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Leprechauns: A Complete Historical Record

celtic era

by J.D. Cooper

Summary: Let's explore the fascinating world of Leprechauns and learn how they came into being. Find out what they are really like, see photos of real Leprechaun gold, and learn how to tell Leprechauns apart from their cousins who are much more evil and dangerous.

Introduction

Are Leprechauns real or just Irish folklore? Leprechaun origins, appearance and characteristics have been modified over time as significant events occurred in Ireland and among the Irish people. We have dedicated significant research to clarify true original Leprechaun folklore and Irish traditions from the later modifications.

Leprechaun facts and Leprechaun legends are fully discussed within these walls of Irish folklore and mystery, and we hope you find this education as comprehensive a study on Leprechauns as can be found in one location. We reveal the answers to the most common Leprechaun questions including the following:

  • What is a Leprechaun?
  • Where do Leprechauns live?
  • Where did the Leprechaun come from?
  • Are there any female Leprechauns?
  • What clothes does a Leprechaun wear?
  • What does a Leprechaun do?
  • How do Leprechauns get so much gold?
  • Where does a Leprechaun keep his gold?
  • What are the characteristics of a Leprechaun?
  • How do you catch a Leprechaun?
  • Can you kill a Leprechaun?
  • What is Leprechaun magic capable of?
  • Are there evil Leprechauns or are there only good Leprechauns?

Early History and Origins of the Leprechaun

Before we get started, we need to establish a little Leprechaun foundation to your knowledge so your learning opportunity is maximized. First and foremost, Leprechauns are Leprechauns and that's just that. There are evil Leprechaun cousins who are much worse and have given Leprechauns a darker reputation than they deserve. Two of the most notorious cousins include the ‘Clurichaun’ (CLOOR-ih-kon) and the ‘Far Darring’. Other less known evil Leprechaun cousins include the Gan Ceanach and the Pooka. More information on various Leprechaun cousins is covered later on. But for now, just know that much of the ‘evil Leprechaun folklore’ and bad characteristics Leprechauns have been labeled with is really more from the reputations of their cousins.

We feel the most credible and oldest Leprechaun documentation supports Irish Folklore best. Now travel with me back in time to the first origins of these mystical fairies of Ireland known as Leprechauns.

The Leprechaun is a special part of the fairy family originating in Ireland before the Celts arrived. There are a few variations in Irish folklore and Irish mythology regarding the specifics of how Leprechauns came into existence. Through the early ages, verbal Irish folklore was the only record of the Leprechaun. It wasn't until the 5th century when Christians came to Ireland that the stories were actually written down by monks and priests.

Let's start by looking at the word ‘Leprechaun’ which is believed to have first been used in the Northern Leinster areas of Ireland. Its roots are founded in a wide variety of old world terms, as follows:

Origins of the word Leprechaun:

  • Luchoirp, or Luchorpan (water sprites)
  • Luprachán the Gaelic word for ‘half-bodied’ referring to their partial occupation of the physical world
  • Leath Bhrogan which is Gaelic for ‘shoe’ or ‘shoemaker’
  • Lurachmain (Irish for pygmy)
  • Lú Chorpain meaning small body
  • Variations include Lurican, Lurgadhan

More commonly known as:

  • Leath Brog (one-shoemaker)
  • Logheryman (Northern Counties)
  • Lurigadawane in Tipperary
  • Luricawne in Kerry
  • Also called ‘wee folk’

The first account of Leprechauns dates back to the 8th Century story called Echtra Fergus mac Léti (Adventure of Fergus son of Léti) and highlights the water sprites (luchoirp, or luchorpan) as the first Leprechaun-type of beings. As the tale goes, ‘a man named Fergus mac Léti, King of Ulster, is sleeping in his chariot beside the sea when suddenly the sprites lift him up and away of the water. His sword was left behind in his chariot and he struggles for his freedom. He is able to seize the sprites in his hand and they barter for their freedom promising to grant three wishes and to teach Fergus their skills of swimming as a condition of their release.’ This 8th Century record gives credibility to the Leprechauns' known swimming skills and granting of three wishes when captured.

Leprechaun heritage started with a mother who was a degenerate fairy (a possible water sprite) and a father who was an evil spirit (or Fergus mac Léti, King of Ulster). As we know, Leprechauns are only male. This is because when fairies have children, the female remain fairies and males become Leprechauns. These male fairy offspring, Leprechauns, were deemed to be defective children because of their shape and disposition. Combined this has given the Leprechaun a lowly heritage, little respect in the fairy world, and just cause to prefer a life of solitude.

In Irish-Celtic mythology, the first people to inhabit Ireland were a race of mystic people who ruled as Kings and Queens (some say gods and goddesses). They were known as the Tuatha Dé Danann (People of the goddess Danu) and were an intelligent, fairy type people. Stories of their love for music, magic and poetry only mirror the dancing, singing Leprechaun as we know him today. It is also known that another faerie folk called ‘Daonine Sidhe’ thrived across Ireland about the same time as the Tuatha Dé Danann.

These magical people where lead at one time by Lugh the long armed warrior. He fought many fights using the rainbow as his sling shot. (Yes, this point is complete Irish folklore and Irish mythology, but some people would question our research if it was not included.) Overall, we are not addressing Irish mythology in detail so other tales of Lugh the Morrígan, Aengus and Manannán mac Lirappear, etc. will not be covered here.

Now, according to the Book of Invasions, the Milesians (aka the Gaels) came to Ireland and in an epic battle conquered the Tuatha Dé Danann and claimed all of Ireland for themselves. This forced all the fairies to make their abodes in mounds that existed under the hills. Leprechauns, being more recluse, found more private dwellings in old oak trees, small isolated mounds and other hidden places.

Later in Irish history, the Danes plundered Ireland. As they left, it's believed they left their gold with Leprechauns to guard. Of course it was buried all over Ireland in fields, mounds, under trees and in the Irish countryside. This hidden treasure became the foundation of the Leprechaun's wealth.

Leprechaun Magic, Tricks & Evil Cousins?

This is a good place to remind you that Ireland gets lots and lots of rain. This causes things to grow very well, and the country is so green it's known as The Emerald Isle.

As is the nature of rain, when it's over rainbows can be very brilliant and visible for miles. As well, we would all agree it's only natural that the heavy rain in Ireland over several decades also eroded the soil in the fields. Now simply imagine the day when a farmer is working in his field after a big storm and discovers gold popping out of the ground!

Is it the Leprechaun's gold or the Dane's gold! Who cares – what great luck... Luck of the Irish that is! (Yes, this is where the expression got started.)

If we add the common occurrence of rainbows to the erosion of soil over time, and the lucky farmer, we can see how the legend of the Leprechaun's gold being at the end of a rainbow got started. There he is, poor, knee deep in mud, and looking at all this gold popping up out of the ground. He looks up and sees the rainbow and bursts with excitement at the idea of finding the Leprechaun's gold. Yes, these things happened as did many other stories giving credibility to the legend of Leprechaun's gold.

