National Leprechaun Hunt: Carlingford, Co. Louth

 

Yes, you read correctly, a national leprechaun hunt!!

Leprechauns and are little bearded men, who wear a distinctly coloured coat and hat and partake in mischief. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and have been living in Ireland for hundreds of years.

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If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom, well so Irish folklore goes…

Are they real? Well you may get a chance to find out as Carlingford, in County Louth runs its annual leprechaun hunt on the slopes of Slieve Foy on May 21st.

The annual event has captured the nation’s imagination since the official designation of Slieve Foy Mountain in Co Louth as an EU Special Protection Area for Little People in 2010. As a result, the small medieval town of Carlingford has been thronged with visitors to view the only authentic leprechaun artefacts known to exist in Ireland.

Slieve Foy Moutain is now recognised as the home of the last leprechauns of Ireland and there are 236 currently living on the mountain. It is important that they are safe, happy and they are not allowed to become extinct.

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There will be 100 ‘leprechauns’ with a total cash amount of €2000 which will be located on the side of the mountain close to the SPA (Special Protection Area). People that may come across a real leprechaun, are asked to allow them to pass and not to try and capture them.

Those lucky enough to find one of the little folk can redeem the leprechaun for prize-money when the hunt is over. All proceeds are in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

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Michael Dorgan

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