Back in 2010, construction of a major motorway in Munster was delayed as campaigners fought to keep a ‘fairy tree’… and won. It seems we Irish would have a lot in common with Icelanders.
Currently, advocates of the country’s elf population have joined environmental campaigners in an effort to convince authorities to abandon plans to build a highway connecting the Alftanes peninsula to Reykjavik suburb Gardabaer, so as not to disturb the local elf population.
Terry Gunnell, a folklore professor at the University of Iceland, said he was not surprised by the wide acceptance of the possibility of elves amongst the Icelandic population, telling The Associated Press: “This is a land where your house can be destroyed by something you can’t see (earthquakes), where the wind can knock you off your feet, where the smell of sulfur from your taps tells you there is invisible fire not far below your feet, where the northern lights make the sky the biggest television screen in the world, and where hot springs and glaciers ‘talk’. Everyone is aware that the land is alive, and one can say that the stories of hidden people and the need to work carefully with them reflects an understanding that the land demands respect.”
At a time of year when we’re all concerned about the North Pole elves, spare a thought for those less glamorous souls hanging out near a would-be construction site…