Ireland's greatest treasure was discovered in just such a way. A 19th century farmer was desperate to find fertile soil and decided to plant his potatoes on a fairy fort! This was very dangerous and had great risks. The fairy forts were known to be the enchanted homes of Leprechauns. To disturb the soil and plant a crop would enrage any self–respecting Leprechaun and invoke his wrath upon you. The farmer was poor and desperate and overcame his fears. However, when he started to till the ground he suddenly found a large solid gold goblet encrusted with jewels! It has become known as the The Ardagh Chalice and is Ireland's most prized historical possession.

The Truth About Leprechaun Clothing and Physical Appearance

Would you know a Leprechaun if you saw one? Or, do you need a little help knowing what they look like? Picture yourself strolling through the woods on a beautiful spring morning after a nice evening of rain. The air is crisp and fresh as it fills your lungs, and you think to yourself, Ha, what a fabulous day to be alive! As you walk past a large oak, you are completely startled as a small man about 2–3 feet tall steps out from the shrubbery into the path only a few steps away from you! Both of you freeze in place gazing at each other in astonishment and with a little fear mixed in.

Then out of nowhere, you hear your mother's voice behind you calling your name! You glance behind you without thinking (and out of habit) but no one is there! You turn back forwards – and the little name is gone too! Silent and as a fast as a flash – he disappeared!

As you realize you have just see a live Leprechaun, you also see your dilemma. Do you tell anyone about this – at the risk being teased and ridiculed for years to come, or do you keep this encounter a secret? Then you ask yourself, How do I know that was a real Leprechaun? (If you don't know, let's give you a few pointers.)

Leprechauns are very easy to distinguish from humans – especially by their old withered face, period clothing, and short height (generally between 6 inches and 2½ feet tall in their natural state). He has pointed ears, a full curly beard (or pointed if straight hair), large bushy sideburns if clean shaved, sparkling green eyes, short thin legs, and fair skin with rosy cheeks and nose. They are not interested in the latest fashions and will maintain the traditional clothing styles of olde Ireland and Leprechaun heritage. Green is a Leprechauns favorite color (only after the glimmer of gold of course), and the green color helps camouflage them when hiding in the bushes.

Depending upon the region of Ireland, most every Leprechaun has some variation of common clothing based in the old 18th century style as follows:

  • Green long coat, square-cut coat, or waist coat
  • Vest
  • Breeches (usually green)
  • Big black belt with one huge silver buckle
  • Tricorn hat (tri-cornered hat), cocked hat, or conical hat (top hat In more recent times)
  • Grey or black stockings
  • Gold pocket watch and watch chain worn on their vest
  • Gold amulet around their neck
  • Magical ring
  • Black leather shoes with medium to high heels (wide ones of course, it's a man's shoe after all) with a large square buckle on the top
  • Very old Leprechauns still have brown and or longer shoes

real leprechaun shoe Speaking of genuine Leprechaun shoes, the one shown in this photo was discovered in 1834. A human cobbler studied this particular Leprechaun shoe and confirmed the great quality of craftsmanship as being ‘as good as can be made’. There are significant signs of wear on sole and heel, and if you look closely, you can see it has been mended before. There are two stitches in back of heel. Some speculated it was a doll's shoe, however the cobbler stated this must be a real Leprechaun shoe because it was far too well made to be a doll's shoe.

While these are the most recognizable aspects of Leprechaun clothing, there are accessories and variations that allow a Leprechaun to add a little personality to his appearance. Some might wear around his neck an Elizabethan ruff and have frills of lace at his wrists. Conical hats (cone shape) and tricorn hats are worn mainly by the oldest of Leprechauns, and top hats can be found on Leprechauns who are not as old, but they all will still be predominantly green (but sometimes brown or black depending upon the Leprechaun's age and location). The vest a Leprechaun wears is often very beautiful because they are always made by fairies. The vests are magical and helps a Leprechaun go to the astral plane when sleeping.

Leprechaun ‘Accessories’

Leprechauns love to smoke a small stumpy pipe known as a ‘dudeen’. As well, they always carry a shillelagh (Irish fighting stick) or have it nearby and within hands reach. As for the Leprechaun's magic ring, very little is known about its powers. Magic fairy rings are common and can have various powers. However, the Leprechaun's overall magic abilities are strong which leads us to believe this ring, while magic, is more of a personal affect than something he relies upon for his powers. (However, he can be made to give you three wishes if you find it – and we recommend you give it to him ASAP!)

There are a few variations regarding a small leather purse, called a ‘Spre na Skillenagh’ (shilling fortune) that Leprechauns carry with them. It is basically a leather pouch with drawstring. All the information we have seen confirms Leprechauns have one such pouch with one gold coin which magically disappears after it is spent (or turns to dust) and replaces itself back into the Leprechaun's purse. However, there are other stories that include a second Leprechaun Purse. In one purse there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. In the other he carries a gold coin which he uses to try and bribe his way out of difficult situations. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the Leprechaun has parted with it.

As a side note, Leprechauns have a few very dangerous cousins who prefer to wear a red jacket or roundabout laced with gold and with seven rows of seven black buttons. He wears red breeches that buckle at the knee, and red or blue hats that are more of a cap (no brim) and pointed at the top (or occasionally something along the lines of a short top hat). On the stormy West coast of Ireland, they are known to wear a frieze overcoat over their red suit which allows them to travel in the rain without being recognized. The key to your safety is to just remember ‘red is bad... turn and run!’

Earlier, we mentioned there are some regional differences in the appearance of Leprechauns. This could have been legitimately recorded from Irish folklore, or the variations in attire could simply describe one of the very dangerous cousins of the Leprechaun by mistake. After all, they really do look so much alike.

With that said, we do find it worth sharing the insights of D.R. McAnally from 1888 in his famed book, Irish Wonders. However, we notice that McAnally has lumped all Leprechauns and their cousins into the same group as one. Our research does not agree with this approach, however, his contributions are listed below:

  • “The Northern Leprechaun or Logheryman wore a military red coat and white breeches, with a broad-brimmed, high, pointed hat, on which he would sometimes stand upside down.
  • The Lurigadawne of Tipperary wore an antique slashed jacket of red, with peaks all round and a jockey cap, also sporting a sword, which he uses as a magic wand.
  • The Luricawne of Kerry was a fat, pursy little fellow whose jolly round face rivals in redness the cut-a-way jacket he wears, that always has seven rows of seven buttons in each row.
  • The Cluricawne of Monaghan wore a swallow-tailed evening coat of red with green vest, white breeches, black stockings, shiny shoes, and a long cone hat without a brim, sometimes used as a weapon.”

Some will say that much of a Leprechaun's attire can be traced back to the influence of European folklore blended with the Germanic household spirit known as a “Kobold” when European monks and priests were recording Irish folklore. While there might be similarities, there is no strong evidence to prove this theory.

