The Dream Team is Growing

Eva O'Donovon is shown standing in the Field of Dreams office in front of a pop-up banner.

At Field of Dreams Cork we are delighted to welcome Eva O’Donovon to the team at Curraheen! Eva is joining us as Employment Support Specialist and brings 17 years of  HR and recruitment experience with her.

At Field of Dreams Cork one of the ultimate objectives for our trainees is placement in meaningful employment. In this newly created role, Eva’s brief is to support both the trainees and potential employers towards meeting this objective. Her background in training, work placement, mentoring & coaching makes her eminently qualified to do so.

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Active Leisure supports Field of Dreams with fun day

A L Press Release 2017

Active Leisure Charity Family Fun Day

in conjunction with

Down Syndrome Cork’s Field of Dreams


Ballincollig Rugby Club

on Sunday April 23rd 2017

from 2pm-5pm

Active Leisure will host a Charity Family Fun Day from 2 to 5pm on Sunday, April 23rd in Ballincollig Rugby Club, in conjunction with Down Syndrome Cork’s Field of Dreams.

The Field of Dreams is a horticultural and social farming initiative by Down Syndrome Cork which will provide meaningful work and life skills development opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome.

On the day, activities will include bungee trampolines, train rides, bouncing castles and slides, face painting and much much more.

Admission is €20 per family (two adults and up to three children) or €5 per person and all rides and entertainment be included in the admission price. 

Rory O’Sullivan, the event organizer from Active Leisure Entertainment, said that this will be a large-scale family fun day extravaganza, which will feature activities and entertainment for all ages, and that anyone attending will be supporting this very worthy cause.

Family tickets are available at the gate of Ballincollig Rugby Club on the day. For further information please contact Active Leisure on 087 2795848.

Field of Dreams – Turning of the Sod

Press Release. 18th February 2017

The Field of Dreams is a horticultural and social farming initiative by Down Syndrome Cork which will provided meaningful work and life skills development opportunities for adults with Down syndrome. On Saturday 18th February, the ceremonial ‘turning of the sod’ was celebrated at the Field of Dreams ,in Clash Road, Curraheen, on a 3 acre site leased from Munster Agricultural Society. Adults with Down Syndrome were joined by their families, invited guests and supporters on this beautiful spring day to mark the culmination of five years hard work.
Ray O’Callaghan, Chairman of Down Syndrome Cork gave a brief background to the project, what inspired it, and why it is so badly needed. He thanked the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Health and Cork Educational Training Board for their essential support.
Special guests included County Mayor Cllr Seamus McGrath, Minister Michael Creed TD, Kathleen Lynch and celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin – all of whom spoke eloquently about the challenges facing adults with Down Syndrome and their families. They acknowledged that the 95% unemployment rate among adults with Down Syndrome is unacceptably high. They also endorsed the aim of DS Cork in supporting its adult members to gain skills and experience that will improve their job opportunities.
Ray thanked the Cork business community for their help in making the Field of Dreams a reality, in particular the following key sponsors: PM Group, CField Construction, M&S, ESB, Keelings, Dansko Food Ltd.
A reception at the Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross ensued, with Dansko Foods kindly sponsoring refreshments for the 80+ people who attended. Adults with Ds hosted this reception, and they used this opportunity to showcase their own achievements and abilities.
The event was formally closed by Ray, who thanked everyone again for their support, and he commended the unwavering dedication of the Board members for to the project. He reminded all present that we DO need more financial support, we DO need expertise in different shapes and forms…we DO need volunteers….in his words ‘loads done, loads more to do!’
As a fitting note to the Sod-turning event, builders are scheduled to break ground at the site over the coming weeks.

For more information on being part of the Field of Dreams, contact Sharon Mulcahy on email

For more photographs follow Facebook link

Field of Dreams Inaugural General Meeting

The Inaugural general meeting of DSCork Field of Dreams took place on Friday, 20th January.

The Cork Airport Hotel hosted the event and the organisers were not disappointed with the numbers in attendance.

The meeting was opened by chairperson of DSCork, Ray O’Callaghan and vice chairperson Jason Bane chaired the meeting.

There was a presentation from Jason Bane on the journey so far, a background to the work involved in getting close to the site going live.

Tony McGrath of Project Management updated the audience on the planning process so far and details of the site going live in the next month to 6 weeks. PM Group have been very generous in their pro bono work and will manage all aspects of the site development in consultation with CField Construction.

Liam Ahern, board member of DSCork gave an update on the proposed education and training for adults in the Field of Dreams. This is being organised in conjunction with the Cork ETB.

