Yes, yes, there is baseball in Ireland. It's true.
Because baseball is still a minority sport there, many people are shocked when you tell them there is a thriving baseball league, with two full divisions of teams and league play since 1997. The league is home to a growing level of technical play and an already passionate, knowledgeable group of players, officials and fans.
Baseball is vibrant in Dublin, with several teams and hundreds of players all based in and around the city, but perhaps nothing defines the growth of baseball in Ireland more so than the sport's growth outside of the Dublin area, across all corners of the Emerald Isle.
Let’s have a look at the teams outside of Dublin, and keep an eye out for details on how to get involved in Irish league baseball at the foot of the article.
The Belfast Northstars are one of the oldest clubs in the country, and have been battling it out in the Irish baseball league since the 1990s. They are based out of Castlereagh, Belfast, Co. Antrim. They have provided several players to the Irish national baseball team down the years and are one of the foundation blocks of league baseball in Ireland. Belfast has teams in both the A and B leagues. They are currently holding open practices to attract new members and they welcome folk from all of Ireland, North and South, from all communities and backgrounds.
The Ashbourne Giants are a brand new team and will be competing in the Irish B league this coming season. You can check out their Facebook page here. They are building a very strong little league scene in the area, and they are also running a long-term fundraiser to build a baseball diamond, which will eventually become one of the main baseball facilities in all of Ireland. You can read more about that here.
The West Clare Dolphins are another B league team looking to progress, solidify and develop their presence in Irish baseball. This club was born of a strong little league presence in the area. They play out of Killimer, Co. Clare, and you can visit their team website here.
The Cavan Comets are a swiftly improving B league team and have two full Ireland international level players in their ranks. The Comets catchment area is wide, covering counties Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim. The team is based in Cavan Town. You can visit their club website here.
The Munster Warriors are a competitive A league team and they are looking to bounce back and reclaim a playoff place after a disappointing 2013. They play in Cork, but draw players from the whole South including places like Clare, Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary. You can visit their website here.
As you can see, baseball is really spreading rapidly throughout Ireland.
If you are living in Ireland or indeed planning on being here even just for the summer months (The Irish baseball season runs from March through October) and you fancy playing, watching or indeed umpiring for the Irish league baseball, please contact Peter Kavanagh for more details on how to do same.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, we do play through the rain!