12 °CMon, 22

Wooden it be nice to have Fairyland in your backyard!

Shauna Loughran

Reporter:

Shauna Loughran

IF you drive down towards the Glens today, you're in for a big surprise!

For, nestled among the swathes of green fields you’ll stumble upon a real life fairyland.

Driving through the winding roads of Newtowncrommelin, a little white washed cottage catches the eye and behind this cottage lies Littleworld - land of the little people!

Standing proudly is what is believed to be the largest fairy house in the world.

Lovingly handcrafted from a Red Sequoia tree, the huge structure comes complete with a little rounded door and little quaint windows, and inside there’s room for four people.

The brains behind this project is Sean McKeown - a former bricklayer and painter.

It took three weeks with a chainsaw to painstakingly carve out the inside of this tree.

But with a lot of determination, imagination - and of course, a little help from the fairies - his magical masterpiece came to life.

The Guardian dropped into Littleworld last week where it was clear to see that Sean is passionate about his project.

He is building a reputation as ‘The Fairy Man’ as visitors from across the world flock to see this whimsical attraction.

Sean is no stranger to developing fairy trails with much of his work on display at Galgorm Fairy Trails.

He has also completed work for trails in Scotland, Stormont and Malahide Castle and enjoys the awe and wonderment the public glean from his intricate creations.

Sean has carved a giant’s hand into his garden and the story goes that it is the hand of Finn McCool’s cousin!

One day he annoyed the fairies - who are quite secretive and like to be left alone - and so they buried him deep in the ground!

He clutched at the earth trying to get out but the only thing that remains of him is his giant fingers!

Sean welcomes tour groups as well as school children to Littleworld where he regales them with mystical tales of the elusive fairies.

He is currently working on a development which will involve a tunnel from the main fairyhouse, covered in meadow mix to create what he describes as a kind of “Disneyworld underground!”

Sean said: “I get up in the morning and I am eager to get started on a new creation. I’ve always had an imagination and this affords me the opportunity to let my imagination run wild!

“I am hoping to attract more schools to Littleworld as fairies and the trails are all about experiencing nature.

“Ipads and technology are great - but this is about getting children outdoors in the fresh air and learning about nature and their surroundings.”

Sean said his family are every bit as intrigued as the public to see what he’s up to next and he laughed: “My grandson thinks his grandad’s nuts!”

Sean stressed his home is open to everyone and said he often opens his curtains to see people taking pictures of his little cottage!

Sean is happy to extend a warm Irish welcome to anyone who knocks on his door - even putting up a group of weary French travellers for the night!

Speaking with Sean, his enthusiasm for his business is infectious.

He is full of ideas, he is full of stories and he is keen to see the Glens of Antrim expand as a real tourist attraction.

It is clear to see that each carefully sculpted design is a real labour of love, with tiny stepping stones, doors and windows housing the fairies.

Each visitor to Littleworld will come away with their very own fairy and Sean is currently challenging those with fairies to see how far they can travel!

So far, one intrepid little fairy has made the journey across the Atlantic to Pennsylvania, USA!

And nothing delights Sean more than to see the journeys these little people take as he encourages people to post pictures of the fairies’ adventures to his Littleworld facebook page.

Visitors shower their praise for Sean with one stating: “ The stunning workmanship that has been put into these houses is second to none. Everything is done to perfection and made with love.”

Another said: “His fairy houses are fantasy made real!”

Sean is hoping to get his business operational for Christmas - and what more magical place to be for the most magical time of the year!

Sean concluded: “It really is the best job in the world!”

You can visit Sean at Littleworld, 25 Old Cushendun Road, or pop on to his facebook page - Littleworld Newton-Crommelin. A website is being developed and will soon be available to make bookings - and you never know you might even spot a fairy!

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