With St Patrick’s Day fast approaching, many of us will be preparing to get into the Irish spirit to celebrate the big day.
A report from the BBC noted that in 2019, over 400 landmarks in 50 different countries turned green in honour of the Celtic celebration, proving that the rich history of Irish culture is appreciated worldwide.
But one of the most recognisable symbols of Irish culture and folklore is the leprechaun – the mischievous mythical creature that has been a part of Ireland’s heritage since the 13th century. Here are some facts you should know about Ireland’s cheeky mascot.
They are shoemakers
Every mythical creature needs a vocation, and it just so happens that the leprechaun is a cobbler or shoemaker. It is said that you can hear them approaching by the tapping noise they make with their shoe-mending tools.
Leprechauns aren’t always green
While we are used to seeing leprechauns in their emerald green attire, the older leprechauns featured in folklore and fairy tales were often seen in red.
Leprechauns can be great gifts
Wondering what do you buy for St Patricks Day? It’s a great occasion to spread Irish cheer and buy gifts for those you love. The leprechaun market is huge, with a vast range of memorabilia such as mugs, keyrings, teddies and costumes. They make perfect St Patricks Day gifts because they are thought to bring good luck.
Leprechauns have cousins
In folklore, it is said that there is a troublesome relative of the leprechaun called the clurichaun. While leprechauns are known to be mischievous, the clurichaun take the tomfoolery to a whole new level! They are thought to be nocturnal creatures who steal cattle and get drunk.
But they don’t have wives
You’ll notice that you never see a female leprechaun. Because this means there can’t be procreation in the traditional sense, folklore suggests that leprechauns are simply unwanted fairies who have been cast aside, hence their grumpy and mistrusting nature.
Leprechauns are protected by EU law
In the caverns of Carlington Mountain, leprechauns are reportedly protected under EU law along with the flora, fauna and wildlife of the area. This is a heritage site designed to keep the residents of the area safe and the sanctuary of the mountain protected.