Thursday 23 May 2019

In search of the pot of Carlingford gold!

Margaret Roddy

It is 30 years since Carlingford after local publican, the late PJ O'Hare reported finding the bones and clothing of a leprechaun on the slopes of Slieve Foy mountain.

This discovery led to the original Leprechaun Hunt which was held on the Easter Sunday 1989, attracting 4,000 visitors to the region. Since then it has become a hugely popular event, attracting visitors from far and wide, and has gained extensive media coverage.

Following the official designation of Sliabh Foy Mountain in Carlingford as an EU Special Protection Area for Little People in 2009, the area - and the event - has captured the nation's imagination.

Now, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of that designation and the 30th anniversary of the first hunt, there is a special prize for this year's National Leprechaun Hunt taking Sunday May 12, with is a bar of gold worth €1250 waiting to be found!

This year, however, prizes won't be on the mountainside but will be in a thousand pots hidden along the streets and laneways of Carlingford.

All local businesses have donated prizes - from ice creams to pizza's, steak, sausages, leprechauns, chocolate eclairs, lucky gold coins, cups of coffee with a bun, jewellery, bags of chips, toiletries, Sky park adventures, desserts, crafts, beautiful scarves, shop vouchers, cash prizes, dinners for two, ferry tickets and of course the bar of gold!

Mr. Kevin Woods, who is better known as McCoillte The Leprechaun Whisperer, claims that the little people have given him gold, mined by them on the Cooley Mountains as a thank you to the community of Carlingford for getting the little people protected as a species by the E.U. for 10 years. He has already had it smelted in Switzerland as a bar of gold and it will be in one of 1000 pots.

Kevin explains: 'It was time to come down from the mountain and have the hunt in the village itself. It will make it easier for people with buggies, grandparents and disabled people to take part too. '

To be in with a chance to win the gold or one of the other prizes, you can buy a prospecting licences €6 per person and register for the hunt from 12pm to 2pm on Sunday with hunting allowed between 2pm and 5pm. Only carriers of authenticated licences and officially stamped arms will be allowed to hunt and be able to claim their prize. Anyone found hunting without official documentation will be arrested, say the organisers.

The Argus