The National Leprechaun Hunt in Carlingford is due to take place this Sunday, April 7.
The event that 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.
The small medieval town of Carlingford has been thronged with visitors to view the only authentic leprechaun artefacts known to exist in Ireland.
Just over 20 years ago, the suit and bones of a leprechaun were found on The Slieve Foy mountain by the late, well known businessman PJ O Hare.
He discovered them after hearing a faint crying and when he went to investigate, he was shocked to find the suit of a leprechaun, along with coins and bones.
This sparked the original Leprechaun Hunt which was held on the Easter Sunday of 1989, attracting 4,000 visitors to the region.
“We will have 100 ‘leprechauns’ with a total cash amount of €2000”, said event coordinator Frances Taylor. “They will be located on the side of the mountain to the right of the SPA and hope to raise a lot of money for charity.
“However, we ask that if people come across a real leprechaun that they will allow them to pass and not try to capture them.
“Slieve Foy is now recognised as the home of the last leprechauns of Ireland and we know there are 236 currently living on the mountain.
“It is important that they are safe, happy and we do not allow them to become extinct.”
Prospecting licences will be sold on the day at five euros per person and registration begins at 1pm.
Only carriers of authenticated licences will be allowed on the mountain that day.
“I am not surprised at the reception from public and the media about this event”, Farnces continued, “there are so many leprechaun enthusiasts out there who believe in what we are doing here.
“People feel strongly about protecting our little people, who, we must remember, are the touchstone of our heritage and folklore”.
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