Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's OK to shoot Leprechauns

[See 2019 update below]

The other evening Sky News reported that the EU had declared the Irish Leprechauns of the Cooley Peninsula, in Co. Louth, a protected species. No more shooting those Leprechauns at the end of the rainbow in order to make off with their pot of gold.

Now we all know that Sky News is one of the most reliable channels in the world when it comes to facts. In this case they reported Co. Louth as being in Northern Ireland. This would certainly be news to the Boundary Commission (wound up in 1925) and it would be even more breaking news to the Irish Government which had, since 1922, expected the territory of Northern Ireland to diminish rather than increase as a result of the same Boundary Commission's findings.

The story appears to have originated from the Carlingford Leprechaun site where the designation by the EU of Leprechauns for heritage conservation was announced on 14 December 2009. It seems to have got recent traction in the run up to the National Leprechaun Hunt on 28 March 2010 (last Sunday). And it was picked up by various news media and even the NDP/EU funded Carlingford Heritage Centre, though their phrasing is a little more subtle.

The Leprechaun site carries a reproduction of a letter from the EU EEA confirming the original designation. I have queried the letter with the EU EEA and am assured that it is a forgery and that there is no designation of the Little People.

So, get out your blunderbuss, rally the relations, bring in the tourists, and off you go hunting the Leprechaun.

Because, you see, it's still OK TO SHOOT LEPRECHAUNS.

(PS: note the date. I'm posting early to warn my family in Australia, where it's already tomorrow, lest they fall for this silly story.)

[Update 30/01/2018: When originally posted, all the links above worked. Since then the Carlingford website, not to mention CNN's, has gone through many non-backwards-compatible mutations. The only trace on the site of the original material is a link to booking for the hunt, the latest version of which seems to be for the 2017 event.

Meanwhile, the whole thing has transferred to to a new bespoke site where there is no longer any mention of the EU jape.]


  1. Because, you see, it's still OK TO SHOOT LEPRECHAUNS.

    Seánie Fitzpatrick please note!

  2. No way! I've seen leprechaun clothes in Carlingford and they were unpunctured by bullet holes. Who would ever be so cruel and foolhardy to shoot a little person?

  3. @blackwatertown

    Have you considered the Leprechauns might have been skinny dipping in the Lough when they were shot.

    Perhaps the inquest might shine some light on this?

    On the cruelty angle: people have been shot for less and the price of Gold has risen substantially over the years.


  4. I just stumbled across the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin's Jervis St. this morning. I nearly died laughing on the spot.

    However, I am assured that the "Leprechaun" bit is just a teaser for the wider mythological history of Ireland and that the content includes the Fir Bolg and other nefarious inhabitants of the otherworld.

    We'll just have to wait and see what the DNA turns up.

  5. As I've just posted a link on Twitter to the above post I have now checked out the links in the post itself. All the Carlingford links have gone.

    I put this down to (i) cyber messing by the little people, (ii) failure by the Carlingford end to keep their subscription up to date, (iii) a revamping of their website which paid no attention to backward compatibility, or (iv) sheer embarrassment at the thought.

    Then I googled the hunt and, to my surprise, it now seems to be incorporated into the main Carlingford site.

    Wonders will never cease.


  6. More messing.

    The Hunt now has a site of its own but there is no mention of the 2010 fake news.

    I have amended the post accordingly.