Leprechaun Personality Traits and Characteristics

Evil Leprechauns? Nothing could be further from the truth! They are merry fellows who savor the pleasure of laughter, a fine home brew (whiskey, beer and wine are fine too), are accomplished musicians that can dance all night long. They are very agile and can move very quickly through the woods and fields. Leprechauns are great tree climbers and accomplished swimmers. They are masters of speech, very slick, shrewd and quick-witted, fluent in Gallic Speak and any other language. As master ventriloquists, they can throw their voice anywhere. A Leprechaun can also impersonate anyone you know to trick and deceive you by imitating their voice (making you think you hear a loved one trapped in a box screaming for help, etc.).

Yes, its true Leprechauns are tricksters… and some of the best to be found. They love to play practical jokes which can be very aggravating to victims (or very entertaining to hear about for others). But at heart, Leprechauns do not intend any real harm. His shenanigans and playfulness have given him a bad name with some folk who do not appreciate their humor. As a matter of fact, they really want to live in peace with their neighbors, human or fairy. However, they can't help but be pranksters. It's just too much a part of their nature to be stinkers! They just love having fun too much to care about anyone else.

Leprechauns are not famous for their cooking or food and are generally considered to be more nibblers and drinkers. They enjoy some nuts, various wild flowers, sweet grasses, garlic, lettuce, cabbages, mushrooms, and spicy foods. He is especially fond of his Irish potatoes (like pig-nuts). Potatoes are a Leprechaun's favorite meal and like all good Irishmen, he loves his spuds. It also is no secret that they make all kinds of creative beverages for themselves and have a grand time drinking. In the afternoon, most leprechauns love a good, rich brew of dandelion tea. You might smell it in the air, but you will never find him. Just smile and keep walking along the path knowing you were very close to a real Leprechaun.

As they themselves stroll about, Leprechauns normally remain invisible making it very rare to actually see one. However, when they are seen, it's most often because they are sit on a mushroom smoking a pipe while hammering a shoe under a bush, focused counting his gold, or because you both accidentally surprise each other along the way.

Leprechauns have been known to use foul language, can be a bit cantankerous or crusty, and they love to smoke the most awful smelling tobacco in their pipes. They are very heavy drinkers, and have been known to drink stout straight from the jug at times. A Leprechaun's horrible social skills and manners have made them unpopular at fairy parties, but their skills as a cobbler (shoemaker) keeps them in the community.

Overall, Leprechauns are a solitary folk and prefer privacy and seclusion. In special circumstances, they have been known to adopt a family and move in to the family home. They must be kindhearted families and the Leprechaun will reside in their home for a spell. The family must also be honest and welcoming, never attempting to trick the leprechaun into giving up his pot of gold. If you believe in him, he will reward you by being most helpful in the home. But remember that leprechauns are still going to be playful and will enjoy playing games of hide and seek with things belonging to you.

Leprechauns love gifts. Be sure to leave something out for them and share generously. If you forget, or run low on food or drink, be warned. You will be on the receiving end of a little mischievousness. Suddenly you will find one of your socks missing from the dryer or underwear has gone missing? You thought you had plenty of milk yesterday, but now it's all gone? And why is the whiskey watered down?!? If you weren't sure before, consider you may have a new resident about three feet tall in your home!

The Loves of a Leprechaun

There are two loves that Leprechauns are simply mad for: Dancing and Whiskey! (And not necessarily in that order.) If you have ever heard stories of Leprechauns, you most likely have also heard about his drinking. They are notorious lushes when it comes to drinking. Leprechaun's first love is a home-brew called Poteen (Poitín) or moonshine, and he may refer to it as ‘ole potato water’. No one likes drinking alone when there is someone around to drink with. Leprechauns are the same way and when drinking, they are especially fond of word games, rhyme games, singing and other drinking games. Their love for a tipple (strong drink) and mischievousness make them fun fairy folk.

Being a great musician is one of the more hidden talents of a Leprechaun. They absolutely love music and dancing. You might see him resting and playing music on a toad-stool, rock, or on the branch of a tree. Depending upon the setting and mood, the bagpipe, tin flute (or whistle), fiddle and Irish harp will be his favorite instruments to play. While not a very good singer, they are known to give out a singing shrill as they merrily work at his trade.

Late at night, Leprechauns go to fairy parties for the dancing, merry-making, eating and of course the drinking. They are known to have wild music sessions known in Ireland as Ceili's with hundreds of Irish Leprechauns gathering to dance, sing and drink. They aren't worried about being seen – it's a party! They love nothing more than a fine old time and taking to the dance floor to perform a famous Irish jig.

As for the harmless pranks and practical jokes Leprechauns play, the most common ones include causing small accidents in the house or riding on sheepdogs, sheep and goats for hours on end (but he does not hurt the animals). If he has been up to something especially mischievous, he will leap on to a wall and spin, balancing himself on the point of the hat with his heels in the air. What a sight!

Although there are a few tales of Leprechauns having lovers above the ground and marring outside their supernatural families, we find this to be mostly folklore. If the fairies themselves find being with a Leprechaun for one night hard to tolerate, I can't see him getting married. (Or could it have been a woman's attempt to use her husband's standard scapegoat against him to explain a sudden pregnancy?)

While primarily good-hearted, Leprechauns do not like to be played the fool. If goaded, taunted, riled or provoked, even the nicest Leprechaun will retaliate and play nasty tricks. They will be devious and possibly dangerous when it comes to guarding their precious gold. They work hard to earn it and some Leprechauns actually are guardians over generations of a Leprechaun clan's gold.

So remember, if you have ever seen a little whirl wind in the dust, be careful. It might just be a Leprechaun on his head spinning a Whirling Dervish full of joy from some trick that has just been successfully played upon his victim. Be glad it was not played upon you!

Leprechaun Homes and Habitat

There are a few places in real life where Leprechauns are known to live in numbers. Knocknalooricaun (Hill of the Leprechaun) located near Lismore, Co. Waterford is one. The other location is called Poulaluppercadaun (Pool of the Leprechaun) found near Killorglin, Co. Kerry.

For hundreds of years, Leprechauns and other magical creatures have lived near the town of Thurles in Tipperary County. There is a meadow just outside of town called the Glen of Cloongallon that has a huge fairy ring that spans some 500 feet in diameter. The fairy ring is said to wrap around six ancient standing stones, which were capped off hundreds of years ago with a huge overhead stone. A giant oak tree that spreads its arms protectively over the ring is said to be the home of a large Leprechaun clan which only adds mystique and mystery to the entire area.

Besides these places, most Leprechauns can be found living in trees that stand alone in a field, large old oaks in the forest, hollow logs in heavily wooded areas, or under mounds with a bush growing on top known as ‘raths’ (or fairy forts). Now these raths (Irish, referring to an earthen mound) are typically the remains of lios (ringforts), hillforts or other circular dwellings in Ireland that are now abandoned, in ruins or completely overgrown.

