Fairies defy chainsaw attacker to sprout new leaves on thorn bush


The celebrated fairy bush of Latoon, Co Clare has confounded all expectations to sprout leaves again - eight months after a vandal's chain-saw was believed to have ended its life.

In recent days, green leaves on the white thorn bush have been visible to motorists travelling along the €90 million Newmarket-on-Fergus bypass. Folklorist Mr Eddie Lenihan said yesterday he was "delighted and relieved" that the fairy tree or "sceach" was growing once more.

The sceach received international attention four years ago when it was saved from destruction at the start of the roadworks scheme after a successful campaign by Mr Lenihan.

He warned of a curse on the roadway if the fairy bush was destroyed and related how the sceach was a rendezvous point for Kerry fairies to discuss tactics on their way to do battle with the Connacht fairies.

Clare County Council placed a wooden fence around the bush, however last August a vandal armed with a chain-saw reduced the tree to a stump after cutting down all the branches.

County engineer Mr Tom Carey described the act as "deplorable" and the council reported the matter to the Gardaí. However no one was apprehended for the attack. Now, with growth returning to the damaged sceach, Mr Lenihan remarked yesterday: "The fairies are able to look after their own property." He said the sceach offers a window to the "other world".

Asked what he believes has become of the vandal, Mr Lenihan said: "Well, after the despicable act was carried out on the tree, I rang an old man who was very familiar with the sceach and had told me stories about it. After telling him about the attack, there was a long pause before he asked, 'Is he still alive?' referring to the vandal who had chopped down the branches. I won't say anything more but I would not like to be him."