A mysterious black cat, similar in looks and size to a panther, has been spotted, once again, in the South Kilkenny countryside.

The animal, which has been seen at various times in recent years in the Mullinavat and Glenmore areas, is described as being ‘as big as a large Rottweiler but very definite of the cat family’. It appears to be a very secretive and nervous animal that takes flight at the first hint of human contact.

The latest sighting was in  an orchard, not too far from Mullinavat, and the giant cat was seen basking in some midday winter sunshine. The person who observed the cat does not wish to be identified but has been described by neighbours as ‘very sound and not inclined to be fanciful’. A local person said she believed there might have been other sightings in recent months but the people involved probably considered it prudent to remain silent for fear of ridicule.

The fresh sightings of the cat, dubbed the ‘Beast of Listrolin’, comes hot on the heels of an incident in County Offaly during Christmas week when a wild animal, of a type not seen in Ireland for 5,000 years, was shot dead in the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

Gardai confirmed that the animal was a European wild boar and locals said the beast was reckoned to be about three years old and weighed in at 23 stone after being killed.