It was leprechaun hunting season on the Slieve Foy Mountain in Carlingford last weekend, when the National Leprechaun Hunt in Carlingford took place.
The event that has captured the nation’s imagination since the official designation of Slieve Foy Mountain as an EU Special Protection Area for Little People in 2010.
Taking part in the hunt on the day were four top travel and lifestyle journalists from France.
The four journalists were representing a radio station, as well as online and print publications.
The journalists’ itinerary included a cookery lesson at Ghan House, a trip around Carlingford Lough by speedboat and a spot of lunch at PJ O’Hare’s.
The group also enjoyed a guided tour around Omeath with local ‘Leprechaun Whisperer’ Kevin Woods, stopping to visit the megalithic tombs at Clonshagora, the Long Woman’s Grave and the Proposal Stones of Carlingford and Mourne.
They also took part in in the annual Carlingford National Leprechaun Hunt on Slieve Foy.
The group later enjoyed dinner at Magees Seafood Bistro in Carlingford and stayed at Ghan House.
The journalists were visiting the area to experience at first-hand some of the many things to see and do in this part of Ireland for French holidaymakers, and to conduct research for features they are working on about short breaks and holidays in Ireland.
They could not have picked a better place, as 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.
Hidden on the mountain, on the day were 100 ‘leprechauns’, marked with a cash prize.
However, it was asked that if anyone should 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.