Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya! I hope you have donned your green garb, for St. Patrick’s Day is here! If you’ve skipped the emerald hues, then be prepared to get pinched by Ireland’s legendary mischief maker- the leprechaun! Ireland has a rich culture and colorful history where fact and fantasy regularly intertwine. From potatoes to shamrocks, corned beef to rolling green hills, there are many things that come to mind when we think of Ireland. But by far my favorite is the leprechaun!
In North America, the leprechaun has become something like a mascot of Ireland and is a prevalent feature during St. Patrick’s Day (despite having his own holiday on May 13th). So, in honor of the holiday, I thought it would be fun to share some trivia about these clever cobblers. A mischief-maker by nature, the leprechaun likes to frolic through the crowds on March 17th pinching those who aren’t in green. Aside from his love of tomfoolery and shenanigans, the leprechaun is a cobbler by trade. It is said that if you listen close, you can hear the sound of their hammers and tools fast at work deep in the Irish hillside. And, despite commercial depictions, leprechauns come in all colors and
sizes, depending on where they hail from. Their height can vary anywhere from 3” to 3’, and while modern-day leprechauns wear green, traditionally they wore red. Even now, they vary based on the region with green being “trooping fairies,” and red being donned by those found along the western coast. Their outfit styles vary too, from stockings to hats, overcoats to shoes.
Common Irish lore also says that if by happenstance, you catch one of these little fairies, they owe you their pot of gold. But be warned, as part of the Aos Sí – a supernatural race in Celtic mythology – they are clever folk and will do whatever they can to trick you. If you so much as blink before you have your hands on the treasures, you may as well cut your losses!
Outside their lighthearted jests, leprechauns are quite capricious in nature. Solitary creatures by habit, there are many a legend about their temper and the misfortune that befalls those who cross them. So, be careful if you do decide to go out searching for these wily individuals. Myth, legend, or simply elusive, it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of whether they are fact or fantasy, the leprechaun has played a huge role in the culture and history that makes Ireland what it is today.
So, remember, wear your green today to protect yourself from their sight! On behalf of Tina and I, we wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And as the Irish like to say, “May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.”