A character born from Irish legends, the leprechaun is one of the icons of Irish folklore, which is found mainly on the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day. Many are the legends and stories about him. It must be said that this little being has the art and the way to fascinate the young and the old! Many are the tales and stories about him! We give him many names: leprechaun, goblin, leprechaun… Whatever its name, this creature is known for its stinginess, its obsessive attachment to its cauldron of gold… which it would hide at the feet of a rainbow… In short: a colorful character, who is part of the Irish culture! And Irish literature does not lack imagination about him!
Did you know that? The leprechaun has its origins in Irish mythology! Its first appearance in texts is in the work of “Lebor Gabála Érenn”, better known in English as “The Book of Invasions”.
This book, written in the Middle Ages, was a collection of poems and mythological stories telling the Irish history from the creation of the world until the Middle Ages.
It tells the story of the leprechauns. These creatures would be the descendants of the Tuatha Dé Dannan, a people of fantastic creatures who would have tried to conquer Ireland, with the help of druids with impressive magical powers.
Defeated by the Gaelic people, a peace agreement was reached: the Gaelic people obtained to rule the planet, granting however to the Tuatha Dé Dannan to rule in what they called the “buried part of the World”. In other words: hidden places, in the forest, underground.
Since then, legend has it that these creatures would continue to live there all their time.
The Leprechaun is by definition a being who is distinguished by his small size (90 cm maxiumum). Stocky, dressed in green and a cobbler’s apron (leigh bhrogan in Irish Gaelic), he can be recognized by his top hat, his red beard and his buckled shoes. Being atypical, there would exist only male leprechauns.
Character: the leprechaun does not make the lace! They are said to be grumpy, stingy and unpleasant, often abusing dudeens (a liqueur of their own making close to whiskey) and their pipe, which allows them to smoke who knows what foul-smelling herb.
He is described as a solitary, quasi-asocial being, whose characteristic bad mood promises improbable situations with his interlocutors.
Legend has it that their birth was actually the result of the union of a human and a spirit, although the leprechaun is rejected by both worlds…
His living space is limited to the bushes from which he leaps towards other ravines.
Despite his greed, the leprechaun knows how to be grateful and does not hesitate to offer his homemade whiskey to people who are generous with him. Unfortunately, humans, whom the leprechaun avoids, have a hard time keeping up with him (it must be said that this leprechaun is a good drinker: you need a strong stomach to compete with them!)
He would keep at his disposal in two leather purses, a 1 shilling and a gold coin for bribes.
He would also be the keeper of pot of gold coins because in addition to being a cobbler, he would also be the banker of the small world. He is distrustful of humans, whom he knows to be greedy and foolish, because he fears for his treasures.
He is fast and if you catch him, don’t listen to his promises of fortune in exchange for his freedom, he will slip through your fingers!
The legend advises you not to let him out of your sight: a single blink of your eye would be enough for the Leprechaun to disappear from your sight as if by magic!
Very difficult to see, a website had the crazy idea to install webcams in order to better detect them. Don’t hesitate to try your luck!
Let’s face it: the leprechaun is so important in Irish folklore, that it is actually one of the country’s high cultural symbols! That’s why, along with the shamrock, Saint Patrick, the harp and the sheep, the leprechaun is one of the great emblems of the Emerald Isle!
Also, don’t be surprised if you see many people in leprechaun costume during Saint Patrick’s Day… All his representations are there: green hat with strap and golden buckle, green costume, black boots, golden cauldron, beard… The Irish like to dress up as leprechauns for March 17th: an opportunity for them to pay tribute to Irish folklore, and to celebrate in all decomplexion!