THERE is magic and mischief afoot at Curraghchase Forest Park.
As rich in folklore as it is in flora and fauna, the 774-acre West Limerick tourist attraction certainly has a mystical quality to it.
Locals will tell you of strange nocturnal sightings of a ghostly lady rising from the middle of the lake, banshee howls that would straighten the kinkiest of curls and cautionary tales of impish fairies lurking behind every mushroom stem.
Shur, it is enough to put the fear of God into you!
However, the latest evidence would indicate that there is no malicious intent, and if anything, these mischievous sprites are friendly and very well intentioned.
Two years ago, Curraghchase Caravan and Camp Site, magically sprang back into life under the management of new owner Warren Higgins.
The 31-year-old East Limerick man from Ballybricken has not only wondrously settled in well to the west of the county but has also used his own unique brand of alchemy to put Curraghchase back on the map as one of the region’s most spectacular tourist attractions.
The forest park’s bewitching quality was not lost on me as I met with Warren this week to discover what hocus-pocus is currently at play.
The Curraghchase caravan site is the perfect retreat to get back to nature. But it turns out it is not only tourists from Europe and further afield who are taking up residence.
Overnight, the fairies have boldly come out of hiding and set up residence on the campsite’s doorstep.
A stone’s throw from the café and playground is a sight that is sure to thrill visitors of all ages. I felt like I was five-years-old again on discovering the homes and gardens of West Limerick’s most crafty little pixies.
A fairy trail that will fill you with enchantment and all the wonder of childhood is the proof that sorcery is at play in these deep dark woods. After appearing out of the blue this magical hamlet has captured the imagination of visitors from Australia, Germany, Italy and the UK, as well as those from closer to home.
“I think people from Limerick kind of forget that Curraghchase is here. We tend to overlook it, but there is definitely something magical in the air here that is drawing tourists from all over the place,” Warren explains.
“This area was overgrown and I honestly didn’t know how I would ever tend it, but the fairy trail that sprung up just adds to what was already here. That combination of nature, the silence, trees and that mystical quality continue to keep visitors spellbound.”
Check out Curraghchase Caravan and Camping Park on Facebook for all the latest fairy sightings.
by Alan Jacques