Leprechauns also live in secluded spots. He might build a comfortable little home in a deep hole in the ground covered by foliage, or under tree roots. They are very fond of living close to creeks, babbling brooks and small waterfalls where they can be soothed by the sounds of running water. (The soothing sounds helps them sleep and dream.)

Now these are the most common and favorite place for a Leprechaun to live. However, you must remember Leprechauns are also shape shifters. This allows them to change from their normal height to the minuscule size of an insect. Therefore, a Leprechaun can live in just about any habitat known to man or beast.

Leprechauns: Cobblers of the Fairy World

Leprechauns are unique in the fairy world because they are the only fairy that has a trade other than cattle trading. He is a solitary cobbler (shoemaker) and can be found during the day merrily working on a single shoe (never a pair) under a hedge or beneath a dock leaf. Now it's very common knowledge that all fairies love to dance, but their shoes wear out. This keeps every Leprechaun very busy… and wealthy. Gold is the only currency in the fairy world and a Leprechaun who is a skilled cobbler can command top prices for his craft.

Irish fairies are famous for their all-night dancing parties. They take great pride in showing off their dancing skills and displaying the latest fast-moving, foot stomping jigs for hours at a time. Fairies therefore need the finest, longest-lasting, most decorated shoes they can get. To this end fairies are willing to pay handsomely for the best pair of shoes. A Leprechaun who is a fantastic cobbler can make a very fine living indeed if he can satisfy the needs of the most demanding fairy dancers. He will craft the most delightful slippers made from every color of the rainbow. Each and every pair sparkled as if a single star had been sown into their very soles.

No matter how much a Leprechaun drinks, they never become so drunk that the hand which holds the hammer becomes unsteady, and the quality of their work never suffers. Good thing, their personality and character is often unacceptable (even by fairy standards). They are fortunate to be such skilled cobblers because other Irish fairies only tolerate Leprechauns deplorable behavior because they need their cobbler services.

Finding a Leprechaun: Fact or Folly?

So how do you find or attract a Leprechaun? Unfortunately, the only way to see one is make sure you are NOT looking for one. (Typical Leprechaun logic, eh?) Most people are unaware that Leprechauns can sense when they are being hunted and hide themselves all the better. Those who actually have found a Leprechaun always say they just stumble upon him, and the Leprechaun was more surprised than the human. Is that the secret?

Well, there are a few ways to increase your odds of ‘stumbling upon a Leprechaun’. In the dark hours just before dawn, look for dim lighting and sounds of merriment on top of raths or in small clearings deep in the forest or wooded areas. Fairy parties are held every night and you might catch one before it's over.

You can also stroll the paths deep in the forest and wooded areas late in the day about dusk, after the sun has set and the last light of the day is fading. If you are very quiet as you walk along, you might hear a faint hammering from some distance in the woodland. It's not necessarily a woodpecker. If you listen close, you might recognize the tap-tap-tapping of a tiny cobbler hammer driving nails into shoes announcing a Leprechaun is near. If you are lucky the Leprechaun will be so busy completing finishing touches on fairy shoes for the party that's about to start that he will not hear your approach.

Other places you can stroll at would be near brooks, streams, creaks, running or trickling water, wishing wells and small waterfalls. You should be on a trail or path that allows you to walk without disturbing anything around you. All you need to do is kick a pebble or step on one leaf or twig on the ground and the Leprechaun will know you are near and disappear instantly. (Better luck next time!)

Leprechaun Spells and Abilities

Irish fairies gave Leprechauns magical powers to protect the Leprechaun's pot of gold and use if ever captured by a human or an animal. In the event he is captured by a human, he can either grant three wishes or vanish into thin air if you glance away but for a moment!

Leprechauns have complete and fully developed magical powers, more so than you would think. (This is also true of all the Leprechaun's cousins.) As part of the fairy world, they have powers that should never be underestimated. They can move things and use them to attack you, pass through walls, travel here and there instantly, disappear, change their form into animals, objects, or people, cast spells upon you or the land you own, etc…the options are endless. He can even cast a spell for his own speed that makes his little legs all but a blur as he runs away in a flash. Although Leprechauns are much more restrained than their cousins, you still do not want to be on a Leprechaun's bad side.

His powers are especially strong over unbaptized children who grow up to be evil people. If cursed by a Leprechaun, these people will have ‘the evil eye’ within them and will stare at you while plotting the evil in their minds against you. If they stare at you with the evil eye, it will bring you bad luck. The only way to break this bad luck is to immediately speak the name of God when they look at any one fixedly and in silence. (Yes, this is where the term ‘the evil eye’ comes from.)

All Leprechaun magical powers go away when the first cock crows announcing the morning dawn. If you can keep a Leprechaun engaged all night (drinking together, etc.), you have a great chance of catching him in the morning! He will be powerless and very easy to catch. Think you can out drink a Leprechaun all night long? Good luck, and all rules apply before dawn. If you look away, it's a Leprechaun's choice to disappear or stay. Annoy him with a poorly chosen statement and you might be turned into a mouse.

The ‘Come Hither’ is a particularly bad and well-known spell Leprechaun's cast upon people. It puts humans under the Leprechaun's control, obeying every command and serving the Leprechaun as long as he wishes.

A Leprechaun can cause you any type of harm (financial, mental, emotional or physical) to prevent you from enjoying any wishes you may have been able to have granted. If you are clever enough to get three wishes from a Leprechaun, he will always offer you a fourth - which will completely cancel the first three! In the immortal words of the Leprechaun King Brian of Knocknasheega himself, “Three wishes I grant you, big or small. But wish a fourth and loose them all! Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!”

Some items a Leprechaun possess have magical abilities. As we mentioned earlier, the fairies make magical vests for the leprechauns which help them sleep at night and go to the astral plane. The hat of a Leprechauns is also magical and allows him to travel to distant lands instantly. The other primary magical item is the shillelagh (fighting stick) which a Leprechaun can use as a magic wand. (Don't try and use it for yourself…it will backfire!)

If a Leprechaun is captured, to keep him under your control you must keep your eyes fixed upon him constantly. Never let your eyes off him. Look away for just a glance and he will vanish. Never looking away is much harder than it seems. The Leprechaun will do everything he can to distract you. Remember Leprechauns are accomplished ventriloquists and can imitate sounds of wild animals or your family members screaming as if they are right behind you.

If a Leprechaun offers to play his bagpipes for you, don't let him play! His music will carry a special spell with it and get your feet to dancing all on their own. Next thing you know he has sent you down the street doing a silly jig to the delight of the Leprechaun while he merrily waltzes home.

Protection Against Leprechauns

So how do you ward off, repel or protect yourself from a Leprechaun? Forget what Hollywood has taught you and stick with what works.

Original Irish folklore and traditional fairy-lore both confirm that Leprechauns are extremely allergic to iron and hide at the sight of it. As well, the Celts believed iron worded off evil, and the Irish were quick to use iron for protection. They placed iron tongs over cribs to protect their children from being taken by evil Leprechauns and replaced with changelings. (We now know this act was more common for the evil cousins of Leprechauns more so than Leprechauns themselves).

