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The Secret Life of Leprechauns

Updated on March 16, 2015

Essential Reading for Leprechaun Hunters

There is much nonsense spoken of leprechauns, some mistaken, some misguided and some deliberately misleading.

Many are the tales of intoxication, wild revelry and, I'm sorry to say, malicious damage to livestock. But this is all tittle tattle, when did you last see a drunken leprechaun chasing chickens?

In truth, leprechauns are hard-working cobblers, turning out exquisite shoes for all manner of sprites. If you happen across an industrious little fellow at the bottom of a garden hammering out a shoe, look closely - for he may be a leprechaun. Step quietly, for leprechauns will avoid humans, knowing us to be foolish and greedy.

How to recognise a Leprechaun

Four easy ways

Look at his Clothing

A leprechaun usually dresses in old-fashioned clothes of green, with a red cap, multi-pocketed leather apron, and buckled shoes.

However on special occasions such as St Patrick's Day or when he attends the Galway Races, a leprechaun will doff his leather apron, brush his beard, shine his buckles and sport a green top hat. Like all the Irish, a leprechaun understands the importance of dressing appropriately.

Smell his Smoke

A leprechaun is quite fond of a smoke from his foul smelling clay pipe. It's always close by so breathe in deeply to see if you can smell it.

Smell his Drink

A leprechaun is frequently in a merry state from home-brewed poteen. The smell of the homebrew is quite strong and, depending upon your familiarity with the aroma of this delicacy, you will detect undertones of a pungent, piquant, peaty nature.

While he may frequently partake of poteen, a leprechaun never becomes so drunk that the hand which holds the hammer becomes unsteady and his shoemaker's work affected.

Listen for the sound of Tap-tapping

If you hear the sound of a hammer, tap-tap-tapping from behind a hedgerow you know you have found him.

Leprechaun Country

Leprechaun Country
Leprechaun Country

Leprechauns Guard the Ancient Treasures

At the end of the rainbow

A leprechaun is an excelllent cobbler to be sure, but he has another trade and this one is of great interest to us.

Leprechauns are Bankers, and the Guardians to the Ancient Treasures.

Much treasure was left by the Danes when they marauded through Ireland, and the leprechaun buries it in crocks or pots. Rainbows reveal where pots of gold are hidden, so he will sometimes spend all day moving crocks from one spot to another to elude the tell-tale end of the rainbow.

If you happen to catch a leprechaun, don't let him out of your grasp before he reveals the whereabouts of his gold!. He'll try to distract you with all manner of tricks and, in the blink of an eye, will dash out of sight.

For such a sturdy little chap, he can move with the speed of a rabbit.

Telltale Signs of the Leprechaun

Signs of the Leprechaun
Signs of the Leprechaun

Don't Accept Coins!

Insist on the Crock of Gold

A leprechaun always carries two leather pouches. If you despair of getting to his crock of gold then I advise you to accept a coin. But be on your guard for his tricks!

In one pouch there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it's spent.

In the other there is a gold coin for bribing his way out of difficult situations. (Don't accept this coin - it turns into a rock).

Be quick! Once you decide to take a coin you have only the time it takes to say Begorrah! before both pouches, and the coins, will disappear. And so will the leprechaun.

But a leprechaun can be generous if you do him a good turn. Your kind deed will be repaid with a wish.

Leprechauns are not Cluricauns

Try to avoid this common error

We are speaking here of two distinct species - leprechaun and cluricaun.

A cluricaun dresses very stylishly with a jaunty cap, large silver buckles on his shoes, beautiful gold laces and pale blue stockings. You will never see him wear an apron or carry a hammer. He has a jolly grin, a slightly pink-tipped nose and is almost always drunk and cheerful.

Pass by the cluricaun, for he never has any money, or any idea where treasure is buried.

Cluricauns are downright pests! A cluricaun will steal or borrow almost anything, making merry and creating mayhem in your house during the hours of darkness.

He will happily busy himself raiding your kitchen, pantry, larder and cellar and after dinner he will harness your pigs, sheep, goats, and even your domestic fowls to ride away.Through the countryside he will race them, over the fields, through the woodlands and slap bang into the bog.

Leprechauns denounce cluricaun behavior! Disregard the theory that cluricauns are just leprechauns on drunken sprees.

Getting your Hands on a Crock of Gold

Two simple ways


Now we come to the really important secret - how to get your own crock of gold.

You may have read, or been told by your Granny, that the only way to get yourself a crock of gold is to work hard and save but this isn't necessarily true. I'm about to reveal the secret.

  • First : After a shower of rain, follow the trail to the end of the rainbow
  • Second : Catch your own leprechaun

How to Catch a Leprechaun - Build a Leprechaun Trap

It's pretty simple to make a leprechaun trap . You need only these common household items - a net, a cardboard box, green paint, green tissue paper and an old shoe.

Leprechaun Traps - Pick up a hint here

Steps to catch the Leprechaun

  1. Paint the cardboard box green and place the old shoe inside
  2. Cover the opening with thin green tissue paper
  3. Place the trap near some trees or hedgerows. Make sure it's disguised well and blends into the surroundings
  4. Conceal yourself nearby with the net
  5. When the Leprechaun sees the shoe, he will want to examine it (with his cobbler's keen eye)
  6. He will step onto the tissue paper, it will break and he will fall into the box
  7. Now quickly throw the net over him!

Poteen to lure the Leprechaun
Poteen to lure the Leprechaun

But I don't have an old shoe!

What will I do?

You haven't got an old shoe? Don't despair, you can also lure a leprechaun with some poteen instead of an old shoe.

Go ahead and make the cardboard box inviting but, instead of the old shoe, carefully place a small jug of poteen inside. (The leprechaun can smell his favourite drink from up to 5 miles away).

When he falls into the box he will drink the brew, get drunk and then you can grab him!

No one has yet caught a leprechaun, but don't be discouraged. Start looking today.

May the road rise up to meet you and An t-adh leat!

Have you learned the Secrets of the Leprechauns?

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© 2010 Susanna Duffy

Leave a little luck for the leprechaun

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    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      I was trying to get over to this one yesterday but ran out of time which worked out well because now I get to visit on St. Patrick's day. Perfect timing.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      As a child I felt sure there was one who went to the local pub on Sunday lunchtimes, but he didn't have a red cap, so I must have been mistaken.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      What a fun read on this St. Patrick's Day. Enjoyed the quiz and aced it. Happy St. Pat's to you. Love your profile picture.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 3 years ago

      The end of the rainbow is very elusive though!

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 4 years ago from Ireland

      I have loved leprechauns since I was 5 yrs old when I was told about the tales of Ireland. Now, I do see them occasionally, but have not managed to catch one yet! Blessings as we approach Paddy's day!

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