Connemara Mining Plc has announced a joint venture with Hendrick Resources Ltd to explore four prospective gold licences held by Connemara on the Wicklow/Wexford border.
The Mine River licence block of four prospecting licences cover approximately 130 square kilometres that are known to be prospective for gold.
Previous exploration has discovered "significant gold occurrences" in rocks and rivers in the area.
Hendrick, a private Canadian exploration company, will spend €500,000 to earn a 50% interest in the licences and has the option to spend a further €500,000 to increase its stake to 75% of the joint venture.
Exploration field work will commence immediately.
John Teeling, Chairman of the Irish AIM-listed exploration company, Connemara Mining, said: "For over 200 years explorers have sought the source of the Avoca gold which led to the 1796 gold rush.
"Dale Hendrick founder of Hendrick is a highly experienced successful figure in Canadian exploration. His career is marked by successes in resource industry development and corporate finance. Hendrick is of the opinion that a commercial gold deposit remains to be found in south-east Ireland. This is a view long held by the founders of Connemara. A fresh experienced eye and the application of new and improved exploration techniques, combined with our extensive database offers exciting prospects."