Another object of iron used for protection against Leprechauns was the horseshoe. It's believed that hanging a horseshoe above each door of your home provided protection for the whole house, and horseshoes have ever since been known as good luck charms. However, your luck can run out!

Be very careful how you hang the horseshoe. If mounted on a wall, horseshoes must to be hung in the shape of a “U” to keep all the good luck inside. If hung upside down, all the luck runs out and you have no protection from Leprechauns! (I chuckle at modern artwork that has a horseshoe upside down…clueless.)

Another form of protection that is not commonly known is the use of a Christian blessing being put upon a Leprechaun. Blessings from the Catholic monks or a protestant priest bestowed upon a Leprechaun acts as a curse on the Leprechaun, forcing them to fulfill the blessing. Leprechauns hate this fate and are quick to comply if you simply threaten to have them blessed.

Leprechauns are hunted by animals who mistake them as a good meal, and no one likes that. Depending upon their size at the time of the encounter, a wolf might go for a taller Leprechaun wile in the forest and a cat might go for a smaller Leprechaun in the house. With this in mind, it is reasonable to think having a cat in the house is a good deterrent.

No offense to dog lovers, but dogs make too much noise inside and would alert a Leprechaun to their presence. He would have time to hide or even worse, play a trick on the dog and trap him in a closet. Cats are smarter than that, and just as stealthy and cunning as any other animal hunting food. They are more likely to sneak up on a Leprechaun and when they pounce, the sudden appearance of a cat can terrify a Leprechaun so much he would likely leave and find another house to explore. Dogs may be better outside. They can hear a Leprechaun as he approaches the house and chase him off or bark loudly and alert everyone to look about.

Now for those of you without a dog or cat, all we can say is, get one!.

Leprechaun's Pot of Gold

It's no surprise to learn a Leprechaun is very rich and has a pot of gold. However, most people have been so focused on finding a Leprechaun that they have not spent one second thinking about how much gold or treasure a Leprechaun might really have. So let's give you a little hint on some points to ponder:

  • How big is that pot of gold?
  • Do you want a pot of gold or a crock of gold?
  • Or even better, when you ask for his pot of gold, who picks how big the pot is?
  • Is there more than one pot of gold?
  • Are there any diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones among his treasure?
  • Does he have any objects made of gold? (Plates, chalices, flatware, chairs, tables, etc.)

Makes you start thinking a bit closer on how to exactly word your request, doesn’t it?

Earlier we mentioned that Leprechauns became self-appointed guardians of ancient treasure left by the Danes when they invaded Ireland. It was buried in hidden places all over Ireland and only the Leprechauns known where it is. We do know some of his favorite hiding places include having it buried in the earth, hidden deep in the Irish countryside, or underwater.

So is the Dane's gold the only gold a Leprechaun possesses? Nope. He is well paid by the fairies for the beautiful shoes he crafts for them to dance in, and gold is the only type of currency fairy folk use. We don't know the price, but considering his love of gold, the most skilled Leprechaun can command a ‘handsome ransom’ for the shoes most highly coveted by the fairies.

As mentioned when describing his clothing, Leprechauns have two small leather purses they carry with them on their belt. These purses are called a ‘Spre na Skillenagh’ (shilling fortune) and are basically a leather pouch with drawstring.

One pouch has one gold coin which magically disappears after it is spent (or turns to dust) and replaces itself back into the Leprechaun's purse. He may also use this gold coin to try and bribe his way out of difficult situation. The second purse has a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the leprechaun has parted with it.

Rainbow Cups of Gold and Silver

As strange as it is to learn, people have actually found real Leprechaun gold coins and real Leprechaun silver coins. They are most commonly known as ‘rainbow cups’ (German: Regenbogenschüsselchen, Czech: duhovka from duha meaning rainbow). In Ireland, rainbow cup is a term for Celtic gold coins found in areas once dominated by the La Tène culture. According to folklore, rainbow cups could be found where a rainbow had touched the earth. Their shape is often a melted and malformed half-shelled as though a flat coin, while it rested underground, was struck by magic lightning within the rainbow. Rainbow cups are often be found in plowed fields after heavy rainfall and could have many different effects ascribed to them.

There are silver versions of rainbow coins as well. These silver coins are better known as a ‘triskelion’ or ‘triskele’ (which invariably have rotational symmetry). They possess a motif consisting of either three interlocked spirals, three bent human legs, or three bent or curved lines extending from the center of the symbol.

Many people believe these are more of a Celtic coin due to some intricate design work engraved into the coins that were also common among Celtic artifacts. The problem is, which came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, it's been documented that fairies and Leprechauns lived in Ireland long before the Celts arrived. So it looks like the Celts adopted these symbols from the fairies and Leprechauns. Not the other way around. As well, to add more credibility to these being Leprechaun designs, each symbol is used three times which mirrors the three wished granted by the first Luchoirp (water sprites) to Fergus mac Léti, King of Ulster. Again, before the Celts arrived in Ireland.

Should You Barter For Leprechaun Gold?

If you somehow actually capture a Leprechaun or find his magical ring, gold coin or amulet, you can barter for his treasure using his freedom and/or the return of his property in return. But dealing with a Leprechaun can be very bad for you. They will be very devious when it comes to guarding their precious gold and really hate it if you have something of theirs in your possession.

Leprechauns can be easily spotted when he is distracted sitting on a toadstool counting his gold coins. If ever captured by a human, the Leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release…and expects one of them to be for his crock of gold. He may trick you into asking him to take you to the end of the rainbow as your third wish…where you assume the gold will be. But remember, rainbows have two ends. Don't let the Leprechaun trick you into leading you to the wrong end of the rainbow and then laugh at you as both he and the rainbow disappear! (Great prank!)

We have already given you the notion that if you catch a Leprechaun, you should ask him for his pot of gold, and that a Leprechaun owns far more than a single pot of gold. Leprechauns are smart and created the myth of only having just one pot of gold. He knows if you think he only has one pot of gold, that's all you'll ask for. But remember, a Leprechaun who is caught has to give you ‘all the gold you ask him for’. So think before you speak to a Leprechaun. Remember he will twist your words and give you something else completely unwanted or troublesome!

Here is a great example of what happened to a poor chap who encountered Leprechauns and fairies at a fairy party one night a few centuries ago.

He was an accomplished fiddler who decided to take a short cut through a field on his way home one evening and suddenly walked up upon a rath during the middle of a fairy party. The fairies and Leprechauns called out for the fiddler to join them, and he did. He drank with them and played for them for hours and hours and hours. As the night went on, they begged him to play faster and faster and faster - all the while filling his pockets with gold. As dawn began to break, the Leprechauns and fairies sent him on his way. The fiddler was bewildered but happy because all of his pockets were completely filled with gold. However, when he reached his home he was very surprised to be greeted by a strong young man standing in his doorway, The young man said, You have no business here…you have been gone two years with no word at all and I've married your wife! Suddenly the fiddler reached for the gold in his pockets and found only horse manure.

