The Last Leprechaun’s of Ireland . Carlingford Co. Louth
In 1989 a Carlingford publican P.J.OHare was weeding flower-beds in the town in the early hours of the morning,just as the sun was rising in the Mournes.He heard a piercing scream coming from the area of the slate rock on Foy mountain, and headed upwards to investigate.Close to the area of the wishing well he came upon an extraordinary sight,lying on the ground close to an area of scorched earth was a small green suit and hat, and a scattering of bones.He picked up the suit and found 4 gold coins in the trouser pocket.Almost immediately PJ.knew what he had found:the first authentic leprechaun suit ever found in Ireland.
He took it to his pub and displayed it and the bones in a glass case for all to see.Thousands came to see it and many believed in its authenticity,however a close friend and confident,a man named McCoillte didn’t believe.
A few years later P.J.died, the pub was sold, and the suit and bones remained there in the glass case. They are there till this day. Nobody ever knew what had happened to the gold coins.
Some years later McCoillte was fixing an old stone wall on his property on Ghan Rd in Carlingford when he came across an old leather purse hidden in a wall cavity and covered in dust and lime.He opened it and to his astonishment there were the 4 gold coins that P.J.had found.Before he died he left them on his friends property so that one day they would be found.McCoillte kept them on his person for many years,until one morning while crossing Carlingford mountain with his dog, he came across 3 Leprechauns sitting on a rock.He was transfixed, unable to move or speak or hear.The dog too was rendered motionless.The three were talking to each other but paying no heed or attention to McCoillte.They disappeared under a rock and as they went out of sight Mc Coillte and the dog were able to move again.They arrived home,and he was unsure whether to tell his wife what had occurred.There was no need to have worried.She attacked him the minute he came in the door.”Where did you disappear to all day” she roared. “All day” says he, “sure I’m only gone an hour and a half”.”Its 8 o’clock in the evening” says she. McCoillte was dumbfounded,he told her what had happened to him and the dog,but he might have been talking to the wall for she didn’t believe a word of it.She thawed out about 3 weeks later,they hadn’t spoken in that time,but she never mentioned the Leprechauns again till many years later.
McCoillte was now a believer.He gathered a group of like minded people together and for years they lobbied the E.U.to have the Leprechauns protected under the European Habitats Directive. The directive protects flora, fauna, and wild animals.They lobbied to have Leprechauns added to the end of it.It was tough going but they finally achieved their objective in 2009,when they became officially recognised.The E.U. sent Madame Isobel Jeanne from Fecamp in Brittany France to Carlingford with the official letter declaring Carlingford mountain protected,on the grounds that they could not prove or disprove their existence.
Mc Coillte was elated,he and his committee sold Leprechaun Hunting Licences and organised a ceramic Leprechaun hunt on the mountain with €2000 in total hidden under them,to celebrate the protection zone. It is held every year at 2pm on the Sunday in March when the clocks move forward an hour to Summertime.Thousand have turned up it.
McCoillte met the little folk again.It turned out that one of the gold coins gifted him to talk and to see them.He subsequently communicated directly,regularly, with the elder of the clan, a Leprechaun called Carraig,one of the 236 Leprechauns who live below the slate rock in Carlingford Co. Louth.Carraig wanted their story to be told,there had been millions of them in Ireland and they had all died out.All that were left in the whole of Ireland were 236.
McCoillte took out his notebook as Carraig began to speak.He told him of their lives from the beginning of time till today,covering the Geological, Mythological and Social history of Ireland and in particular that of the Carlingford and Cooley Peninsula.
McCoillte published his notes in book form in Oct.2011,it was launched by Mairead McGuinness M.E.P.in the Carlingford Heritage centre. It’s called The Last Leprechauns of Ireland.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLgnr2Z-Px8 The full story
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkV-vFE2MDg Sky News Report