The Leprechaun: An Irish Legend

Not Just a Cereal Box Character

We have all seen him though, Lucky the Leprechaun, on every box of Lucky Charms. From as far back as I can really remember, he was what I pictured in association with the word leprechaun. He has changed a bit over the years, but he is still easily recognizable to most of us. For most people, that is about the extent of their knowledge of what a Leprechaun is. For others, it extends a little further to the horrible Leprechaun horror movies. I think they made like three or four of them. None of them were that good. The first one starred Jennifer Aniston, with her old nose, in case anyone really cares. They were really silly back then, and Jennifer Aniston wasn't that great of an actress back then.

There is so much more to the legend of the Leprechaun than all that, and in truth, so much of what people assume, isn't even accurate to the actual legend of the leprechaun. I hope this entertains you, and sheds a little light on the truth about Leprechauns.

The evil Leprechaun from the movie
The evil Leprechaun from the movie

The Leprechaun

Irish mythology is full of good and evil spirits and characters. But, there is an in-between area of beings that are neither all good, nor all bad; sort of like us humans. They are balanced between the two, sometimes being kind and generous, and sometimes being petty and mean.

One such being is the Leprechaun. The Leprechaun is a well-known mischief-making figure. Traditionally, he is small in size, standing no more than around three feet high. His manner of dress changes a bit, but more often than not, he is dressed in a little, red jacket with red breeches, buckled at the knees, grey or black stockings and a hat perched above a little, old, wrinkled face. And we all thought Leprechauns wore green...In some pictures, he does.

Somewhere along the way, and over the course of history, the figure of the Leprechaun was considered to be wearing green garb instead, which is more often associated with Ireland and St. Patrick's Day. Why this happened is unclear.

In different areas of Ireland, the Leprechaun goes by a different name, and adopts a different manner of dress. I guess that can be confusing.

In the northern counties, he is Logheryman. The Logheryman wears the uniform of some British infantry regiments; a red coat and white breeches, but instead of a cap, he wears a broad-brimmed, high pointed hat.

In Tipperary, he is Lurigadawne. The Lurigadawne wears an antique slashed, red jacket, with peaks all around and a jockey cap. He is also known to sport a sword, which he uses as a magic wand.

In Kerry, he is the Luricawne. The Luricawne is a fat, pursy, little man whose round face rivals the red of his cut-a-way jacket. The jacket has seven rows of seven buttons in each row. The reason for the buttons is unclear, as the jacket is never buttoned, but falls away from his snow white shirt. He often wears a helmet that is several sizes too bit, but sometimes ditches the helmet in favor of a handkerchief that he ties over his ears.

And, in Monaghan, he is called the Cluricawne. The Cluricawne of Monaghan dresses in a swallow-tailed evening coat of red with a green vest (there's a little green,anyway), white breeches, black stockings and highly polished, shiny shoes. His hat is a long, pointed cone without a brim, and it is usually set off on one side of his curly head.

Leprechauns are credited with a great deal of mischief caused around an Irish household, ranging from causing pots to boil over or failing to boil, to tossing furniture about a room. They are known pranksters who will drink all the milk in the house, or empty food all over the floor.

To offset this, Leprechauns are very domestic, and often attach themselves to Irish families; usually families of older stock. A Leprechaun will eat food that has been set aside for him, by the family. But, he may be angered if he is offered food that was not originally intended for him. In other words, don't offer him your left-over table scraps. This anger may bring about more evil behavior from the Leprechaun, and may even cause him to abandon the family he has tied himself to. Just like anyone, he wants to feel appreciated, and not taken for granted.

One of the most peculiar things about the Leprechaun is his fear and hatred of schools and schoolmasters. Maybe it has to do with the disbelief in the existence of the Leprechaun by most intelligent teachers. With the spread of national schools in Ireland, the Leprechaun is a far less often seen creature.

The Leprechaun is an old bachelor, who successfully resists all efforts of fairy mothers who attempt to marry him to their young and beautiful fairy daughters. This may explain why Leprechauns are always seen alone, and why there are never sightings of female Leprechauns.

So, basically, he is just like every other man...he is happy as long as he is fed, gets mad when he isn't, drinks from the milk carton, and doesn't want to get married. (I am just joking on this part...sort of.)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Leprechaun is known to ride farm animals when they need to make a long journeyThe Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascotLeprechaun squirrel??A really old Lucky Charms box (notice the Star Wars toy)
A Leprechaun is known to ride farm animals when they need to make a long journey
A Leprechaun is known to ride farm animals when they need to make a long journey
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot
Leprechaun squirrel??
Leprechaun squirrel??
A really old Lucky Charms box (notice the Star Wars toy)
A really old Lucky Charms box (notice the Star Wars toy)

A Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama?