The Carlingford Leprechaun

The last legend of a Leprechaun sighting dates back to the year 1989, and comes from Carlingford Mountain which is located in Co. Louth, Ireland.

A local Irishman, P.J. O'Hare himself, was the one to have this monumental encounter. O'Hare explained he was up on Carlingford Mountain one evening and heard the most horrible screams which sounded like someone being murdered. It was coming from an area next to the Wishing Well and he hurried over to investigate.

When he started to get closer to the well, all he found was a scorched patch of ground completely burned up. As he looked around he discovered a little jacket, pants, conical hat, tiny bottle, mini accordion, other personal items…and the bones of a Leprechaun! As he searched, he found four tiny gold coins in the pants pockets too!

Was this Leprechaun sighting real? While we can't really swear to it, the European Union did proclaim the mountain to be a protected preserve under the European Habitats Directive and added Leprechauns to the list of protected species in 2009.

P.J. O'Hare has since departed and to this day only one other person knows the exact location. That would be Kevin Woods, and he also has everything O'Hare found that day, including the four tiny Leprechaun coins. O'Hare explained that each of these coins has one gift bestowed, and must be given away within 3 hours of your death or the coins revert back to the Leprechaun as does the gift associated with that coin. As well, the coins must be given to a family with 7 sons, and only to the eldest of the 7 sons. As is turns out, Kevin Woods has seven sons, and seven grandsons. Today the clothes and bones of The Naked Leprechaun can be seen on display at PJ's Pub in Carlingford.

While unsubstantiated, we also found some information that a few people believe a Leprechaun only possesses 1 coin for each year of their life. As we have shown, this notion has no validity.

Catching Leprechauns

Many people have lots of fun building elaborate traps for Leprechauns. Have all the fun you want, but it reality this is a waste of time. Leprechauns are very cunning, older that the hills, and can choose to be invisible when you come by to check the trap. He can also use his magic to travel instantly to another place or transform himself into a mosquito and just fly away. (Yes they can change form into anything to escape or keep their identity hidden!)

If you happen to catch a Leprechaun – don't take your eyes off him or he will disappear! He is a roguish trickster who should never be trusted. He will deceive you whenever possible. Leprechauns can't lie, but they can twist the meanings of your words and use all of his magic and skills against you to escape.

Leprechauns are smart and can be very devious when necessary. He will do anything to escape capture even if it means turning you into a frog! He may even offer you things generously, with the kindest of intentions in his voice, only to trick you so he can escape. He may offer you a bit of snuff, only to blow it into your eyes so you can't look at him and he can escape.

To attract a Leprechaun, put a saucer of milk out each evening. Or perhaps a little whiskey or some ale on an odd night here and there. After the leprechaun has eaten, you may find a few things around the house that have been fixed. Leprechauns are also great tinkers. That old tractor may suddenly start running smoothly again thanks to your new guest. On rare occasions and if you have been especially generous and kind, a Leprechaun might make shoes for the entire family before moving on to a new location.

Death of a Leprechaun

Leprechauns are fairies and fated just the same. Although they are technically immortal and never know disease, they will face death on judgment day (as described in the Christian faith). At that time all Leprechauns are fated to pass into annihilation, to perish utterly and be seen no more.

Once a year, and only in the early hours of the May Morn (May Day), will you find Leprechauns feverishly gathering a secret herb. By the power of this certain herb, a Leprechaun can discover where gold is hidden. No one has ever been able to get a Leprechaun to reveal the secrets of this ability. The herb is used in combination with a secret incantation to find hidden treasure. And only a Leprechaun has this knowledge! However, if a Leprechaun reveals the mystery in part or in whole, he instantly dies. The Leprechaun is so afraid of this doom he will never tell the secret.

Any and all other attempts to kill a Leprechaun are futile and will never work. He may disappear or pretend to die an agonizing death, but it's only to trick you into letting your guard down. Stay alert!

Cousins of the Leprechauns

Since most of us know what a Leprechaun looks like, we will explore their cousins next. They are very similar in most ways and only distinguished apart by their clothing and personalities. As we describe each of these relatives, we will clarify their appearances and differences so you will know what you have stumbled upon in the dark. (Be warned – these are the ones to stay away from!)

Yes, Leprechauns can be mischievous pranksters, but they are not known for being extremely evil, cruel or deadly. These are traits assigned to four particularly nasty cousins:

  • Clurichaun (CLOOR-ih-kon), or Cluricaune
  • Far Darrig (red man)
  • Gan Ceanach (Love-Talker)
  • Pooka (hobgoblin)

In their natural form, all of these cousins have similar physical characteristics to Leprechauns and the same magical abilities. All are between 2–3 feet tall, have beards, and have the appearance of a withered little old man. The coats and hats vary a little as do their breaches, stockings and buckled shoes. All are known to be cobblers (shoemakers) to the fairy world as their profession and trade. Etc., etc.

The Clurichaun

The Clurichaun (CLOOR-ih-kon) comes from the Irish word ‘clobhair-ceann’ and may also be known as a Cluricaune. There are some references to his also being called a ‘Nagganeen’ which means ‘a small measure of drink’ (or in the English ‘Noggin’), but this is very rare.

In addition to the basic profile (2–3 feet tall, old, withered, etc.), the Clurichaun is easily distinguished by his red coat and tall red cap (possibly blue). He wears a leather apron, has long pale–blue stockings, and high heel shoes with silver buckles.

At their core, Clurichauns are evil spirited, mean at a cruel level, and get great pleasure from the suffering and fear they create. They are lustful, nasty, capricious creatures whose magic might delight you one day and kill you the next if you displease them. Clurichauns are the troublesome ones, the one not to trust. Think about it, their favorite pastimes are counting their gold and playing tricks on humans. (and these are not nice tricks.)

Clurichauns are known to steal just about anything. During the hours of darkness, they love to cause chaos by creating mayhem in houses and raiding wine cellars. They absolutely love a ride in the country upon your sheep, goats, dogs and even domestic fowl. They will ride them throughout the country at night to the torment and detriment of the poor animal.

Whatever you do, don't touch a Clurichauns pot of gold or try to fool him out of his coins. He will stop at nothing to get it back. Nothing! They are extremely possessive of their gold and the tales of his victims are horrible. There's an old saying among old Irish folk, It's not nice to fool a Leprechaun. This is a specific reference to the Clurichaun. (Yes, Leprechauns and the other cousins all are very protective of their gold too, but not to the same degree.)

Clurichaun love to live in wine cellars and will scare off anyone who tries to drink the beer or wine without permission from the master of the house. They are best known for their delight in being drunk. Wine and beer are his favorites, but he will always find your hidden jug of whiskey. If you are a drinker and find yourself too far gone when a Clurichaun is around – be warned. They LOVE to pinch someone when they are drunk! (Yes, this is where we get the tradition of pinching someone for not wearing green on St. Patrick's Day.)