Sharon Mulcahy, parent in DSCork has been very active in the organisation of the Field of Dreams and Sharon gave an outline on the different aspects of volunteers that will be needed.

Parent Marie Fitzgerald gave a very moving account of her journey with her son Paul and what the Field of Dreams will mean to them.

There was a plea to the members for volunteers with a particular emphasis on expertise in marketing the Field of Dreams and fundraising.

The meeting was an excellent success. The future is exciting and the parents of adults who will avail in the short term are anxious to move forward. The foundation and format will be well and truly set for the children of today who are the adults of tomorrow.

Please do get in touch with us if you have expertise that may benefit us or willing hands to help.

The Pride of Marks & Spencer – Ray does us proud

Pride of Marks and Spencer
Ray receiving the Pride of Marks and Spencer Award from Simon Lucas, Head of Region, Republic of Ireland business, Marks & Spencer.

How delighted are we to report that our already Gold sponsors Marks & Spencer have recognised their employee Ray O’Callaghan’s volunteering work with an award? To top it off the award comes with a further £10,000 towards Field of Dreams. Read more

Positive energy flowing from ESB to Field of Dreams

Cork, September 12 2016 – ESB Energy for Generations Fund has awarded funding of €25,000 to Down Syndrome Cork for its inspiring Field of Dreams project at a special cheque presentation in Cork city today

ESB Energy for Generations Fund

Pictured at the announcement of the funding at Down Syndrome Cork, were, Aoife O’Sullivan and Meghan O’Halloran, Down Syndrome Cork Members, with Jerry O’Sullivan, Deputy CEO ESB and Jason Bane, Field of Dreams Board Member. Pic John Sheehan

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Press Release – Marks & Spencer


August 2016






Initiative being led by M&S Cork Store Manager & Chairman of DS Cork, Ray O’Callaghan

Marks & Spencer is delighted to announce its initial three year sponsorship of ‘Field of Dreams’, a ground-breaking new project which has been launched to support adults with Down Syndrome in Cork.  The first of its kind in Ireland, the project is designed to provide education, training and rewarding work opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome in a safe, secure and inspirational environment.

‘Field of Dreams’ will be located on a three acre site in Curraheen, Cork.  With planning permission now granted, the care farm will comprise of sensory gardens, a market garden for the cultivation of fruit, vegetable and farm produce, as well as prefabs where education initiatives can be rolled out for young adults with special needs.  Award winning Irish garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin is currently working on designs for the garden with work due to begin later this month, June 2016.

Commenting on the sponsorship, M&S Head of Ireland Alison Grainger said, “We encourage all our stores to support their local community and our colleagues do a brilliant job of getting involved and making a real difference, but Ray has really raised the bar with his work for Down Syndrome Cork. Ray is passionate about everything he undertakes on behalf of the charity and has been the main driver in bringing the Field of Dreams project to life.  He has also been a real inspiration to his team in the Cork store, with many of them planning to volunteer with the project, and we are really pleased to support a charity our colleagues are so excited to be involved with.”

Ray O’Callaghan, M&S Cork Store Manager and Chairman of DS Cork said: “For a number of years we have been increasingly aware of the limited choice facing young adults with Down Syndrome as they leave child services.  We brainstormed options for providing meaningful work, skill acquisition, room for personal development, inclusion and ownership. We placed weight on the opinion of the young adults living with Down syndrome and we came up with the ‘Care Farm’ concept, one which has proven its merit internationally. The ‘Field of Dreams’ seed germinated and we are now building a horticulture education and work project. The participants will be people who want to make a positive contribution to our community.”

He continued:  “We are delighted to have M&S on board as our first corporate sponsor and we are encouraging other businesses to follow suit and support us in making our Field of Dreams a reality.”

Marks & Spencer has previously worked with Down Syndrome Ireland, fundraising for the charity as part of its annual Back to School activity.


Further information:

Ciara O’Connell or Aimee O’Driscoll at Wilson Hartnell, (01) 669 0030

ciara.o’ | aimee.o’



About Plan A

Plan A is M&S’s sustainable business plan that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges.  Launched in 2007, the plan is focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement and includes commitments that tackle issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

About Down Syndrome Cork

Down Syndrome Cork is the Cork branch of the national organisation, Down Syndrome Ireland. In Cork, there are over 360 member families across the city and county.  The main aims as a branch are to provide support and resources; to encourage active participation in the community; to foster positive attitudes; and most importantly to help individuals with Down Syndrome reach their full potential.  The majority of work done at branch level is done by parents on a voluntary capacity. Support is necessary for anyone born with Down Syndrome from birth throughout life.