A WEST Cork father recently had the difficult task of telling his children why the fairies have left Rineen Woods.
A couple of weeks ago, Skibbereen chef Andy Illsley, his wife Edel, and their two children Mia (6) and Harry (4) went down to Rineen Woods, near Union Hall, to take part in a friend’s birthday celebration and were left wondering where all the fairy houses – and indeed the fairies – had gone.
Andy, who has been visiting this enchanting wood with his family for more than five years, said his children, and children of other families, were running around looking for the houses, because they knew where they were, or rather, where they should be.
‘There was over 50 there before. There were so many because – in addition to the originals – children had built houses out of stones that they had put together and they were all gone.
‘Everything was gone, bar the two fairy houses right at the far end of the track, which, by coincidence, were the first two fairy houses down there.’
Andy said: ‘The children were getting upset, and we, as parents, told them the story that the fairies had been relocated and gone to better homes.
‘We made light of it, said the Government relocated them, but to tell you the truth I’d like to know where – and why – they have gone.
‘What was the issue?’ he wondered. ‘It makes no sense. Their presence encouraged more and more families to take their children out in the fresh air and enjoy some exercise. It was a very busy wood.
The houses were a major tourist attraction in the area, Andy noted. ‘There were a lot of other families down there the day we were there and they were saying the same thing. It’s sad, because some of the children had left notes, a sweet, or a letter at the door of the fairy houses, and they were gone, too.’
Andy said he is annoyed that ‘the magic has been taken out of the woods’. He asked: ‘What harm were they doing?’
The Southern Star would be happy to help solve this unusual mystery. Email us your theories to [email protected]