THE hopes and wishes of children have quite literally been destroyed in Ennis in what has been described as an act of “wanton destruction”.
A ‘fairy post box’, part of the Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Lees Road fairy trail, has been smashed beyond repair.
The vandalism is believed to have been carried out using a child’s hurley which was found at the scene, along with the tattered remains of letters children had written detailing their hopes and dreams to the fairies of the trail.
Councillor Mary Howard, who was involved in the establishment of the popular trail, says this act of vandalism is “heartbeaking”.
“I got the call to come up and saw the post box was in smithereens, it’s terrible. I was just so disappointed see that somebody would think it’s okay to do this. This is just wanton destruction, it’s senseless”.
Children have been flocking to the fairy trail since it was established five years ago, with the post box proving to be a valuable addition. Over the years Councillor Howard has collected the letters and has seen first-hand how important the post box has been to the county’s young people.
“I was gutted when I saw what had happened. Children have been writing so many letters over the years, about losing teeth, going to big school, Santa Claus is coming. All their wishes and dreams.
“There are some letters, and you would think that maybe writing them helped with any little worries they might have been having. The post box really captured the imagination at a time when children are so focused on devices and being online. This has been magical for the toddlers and older children.”
This isn’t the first time that the fairy trail has been targetted by vandals. Last year a number of fairy doors were smashed, while a bird feeder has also been destroyed.
The hurley that is believed to have been used in this latest incident was 22 inches with red and white stripped grips down the handle, with a black strip closest to the bas.
“The hurley was found by the post box broken. It’s clearly a child’s hurley and maybe somebody will recognise it. It would have taken a while to do this. The post box was held on by six screws and it’s a pretty solid piece of wood that was very protected so it wouldn’t deteriorate over the years. This took time and patience”.
Councillor Howard took away the broken post box, explaining she didn’t want children to see the destruction.
“It’s just so heartbreaking to see this, and that’s not what this trail is about. They are all over the country now but we were one of the first off the bat to put one in here and it’s been a huge success.”
Councillor Howard put forward the idea for the fairy trail when she was chair of Clare County Council’s leisure facilities committee and it was established in 2016.
The first doors of the fairy trail and the post box were constructed by members of the Chapel Lane Arts and Crafts Market Tony Perry, who has since passed and Joanna White who now lives in the UK. The trail started with 18 doors, but now contains over 30 on the looped walk.