What About the Gold?

Leprechauns are fabled to be the keepers of the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And, if you capture said creature, he has to give you his gold. This is actually an accurate part of the legend of the Leprechaun. It is said that if you are able to capture a Leprechaun, you could hold the mischief-maker captive until your demands for wealth are met.

Leprechauns are crafty, though. They are very hard to spot, and are skillful in evading curious eyes. If you do manage to spot one, they are even harder to catch and hold on to. They are very shrewd in escaping from their captors, but sometimes they do fail to escape and are forced to give up their hidden stores.

Leprechauns are not only tricky, but clever and silver-tongued, as well. They must be outwitted, as well as restrained, if there is any hope of obtaining the fortunes that are told of. You must be on guard for the wiles and guile of a crafty Leprechaun. They will find any manner of ways to trick you. They may even promise to give up their treasure, just as long as you let them go, so that they might go get it for you. Do not fall for this!! Sneaky little buggers!

So, keep your eyes peeled, and if you happen to see a rainbow, maybe, just maybe, there is a pot of gold at the rainbow's end...then again, maybe not.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Leprechaun and his pot of goldThe pot of gold at the end of the rainbowI'm not sure that this is what they meant by pot of gold, but I thought it was funny!
A Leprechaun and his pot of gold
A Leprechaun and his pot of gold
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
I'm not sure that this is what they meant by pot of gold, but I thought it was funny!
I'm not sure that this is what they meant by pot of gold, but I thought it was funny!

Crank Dat Leprechaun

© 2009 Anna Marie Bowman

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Comments 49 comments

Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 2 years ago from Florida Author

Kory--It's a legend, and much like other legends, it's more a story than anything.


Kory 2 years ago

I really dont think leprechauns r real


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 3 years ago from Florida Author

aviannovice--Thank you so much.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

I always have a weakness for an enchanting story. Well done.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 3 years ago from Florida Author

lisa--I will do some research and add something like that. Thank you for the idea!


lisa 3 years ago

you should tell an actual legend or something that a leprechaun did or something and not just what they are!


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Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida Author

bibi16-- I don't know if I would say that, but everyone is different. It was funny and a little scary.


bibi16 profile image

bibi16 4 years ago from Phoenix Arizona

Leprechaun was the freakiest, funniest and scariest movie ever. LOL


Jenger 4 years ago

This is awesome stuff


b babe the 1 4 years ago

leprachauns are cool


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida Author

jay Jay-- He is pretty entertaining.

Amaru-- I agree with you on that one.


Amaru 4 years ago

The horror films of leprechaun show you how mean they can be if you piss them off.


Jay jay 42 4 years ago

I like the evil leperchaune from the movies


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida Author

Joe--Sounds like fun!


Joe@Slotmine 5 years ago

I just played a game called Rainbow Riches which had a funny little green leprechaun in it. Now I know why is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow:)


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Anna Marie Bowman 6 years ago from Florida Author

hypnodude-- Thank you very much!!!


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Very, very good hub, rated up, awesome and stumbled. :)


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 6 years ago from Florida Author

Seakay-- Thank you! They are kinda cute!


Seakay profile image

Seakay 6 years ago from Florida

Great presentation. I am from Irish descent and had always thought the leprechaun was a cute little person.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 6 years ago from Florida Author

ndasika-- Good luck catching the ever elusive leprechaun! Let me know if you catch one!

fiona_33-- Thank you!!!

o'herlihy-- Sounds like a fun class!!

Leprechaun-- I have always wanted to visit Dublin!

adorababy-- I know. It's that way with everything, though, original legend gets twisted and distorted over time.


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

There is just a huge difference on how the leperchauns in the cereal box/cartoons is pictured out as compared to the non-cartoon movies. I just think that they look horrible in the latter.


