long celebration, “The Gathering Ireland 2013,” with a 4-0 record and a 13-7 win over Los Barbaros in the finals to earn the Peter O’Malley Trophy.

The program cover for the Peter O’Malley International Invitational Baseball Tournament on July 12-14, 2013, held in Corkagh Park, West Dublin, Ireland. In 1998, O’Malley privately built Ireland’s first fields dedicated to baseball – a regulation-sized adult baseball field and an international standard Little League Baseball field in Ireland. Those fields have been in continuous use since and are a centerpiece of baseball activity in Ireland for adult and youth regular season league games.

Kindle explained, “This was Ireland’s first-ever IBAF-sanctioned tournament. We had thousands of people come out to the ballpark over the course of the weekend to cheer Ireland on, many of whom didn’t even know Ireland had a baseball team! The standard of competition was very high.” “Baseball Ireland News, Ireland Dominant in First Ever Peter O’Malley Tournament”

O’Malley said, “It is an honor and privilege to return to Ireland for this special baseball tournament and I salute the organizers for putting it together. Baseball in Ireland continues to grow and succeed with about 250 youth players around the island. The success of the Irish National team has generated interest in the game and it is gratifying that there are more fields being developed.”   

Kindle added, “We are very excited to have Peter O’Malley return to the site of O’Malley and Dodger Fields, which he built in 1998. The fields he built for youth and adults have touched many lives in the past 15 years. Peter is in constant contact with us and is very interested in the development of baseball in Ireland and indeed, the world.” Ibid.   

In 2015, as baseball continued to grow in Ireland, an International Baseball Centre was opened. That facility, home of the Ashbourne Baseball Club, provides more attention to baseball and has given additional players the opportunity to participate. The site is used for more global tournaments as it boasts an international standard baseball diamond.

In May, 2024, Kindle provided an impressive report, “Baseball in Ireland has continued to go from strength to strength since Peter O’Malley’s Fields of Dreams were first opened in 1998. There are now nearly 1,000 players in Ireland, which includes over 500 youth players in clubs throughout the island, including Belfast in Northern Ireland. There is a fully functioning and growing Academy Programme that focuses on developing some of Ireland’s most dedicated young players. Six young men that have grown up within the BASEBALL IRELAND programme and developed their baseball skills their entire lives in Ireland, have recently been awarded scholarships to play baseball at universities in the United States.”

BASEBALL IRELAND also added a year-round indoor baseball facility in Dublin.

O’Malley is through and through an Irish American, having first traveled to Ireland in 1967 and again for his honeymoon in July, 1971. His Dad, Walter, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, has bloodlines that can be traced to famed County Mayo, Ireland on his father’s side. 

Walter’s father was Edwin J. O’Malley and his grandfather was Thomas O’Malley. Walter’s great grandfather was John O’Malley and John’s wife Margaret Collins were born in Ireland (John in County Mayo) before immigrating to the United States, where they met and married in New York. The O’Malley name goes back to the famous “Pirate Queen” Grace O’Malley, who lived mainly during the 16th Century. Peter with his family has frequently visited Clare Island in Clew Bay, County Mayo.

Walter and Peter were inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame in New York. On March 17, 2013, Peter O’Malley was honored with the Medallion of Merit from Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Los Angeles.

O’Malley continues to support BASEBALL IRELAND, the official National Governing Body, and is dedicated to the growth of baseball in Ireland. He said, “Baseball in Ireland is healthy with a bright future.”