It's no surprise, but Clurichauns hate to work. They are not thought of well in Ireland, are very cunning, and attach themselves to people and families.

For those of you who rely on Wikipedia, we find their information on the Clurichaun to be flawed when compared to Irish Folklore and blended with more Leprechaun traits – completely missing the seriousness of the Clurichaun's evil tendencies.

The Far Darrig

The Far Darrig (or Fear Dearg) meaning ‘red man’ is another very evil cousin of the Leprechaun. You can easily distinguish the Far Darrig by his ugly yellow skin, longer red cap and coat and cap which are more of a crimson color making him easier to identify at a distance. (And that's still too close!)

Far Darrigs attach themselves to a house or location more so than people or families…and love to scare the wits out of everyone or cause great suffering. (Very similar to the English Hob–Goblin or German Kobold.)

They are very mischievous, cruel practical jokers and play gruesome pranks that can be deadly. This is especially true when they are bored. For example, they are known to kidnap someone and lock them in a dark room. Then, while hiding inside with them, the Far Darrig will make horrible screaming, monstrous sounds and evil laughs terrifying their captive. After a time, the Far Darrig will release his victim and let them go.

Another example of this is Far Darrig's being known to replace babies with ‘changelings’ which are offspring of a fairy that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who was taken, died in the crib or became very ill and died within a short time. (It was easier to blame a Far Darrig than to accept the ill fate of a child as those things just happen some times.)

Far Darrigs are very clean and tidy – keeping things extremely orderly. So don't make a mess when he is around. (Looking for a great way to motivate your kids to pick up their rooms…tell them about the Far Darrig living under the house!)

The Gan Ceanach

Gan Ceanach (or Love–Talker) is one of the more evil relatives of the Leprechaun and you are warned to avoid him at all costs. While he can talk a man into poverty tricking him into buying trinkets for his love, the Gan Ceanach is most well–known for filling the ears of idle girls with pleasant fancies while they ignore following the mortal ideals of being busy with chores and work. Don't trust anything this one says. His only goal is your detriment.

The Pooka

The Pooka (or English hobgoblin), is another evil cousin to the Leprechaun and is more feared in Ireland than any other fairy. He comes out after nightfall, creating mischief and harm where ever he can find it. He can assume a variety of terrifying forms, most often as a sleek, dark horse with a long wild mane and horrifying yellow eyes. The Pooka roams through the countryside after dark in this form, tearing down gates and fences, trampling crops, scattering livestock, and generally doing all kinds of damage around remote farms.

The Pooka also loves to lead travelers astray. He will take the form of an ass or mule and beguiles the traveler to sit upon his back. The poor traveler is then tormented and suffers through a variety of misfortunes including the bucking–bronco routine.

The Leprechaun's Shillelagh

A shillelagh (shi-lay-lee) is a wooden walking stick and club (or cudgel), typically made from a stout knotty stick with a large knob at the top. Official Irish shillelaghs are only made of Blackthorn bush wood and beautifully crafted. As for the Leprechaun’s shillelagh, it's a weapon, walking stick and magic wand all rolled into one.

The Blackthorn bush is found throughout Ireland and the British Isles. It has been prized for centuries as a material for premium walking sticks. The original Blackthorn sticks were 2 to 4 feet long Irish shillelaghs (the national weapon of rural Ireland). In expert hands the shillelagh was so fearsome that during the final occupation of Ireland, the English outlawed it. To get around the law, the Irish modified the shillelagh to a shorter length of just 3 feet and calling it a ‘walking stick’ (which the English loved to use themselves). The English could not outlaw walking sticks without having great backlash from it's own countrymen. So, the English allowed the Irish keep their new shillelagh walking sticks currently known simply as ‘the Blackthorn’.

Conclusion

Although this Leprechaun research provided a wealth of information, logic requires we also ask if there were natural things occurring in Irish life that were explained away with Leprechaun stories. Not to be a Leprechaun skeptic, but rather to cover all the possibilities regarding Leprechauns and their cousins.

Therefore, we must ask ourselves is it possible that Leprechauns were simply a justification for bad things that happen in life? Were they used to explain dwarfism, birth defects, still–born babies, crib death, as well as being an excuse used by the naughty husband who stayed out all night drinking…or to cover up the truth regarding secrets or embarrassing events…like servants secretly drinking the masters wine?

Officially, we have stayed objective on this matter and focused on Leprechaun facts as recorded in Irish folklore, Irish mythology, the ancient scrolls of monks and priests, and other credible sources.

Overall, Leprechaun stories are filled with morality messages warning against the folly of trying to get rich quick, to avoid taking anything that is not rightfully yours, or interfere with ‘The Good Folk’ and other magical creatures. Belief in leprechauns and other fairies was at one time very widespread throughout Ireland. We feel believing in Leprechauns is up to the individual, however Leprechauns will continue to amuse and delight us for centuries more.

So remember to mark your whiskey bottle tonight before you go to bed!

We leave you with the words of our revered Darby O'Gill, The next time you see a whirl in the dust in front of you, tip your hat with respect to the Leprechaun who just passed by!

Remember:
Even if you don't believe in Leprechauns, the European Union considers them a protected species so, when you DO see one, try not to faint on top of him!

St. Patrick's Day and Leprechauns

There is a lot of information about St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day as a holiday. For obvious reasons, we are not providing much information here since it's more of a modern era holiday than a historical reference.

Today, St. Patrick's Day is simply a party without a point. Most revelers have no idea who St. Patrick was. And only a few may know that he is somehow credited with running all the snakes out of a country that never had any.

St. Patrick did give fame to the shamrock (3–leaf clover). He used the shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity. The word ‘shamrock’ comes from the Irish word “seamróg”, meaning “little clover”. It is now a national symbol of Ireland, and wearing and displaying shamrocks has become a widespread practice on St. Patrick's Day.

Odd Facts About Leprechauns

Leprechauns have a well–known dislike for teachers who deny their existence. While this is a deep rooted Irish belief, its origin can be traced to the English occupation and rule of Ireland. In 1871, a new English law made the speaking of Ireland's native language (Gallic) illegal, and only English was to be spoken at all times and taught in schools. Teachers were cruel and punished kids who spoke Gallic which resulted in a bitter hatred for teachers who enforced the law too strictly.

In 1860, Douglas Hyde was the first to publish Irish folklore which included the Leprechaun. He became a well–known author, had many books published, and openly urged people to continue speaking Gallic, keeping Irish traditions and heritage including Irish music and Irish dance alive. In 1938 he became the first president of Ireland and is highly revered by the Irish.

Lady Augusta Gregory (Lady Gregory, 3/15/1852 – 5/22/1932) grew up in a large family and their nurse, Mary Sheridan, told many stories about the Leprechauns and Irish folklore. Later in life, after her husband had died, Lady Gregory researched Irish folklore, studied Celtic stories recorded many years ago by monks and priests, and quickly became an expert in the matter of Irish folklore, including Leprechauns.

