If you go down to the woods...By Stephen Rogers - Saturday, August 11, 2012
They may be blessed with magical prowess, but even fairies cannot wing it when it comes to planning laws — after all, if one of their buildings were to collapse it would raise lots of questions about elf and safety.
The naughty nymphs set up home in Rineen Wood in West Cork a few years ago but with trade brisk in the old tooth game and all their spare time spent on gnome improvement, they never got around to getting planning permission for their foot-tall dwellings. Now they are not only seeking that permission but also to expand their little community.
A planning notice has appeared on a large tree next to the home of Pod the "elder and wisest of all the faeries [sic]".
It seeks "the retention of a number of residencies [sic] which we did build ourselves without planning permission and permission to construct a health and fitness centre, café, and visitor centre".
It is signed (albeit in type) by Pod him or herself.
The houses first came to public attention in 2010 when they were discovered, not only on the forest floor but also in the trees.
Since then they have received regular visits, especially from children who have left gifts including coins, shells, toys, and stones.
However, despite their popularity, the homes have not had a completely trouble-free relationship with their human neighbours.
In late 2010, two of the houses were destroyed by vandals, although they were soon replaced.
The planning permission looks genuine, complete as it is with the Cork County Council masthead.
However, it would appear that the fairies may be trying to befuddle us with their trickery.
The masthead may look genuine and even the planning inspection details are correct.
However, the veracity of the application becomes less certain when one spots that it carries no planning number — and Pod has neglected to sprinkle his own signature in fairy dust onto the dotted line.