Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have discovered a cave on Ireland’s northwest coast which they believe was once the actual home of a leprechaun. Scientific evaluation of the artifacts found in the small cave reveals that shoe-making equipment, maps and gold coins were apparently left behind by the leprechaun sometime between the years 1650 and 1700.
The initial discovery was made by two amateur cavers who are TCD students, on holiday in the fishing town ofKillybegs. They heard myths recounted by locals about a small, mysterious cave hidden about 2 km up the shoreline, and set out to investigate. After several days of searching they found what appeared to be the entrance to a cave, well-camouflaged by large rocks and trees. The outcropping was engraved with what seemed to be a rudimentary form of Gaelic lettering. However, the cave was much too small for them to enter and explore, with the entrance only about 60 cm tall.
Upon their return to school, they notified the Speleological Union of Ireland and the Geography Department at Trinity College Dublin of their discovery. A team of researchers from TCD led byProfessor Sean Thornton set out for the region the following month, with equipment which would allow them to remotely see inside the cave and extract samples. After obtaining the required permits, the team used robot-mounted, remote-controlled catadioiptic cameras to maneuver through a long winding entrance and obtain the first-ever view of the cave’s interior.
What the cameras revealed stumped Thornton and the entire exploration party at first. The cave was approximately one meter tall, almost perfectly round, and the size of a small shop. In the center of the floor was a rickety wooden table, on which were several scraps of withered leather material, four oddly-shaped pieces of rotted wood, a hammer and some rusty iron pegs. In one corner was a pile of moldy and tattered fabric which had obviously been gnawed by rodents at some point, covering two small rusty squares of iron. Along one side of the cave were two pieces of clay pottery with sludge caked on their bottoms. On the opposite wall was a large boulder, which apparently had hidden a recessed compartment before being pushed aside. Next to the opening, a map of some sort had been etched onto the wall. Finally, one of the cameras was able to get a view of the compartment’s interior, which contained four gold coins.
The inside findings were full documented on video, and arms attached to the robots were used to retrieve all of the items. They were then taken to Trinity College for evaluation and research, in consultation with experts from the Departments of History, Irish and Celtic Languages, and Natural Sciences, as well as archeologists from University College Dublin. Their combined findings stunned all involved.
All of the items dated to the period 1650-1700, according to both scientific dating techniques and expert evaluation (particularly of the gold coins which were discovered). The authorities were convinced by the shape and size of the wood pieces that they had been used as lasts, most likely used to make shoes with the leather material, hammer and nails found next to them. The sludge at the bottom of the pottery was identified as the remnants of dandelions or a similar flower, probably steeped in water which had been contained in the bowls. The moldy pieces of fabric and rusty squares were reconstructed to form what appeared to be a brightly-colored jacket and pointed, buckled hat. The coins were Irish double pistoles, struck in the year 1646. And while the map did not correspond to any of the known geographic features of the area during that period, the unmistakable image of a rainbow dominated one end.
The startling, hard-to-believe, but unanimous conclusion drawn by the experts – based on the artifacts and the size of the cave – was that it had once been home to a leprechaun. The shoe-making materials, dandelion tea, clothing, gold and map to the end of a rainbow, all housed in a living space in which no humans could fit, could be explained no other way according to the researchers. Their conclusion was supported by a linguist from TCD who was also on the expedition; he believes the quasi-Gaelic inscription found at the entrance to the cave roughly translates to “Who Steals Me Gold Won’t Live Through The Night.”
Thornton and his team plan a return to the region later this year for further exploration, we will keep our readers informed of their findings.