Fairy festival in Co Offaly works magic in aid of Barretstown
A fun day at Lough Boora Discovery Park raises funds for the children’s charity
Jessica and Rebecca Kelly, and Lucy Roberts looking for fairy at Bord na Móna’s Lough Boora Discovery Park Fairy Fun Day in Co Offaly. Photograph: Jeff Harvey
There was high drama in a midlands bog on Saturday when Snow White got trapped in a fairy tree and a mini riot broke out as little people fought hard for a seat on a wishing chair.
“I’m stuck and so is my hair,” the little girl dressed as the forest princess shrieked at her anxious mother after she had climbed just that little bit too high in one of the many trees said to be fairy homes in the Bord na Móna-run Lough Boora Discovery Park in Co Offaly.
After several minutes trying to talk her Snow White down, a harassed-looking mother had no option but to climb the tree to free her child. Once her release was secured, the child told other children milling around that there was “bad karma up there. That tree is evil.”
It seemed a bit harsh.
They’re said to become nervous around humans and, if that’s true, a whole forest of them must have been quaking in their tiny boots as thousands of screaming children wearing wellies and wings arrived for the Bord na Móna/Irish Fairy Door Company’s fourth annual Fairy Fun Day in aid of the Barretstown children’s charity.
For most of the day, the children’s eyes were on forest trees, where fairy doors were to be found. Most of the bigger people’s eyes darted to the heavens, where black clouds were forming.
“I was a bit worried at 6.30 this morning,” one of the organisers said. “I didn’t think the rain would lift, but it has, so thank God.”
His thanks soon rang hollow as the heavens opened and monsoon conditions developed. Children leapt about in puddles as morose-looking parents searched in vain for shelter.
At the wishing chair, children queued impatiently for a fairy wish. “I fecking wish it would stop bloody raining,” mumbled one parent in the queue.
At the worry tree, what had been a queue disintegrated into a free-for-all. Once children – and adults – placed their hands on the tree stump, a fairy took a worry away. “A worry tree? Jaysus, I’ll be here all day,” a woman said.
Jane Leavy of Barretstown wasn’t worried. She was delighted. “They’ve completely sold out of fairy doors after less than two hours,” she said. The proceeds were going directly to the charity, which offers specially designed camps for children and their families living with a serious illness.
“This is a hugely important event,” she added. “The money is great, but awareness is just as important. It is fantastic.”
Barretstown campsMichelle KinsellaFinglas
“The nature of the illness has changed so much since my dad, who also had the condition, was a young man,” she said. “Back then, any time he got a bleed he had to go to hospital. Nowadays they get two injections twice a week and they can live a pretty normal life. Jamie just climbed to the top of the fairy tree. There wasn’t a bother on him,” she said with some pride.
And he didn’t get stuck for a second.