In 1989, the suit and bones of a leprechaun were found on The Slieve Foy Mountain by the late local business man, P. J. O Hare. He discovered them after hearing a loud cry coming from the mountain and, when he went to investigate, he was shocked to find the suit of a leprechaun, along with 4 gold coin and some bones within an area of scorched earth.
The story captured the nation’s interest at the time and the small picturesque village of Carlingford was thronged with visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the wee green men. This sparked the first Leprechaun Hunt which was held on the Easter Sunday of that year, attracting 4,000 visitors to the region.
But locals feared for the wee people’s future and sought to have them protected under EU legislation.
And in 2009, Slieve Foy Mountain was officially designated as a Special Area of Protection for Flora, Fauna and Little People under the European Habitats Directive, allowing the very popular Leprechaun Hunt to be reintroduced into the areas event calendar.
But organiser’s state that this is not only about breaking a world record – ‘Slieve Foy is known as the home of the last remaining 236 leprechauns left in Ireland”. There were once millions of them in Ireland and they died out when people stopped believing in them’. Frances Taylor, EventCoordinator said. ‘We can ensure their survival through maintaining and strengthening this belief. So the more people that show up and show their support, the more we can ensure their future.’
Irelands last Leprechaun Whisperer and author of the Last Leprechauns of Ireland – ‘McCoillte’ will be present on site to answer any questions about the lives of the remaining 236 little people.