The leprechaun is a solitary faery elf associated with St
Patrick's Day. The word 'leprechaun' is a combination of the
luprachán, which means 'half-bodied'
referring to their partial occupation of the physical world, and the word leath bhrogan meaning
'shoe' or 'shoemaker.'
The leprechaun resembles his
cousin, the clurichaun.
Some claim they are the same thing with two different names.
It's also been said by some that there are no female
Leprechauns are a class of Irish
"faerie folk" associated in Irish mythology and folklore with
the Tuatha Dé Danann and other purported races who were said
to have inhabited Ireland before the arrival of the Celts.
Like other mythological races in the Irish tradition,
leprechauns are considered to be partly real, physical
creatures and partly spirits.
As a St. Patrick's Day symbol,
the leprechaun is a smiling, happy little elf, however, legend
tells us that the leprechaun is always grumpy, untrustworthy
and very tricky. Leprechauns are described as
aloof and unfriendly. They live alone and pass the time by making
shoes. He is tracked down by hunters who listen for the sound of his
Leprechauns are very wily, and they can vanish in the twinkling
of an eye. This is why it is impossible to trick a Leprechaun out of
either his pot of gold or magic shilling. Leprechauns have two great
loves: drinking whiskey and smoking tobacco.. They are either
cheerful and happy or very sullen. A Leprechaun's mood depends on
how much whiskey he has drunk. They are shoemakers for the Faeries
and can usually be found working on a shoe.
Leprechauns have been known to use foul language, they also smoke
awful smelling pipes and drink a lot of stout, even straight from
the jug at times. Other Irish fairies tolerate Leprechauns because
they need their cobbler services.
In ancient myths, the leprechaun guards a hidden pot of
gold which humans try to find but without success. As one
story goes, an Irishman caught a leprechaun, managed to make
him reveal which tree his pot of gold was buried under. The
Irishman tied a red handkerchief around the trunk of it so he
would remember the location when he went away to find a
shovel. When he returned, he found that the leprechaun had
tied a red handkerchief exactly like his own around every
other tree in the forest!
A leprechaun looks like a little old man. He's about two
feet tall and dresses like a cobbler; traditionally wearing a cocked
green hat and leather work apron. He has pointed ears, large
bushy sideburns or a full curly beard, sparkling green eyes, and
fair skin with rosy cheeks and nose. His clothes are mostly green.
Leprechauns range in height from about six inches to two feet tall.
A Leprechaun wears a three-cornered hat, stockings of pale blue, a
bright green vest and coat with shiny buttons. They are also known
as Cluricaune, Lurican, Lurikeen, and Lurigadaun, depending on part
of Ireland you are in. The preferred habitat for Leprechauns is amid
castle ruins and under tree roots.
All leprechauns wear black, shiny leather shoes with silver buckles,
as they are excellent cobblers, a reputation and trade in which they
take great pride. It is said they make shoes for many sprites in the
Through the legends surrounding the leprechaun, the image of a
mischievous, shrewd and quick-witted little elf emerges. It is said
that when the Danes plundered Ireland, they left their gold with
leprechauns to guard. Hence, if you catch a leprechaun he may lead
you to his stash of gold hidden beneath a rainbow. But first he will
try to bribe you. The leprechaun carries two leather pouches: one
holds a silver coin, and the other a gold one. The silver coin
magically returns to his pouch every time it is spent. However, he
will offer you the gold coin, which will turn to ash or disappear
completely once he is safely away. A captured leprechaun might even
offer his captor the granting of three wishes, but excellent
trickery will make the wishes as useful as the gold coin.
Leprechauns believe men of our world to be excessively greedy and
careless, and will avoid being caught. If cornered however, holding
a leprechaun’s gaze will keep him from disappearing. But beware: he
will use every trick to get you to look away, and when you look
back, he will be gone.
Aside from cobbling, leprechauns are tied to the idea of luck,
rainbows, shamrocks, and four-leaf clovers. Their miserly wealth,
good fortune, and antics make leprechauns an enduring Irish legend
known the world over.
Variants: cluricaune, llurachmain,
lurgadhan, lurikeen, lurigadaun.
Near a misty stream in Ireland in the hollow of a tree
Live mystical, magical leprechauns who are clever as can be
With their pointed ears, and turned up toes and little coats of
The leprechauns busily make their shoes and try hard not to be seen.
Only those who really believe have seen these little elves
And if we are all believers
We can surely see for ourselves.
Irish Blessing, The Leprechaun