Leprechaun  6 years ago

Im from Dublin! GO leprechauns!


o'herlihy 6 years ago

Just got done telling a Leprechaun story in my Oral Tradition class...really do love the stories!


fiona_33 profile image

fiona_33 6 years ago from UK

Terrific hub. I've always loved that little green fella. Even the somewhat scary movie didn't put me off.


ndasika 6 years ago

I think the best thing is to torture the little guy until he tells where the treasure is. I have made a trap for a leprechaun this St Patrick's day and If I manage to catch one, then I will tell you people about the treasure. Tortue is my strategy of getting this info. Thanks for this great hub.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

William-- I have wondered the same thing. My grandmother has been to Ireland twice. I keep begging her to take me next time she goes. Maybe I will see one, or even catch one!!!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I've always loved those little Leprechauns. They are definitely tricky, mischievous and crafty, but not evil. I've never been to Ireland, but my family comes from Dungarvan in Waterford County so I'll have to ask if they've seen any over there. Slán go foill.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Pam-- I think some of your alter ego is coming out in this comment!! That song was just so funny, I couldn't help but put it in!!!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

I love this Anna! But you know that because, well you just know. ;) Only I can't get that song out of my head..Crank Dat Leprechaun. Ever since I first read this hub days ago, that song has been going through my head...only the lyrics have changed some:

Spank dat Leprechaun, say whooo, spank dat Leprechaun, say whooo, spank dat Leprechaun...dat Leprechaun ain't got no azz. :D

Big ole thumbs up from me too. :)


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you, Chuck!! It's awesome that you told you kids stories, especially about Leprechauns!!! I loved stories like that when I was a kid!!


Chuck profile image

Chuck 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Great Hub. I used to make up stories about leprechauns for my two sons when they were younger and they loved them. Your Hub brought back some great memories.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

I couldn't help myself. I had to go look!!


C.A. Hubberpants profile image

C.A. Hubberpants 7 years ago from HubPages Lounge

ROFLMAO! That picture of Danny V. is hysterical! You are one FAST investigator! I'll keep you in mind for future investigations. ;)

Thanks for the major laughs Anna! :D


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

C.A.-- I have found photographic proof that you are right about Danny DeVito!!! I added it to the Hub, and gave you credit for the theory!


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

C.A.-- I had to put that video in!! I watched it, and I couldn't stop laughing!!! It's perfect!! Food?? Ummm...I am not sure. I guess Irish food. Lots of potatoes!! he he... You might be right about Danny DeVito. I will investigate!


C.A. Hubberpants profile image

C.A. Hubberpants 7 years ago from HubPages Lounge

OMG! Crank Dat Leprechaun is my all time favorite song! :D

But seriously, everybody should see that video because it's so funny! And I really did like the song.

Amazing leprechaun information Anna. I never knew any of this, but i sure am glad I know now...in case one of em comes around. What kind of food do they like? I sure don't want to make one of em mad by serving the wrong stuff.

Hey, I think Danny DeVito might be one of those leprechauns.

Great job!


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

TOF-- Thank you for your comments. I don't really know of a cure, either. I never did find one in my research. My guess, feed him, and he will be happy!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

To be sure Anna, a leprechaun isn't evil, but he IS full of mischief, and as you say, to be trusted less than a stumping politician. I was brought up to believe that you couldn't see one other than out of the corner of your eye, (unless you had captured him presumably.) They sour your' milk and do other nasty things around the house if they get a snitch. I forget the cure, perhaps that's why my milk goes sour?


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Shalini-- I have, too. The Leprechaun was one of those stories I heard a lot as a child.

Cris-- Yes, they are not as evil as they are made out to be in the movie.

Princessa-- Thank you!! I'm glad you were entertained!!

Jerilee-- LOL!!! I am sure my boyfriend would do the same thing!!

Dolores-- Some movies have depicted female Leprechauns, but no, there aren't supposed to be any.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

no female leprechauns? no wonder we don't see them anymore. - i loved the vintage card


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Great read! It's one that I'm not letting my retired husband read, or he'll be blaming the Leprechaun on purposely emptying food on the floor (for the dog) whenever he thinks I'm not looking.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

A great entertaining read, thanks; now I can blame a Leprechaun for my pots boiling over!

I think it was a big shame that the Leprechaun was depicted so badly in the horror films :( Why in earth did they make so many? As if the first one hadn't been bad enough!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

good to know that are many kinds for i hate the evil one in the movie! :D


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

I've always been fascinated by leprechauns - as a child, they had a Peter-Pan kind of a green look in my mind's eye! I agree with you - very like men!!! :D


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you, SweetiePie!! I thought the squirrel was cute!! I had to put it in.

Triplet Mom-- So would I!!! Oh what I could do with a pot of gold!!!


Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

Nice Hub Anna Marie - I love all the different leprechauns. I would love to meet one just to get my hands on a pot of gold!!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Fun look at leprechauns. I like the leprechaun squirrel the best.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks, GT!! I don't think they are that scary, aside from the one from that movie. I would love to get my hands on some Leprechaun gold, though!!!


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Great hub. I hope I never run into one though. They scare me.

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