Wales has the most numerous and diverse collection of fairies.

The original oral history of the Leprechaun has forever been obscured by over two centuries of commercialization and at times artistic transmogrification far from the traditional roots of Leprechaun folklore. Gathering and filtering all the information in this material was a huge endeavor. Please forgive any errors or omissions, but contact us so that we may try to make corrections.

Chlorophobia is the fear of the color green. There is no official name for the fear of Leprechauns, it has somehow been associated with the same phobia name.

Odd Leprechaun notions that have not been validated include:

  • Leprechauns keep magical supplies hidden in mushrooms
  • Leprechauns are very partial to selfless wishes (made for someone else’s benefit)
  • If you save the life of a Leprechaun, they are indebted to you for life
  • Wearing green makes a person invisible to Leprechauns

Leprechauns are actually protected from destruction under European law. The Sliabh Foy Loop trail in the town of Carlingford, the same Irish town where P.J. O’Hare spotted his famous Leprechaun, serves as the official protected land for the country's 236 remaining living leprechauns, according to a law filed with the European Union. The trail even has signs dotting the picturesque mountain landscape asking hikers to tread lightly in the heavily leprechaun–ized area. And warning to those in search of gold– according to the sign, hunters and fortune seekers will be prosecuted.

One of Ireland's most famous poets, W.B. Yeats was strongly influenced by traditional Irish lore and wrote about the faery folk and Leprechauns. He traveled throughout Ireland in order to capture people's experiences. Yeats became so consumed with fairy–lore that he wrote several books and became a well–known subject matter expert on Leprechauns and fairies.

Best Leprechaun Movie

Unless you are just now starting to learn about Leprechauns, every self–respecting Leprechaun fan has seen the Walt Disney movie classic, Darby O'Gill and the Little People. In our opinion (and that of many others) this is the best portrayal in cinema history of what Leprechauns are really like.

The film is based on the many “Darby O'Gill” stories written by H.T. Kavanagh, and the American premiere was on June 26, 1959. It took place at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and marked the first time a Disney feature played there. The studio borrowed Scottish actor Sean Connery from Twentieth Century–Fox for his role as “Michael McBride”, and marked the first film Connery made in the United States.

As noted in a June 26, 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Darby O'Gill and the Little People had its world premiere in Dublin, Ireland on June 24, 1959. The day was dubbed ‘Walt Disney Day’ and was proclaimed a school holiday, and the screening raised funds for the country's St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Leprechaun Horror Movies

While more of a move series about the Clurichaun, Far Darrig, Gan Ceanach, and Pooka wrapped into one character, we would like to acknowledge the popularity of the Leprechaun horror movies starring Warwick Davis.


Print Sources:

  • Echtra Fergusa maic Leti, by Binchy, 8th Century text
  • Irish Folklore, Legend and Myth by W.B. Yeats
  • Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by W.B. Yeats
  • Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, 1825, by T.C. Croker
  • Legends and Stories of Ireland, 1831, by Samuel Lover
  • Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins by Carol Rose
  • The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures by John and Caitlin Matthews
  • The Leprechaun's Kingdom by Peter Haining
  • Irish Wonders, 1888, by D. R. McAnally
  • Leprechauns & Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne & Natalie Pope Boyce
  • Leprechauns in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne & Natalie Pope Boyce
  • Irish Curses, Mystic Charms & Superstitions by Lady Wilde
  • Dictionary of Celtic Mythology by James MacKillop
  • Lepracaun, 1870, by William Allingham
  • Ancient Legends... of Ireland, 1887, by Lady Wilde
  • Crock of Gold, 1912, by James Stephens
  • Finian's Rainbow, 1947, by James Stephens
  • Celtic Myth & Legend by Charles Squire
  • Traditions, Superstitions & Folklore by Charles Hardwick
  • The Leprechaun – a modern impression 1950, by Bill Terry, Other Worlds
  • The Magical Legend Of The Leprechaun by Unknown
  • Celtic Twilight by W.B. Yeats
  • The Stolen Child W.B. Yeats
  • Where Do Leprechauns Live by Helen Polaski
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  • FAERIES by Brian Froud and Alan Lee
  • The Lepracaun; Or, Fairy Shoemaker by William Allingham
  • The Legend of The Leprechaun: Pots of Gold, Magic and Rainbows by Gabriel Wilson
  • Legend of the Isles - Fairies and Leprechauns 1 of 3 by ALPHA & OMEGA
  • Leprechauns are REAL! Learn How to Attract Them and How They Help Us! by Chris Valentine
  • Dispelling Irish Stereotypes: Why Do the Irish Eat So Many Potatoes? by E. Misiaszek
  • Facts about leprechauns and where the legends really came from by Irish Central
  • A History of Irish Fairies by Carolyn White
  • The Carlingford Leprechaun by peter piper
  • Darby O'Gill by H. T. Kavanagh
  • Ten Things Everyone Wants to Know about Leprechauns by Martin Nelson Burton
  • 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Leprechauns by Danny Gallagher
  • 10 Things You Didn't Know About Faeries by Amanda Ferris
  • 5 Interesting Facts About Leprechauns by Michael Esordi
  • 5 Fun Facts About St. Patrick's Da by Tanya Lewis
  • Leprechauns: Facts About the Irish Trickster Fairy by Benjamin Radford
  • THE DONNYBROOK LEPRECHAUN by Jeanne Hannon Petras
  • Origins of the Leprechaun by Adrienne
  • It's Not Nice To Fool A Leprechaun by D. Brindle Barks
  • Darby O’Gill and the Little People, 1959, by Walt Disney
  • See the Cast of ‘Willow’ Then and Now by Kristy Puchko

Image Credits:

  • Clurichahn (cousin of Leprechauns)
    Photo credit: Leprechaun Digital Art © byKajenna
  • Double rainbow and castle near the Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland By Jimmy Harris - Flickr , CC BY 2.0 , Link
  • The Ardagh Chalice By Kglavin, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
  • Real Leprechaun Shoes By Unknown
  • A Shillelagh Fighting Stick used by permission from the Olde Shillelagh Store
  • Leprechaun House By Unknown
  • Antique Leprechaun Cobbler Tools – Image used with permission from Etsy
  • Scene from Darby O'Gill and the Little People © 1959 by Walt Disney Productions
  • Celtic Find of Golden Coins By Mößbauer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Silver Rainbow Cups By Numisantica (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl] via Wikimedia Commons
  • Leprechaun counting his gold – photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art via Wikimedia Commons
  • Leprechaun Bones from AncientOrigins.net
  • European Union Sign via TotallyDublin.ie
  • Catching a Leprechaun from Sore Feet Artwork by Richard Svensson, illutration for poem A Leprechaun's Tale by Steve Doyle
  • Far Darrig sculpture, used with permission, by E. Nuss
  • A Shillelagh Fighting Stick Image used by permission from the Olde Shillelagh Store


Online Sources