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Leprechauns: Astonishingly Lucky Facts About Them In Irish Folklore

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They say Leprechauns and the Luck of the Irish go hand in hand.

The Leprechaun plays several roles in Irish folklore; one must not forget that while these may seem like joyful creatures they had a very dark side.

Leprechauns Astonishing Facts About Them In Irish Folklore

On the one side, their magic could delight you but on the other side, they could wake up and decide to kill you. 

Of course, as many of us know from stories passed down, that you might find Leprechauns at the end of a rainbow where they would be waiting with a pot of gold to give to you. 

Just where did Leprechauns originate from? 

Leprechauns at the base of a rainbow with a black pot of Gold

The earliest known reference to the leprechaun appears in the medieval tale known as the Echtra Fergus mac Léti (Adventure of Fergus son of Léti). 

The text contains an episode in which Fergus mac Léti, King of Ulster, falls asleep on the beach and wakes to find himself being dragged into the sea by three lúchorpáin.

A cheerful small Lebrechaun

He captures his abductors, who grant him three wishes in exchange for his release ~ source Wikipedia

One the one hand their meaning comes from the Irish term ‘leath brogan’ which means shoemaker but other tales tell of a small man that merged with fairies and became very fond of drinking.

Of course, legends and stories often overlap and there is even a tale of that Leprechauns were once Santa’s little elve helpers before they ended up in Ireland. 

That said, many people believe in Leprechauns and they also say that every story has some truth to it. So who knows! 

If people tell you that they are a symbol of the Luck of the Irish this is in fact untrue, you can read my post on the Luck of the Irish here.

How do you trap a Leprechaun? 


Now for the good stuff! We all want to find our own little Leprechaun and get our three wishes right? 

According to legend, the only way to successfully catch Leprechauns is to believe 100% that they are real. 

Of course, if you were to successfully catch a Leprechaun there are many of the folklore stories, of Irish-folk has been tricked, into making three terrible wishes. 

Some stories tell that if you put gold or silver our the night before St Patrick’s day that you could possibly lure a Leprechaun into your home and catch him. 

Now you might be rolling your eyes at this point but there have been several books written and many illustrations on how to build your Leprechaun trap.

Leprechaun traps are typically made by families with children to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

Books on how to trap Leprechauns:

How to Build a Leprechaun Trap

Catching Leprechauns: A St. Patrick’s Day Tradition

How To Catch A Leprechaun

Some astonishing facts you might not know about Leprechauns:

  • If you do find a Leprechaun make sure not to wish for more wishes as if you make a fourth wish all of your previous wishes are void. 
  • There are NO female Leprechauns – No I am not trying to be sexist here haha. There is zero indication throughout history of there ever being a female leprechaun.
  • The most recent  ‘sighting’ was in 1989 by a pub landlord called P.J O’Hare in Carlingford, County Louth. O’Hare claims that he heard screams from a well and found the remains and clothing of a Leprechaun which is on display in his pub!
    A well where Leprechauns were spotted in the past.

    This was the exact well!

    The town now has an annual Leprechaun hunt the object of the game is to find plastic versions of the fabled creature. Who knew?!

  • There is a tiny little Leprechaun colony park in Portland, Oregon. The little recreational area known as Mill Ends Park is a minuscule 452 inches square, and it’s located on SW Naito Parkway’s median strip. Unfortunately, there’s enough room in the park for just one visitor at a time. More info here.
  • Leprechauns are protected under EU law! – Yes, I did not know this either haha. There are 236 leprechauns that live in the caverns of Carlington Mountain. The EU has granted heritage status to the remaining wee people; they now have their own protected sanctuary nestled in the mountain. A very interesting Leprechaun fact indeed! 
  • Leprechauns used to be red!  Early accounts of leprechauns describe them as wearing red and a variety of hats—often three-cornered.
    Folklore creature a Leprechaun that used to be red before it chaunged to green

Even Lego has embraced Leprechauns with this St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun & Pot of Gold Toy

So what are you waiting for go find some Leprechauns

It is amazing when you looking into any Irish folklore or Celtic symbols just how much history they all have. 

I hope this article has given you a little insight into these little green men. Some say they don’t exist and some would nearly bet their life on it that they do. 

One thing is for sure just like with St Patrick’s day it is another extension of the great emerald isle and a bit of imagination never hurt anyone. 

Leprechauns: Astonishing Facts About Them In Irish Folklore


What tales of Leprechauns do you know? Comment below. 

Thanks for reading, 

Be sure to get your weekly dose of Irish straight to your inbox right here.

Stephen Palmer

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