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More people in the world speak Elvish than Irish

LOTR-obsessed David Neary (26), a freelance journalist from Ballsbridge, Dublin, has spent around €2,000 on Middle-earth memorabilia and hosts an annual Lord of the Rings marathon -- 11 bum-numbing hours of Peter Jackson's epic fantasy -- for fellow Frodo fans.

"I first read The Hobbit on holidays when I was 13 and fell madly in love with it. Afterwards, I delved straight into the sequels.

"Tolkien describes Middle-earth and its residents in such breathtaking detail -- the landscape, buildings and costumes -- that it's impossible not to get sucked into this fantasy world.

"Until the movies came out, my LOTR fanaticism basically consisted of reading and re-reading the books -- as well as Tolkien's other works including The Silmarillion.

"After the Fellowship of the Ring however, dressing up as wizards and Orcs and staging mock battles became perfectly acceptable.

"Suddenly Star Wars nerds had some serious competition! After the final movie, The Return of the King, was released in 2003, my friends and I needed something to look forward to.

"Since 2004, I've been hosting my annual LOTR marathon -- an 11-hour screening of all three extended edition DVDs, or 13 hours including toilet breaks!

"I've watched each of the films at least 20 times in some form or another. And in 2009, I flew to New York for a screening of The Two Towers with a live orchestra at Radio City Music Hall.

"Between books, DVDs, screenings and collectables, I've spent around €2,000 following LOTR over the years.

"From logging on to fan forums to quoting obscure references from the films, I've never made any secret of the fact that I'm a Tolkien nerd -- it's never hurt my chances with the ladies. And whenever someone scoffs, I simply remind them that more people in the world speak Elvish than Irish!"

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