An Irish exploration company has struck gold in the hills of Co Cavan.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources has identified a new gold zone on Slieve Glah where it drilled two "scout" holes to depths of 308 metres.

The first drill hole found low grade gold mineralisation in bedrock of one metre at 0.5 grammes per tonne from 95.0m down hole.

The second intersected four metres of 0.1 grammes per tonne from 124m down hole.

The firm says the discovery of gold in bedrock, together with extensive sulphide mineralisation, proves the presence of a mineralising system.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, says the discovery provides "a solid starting point" for further exploration.

The new zone of gold was located over 1.5km from where previous drilling and trenching took place, and where gold was found.

Professor Richard Conroy, chairman of Conroy Gold and Natural Resources, said the new discovery, at a time when the gold price is touching US$1,500, is a wonderful result for an early drill hole in this target area and confirms the encouraging results that were observed in the gold-in-soil and deep-overburden sampling and drilling elsewhere on the Slieve Glah Target and the overall potential of the Longford-Down Massif.

"At the north eastern end of its extensive licence area the company has an established JORC resource of over 0.5M ounces gold and an estimated exploration target of a further 8.8M ounces gold."