The perfect St. Patricks' Day story for my series "Stranger than Fiction".
This story I came up with from a mixture of my childhood memories of Ireland and particularly Donegal and my knowledge of Celtic fairy tales and myths. However, as this is part of the "Stranger than Fiction" series, there is more to the story which includes factual information about Leprechauns!
Firstly let's establish what a Leprechaun is!
According to Wikipedia; "A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán/luchorpán) is a diminutive supernatural being in Irish folklore, classed by some as a type of solitary fairy. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief. In later times, they have been depicted as shoe-makers who have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
Their costume styles can vary by region, however. In McAnally's account, there were differences between leprechauns or Logherymans from different regions:
The Northern Leprechaun or Logheryman wore a "military red coat and white breeches, with a broad-brimmed, high, pointed hat, on which he would sometimes stand upside down".
The Lurigadawne of Tipperary wore an "antique slashed jacket of red, with peaks all round and a jockey cap, also sporting a sword, which he uses as a magic wand".
The Luricawne of Kerry was a "fat, pursy little fellow whose jolly round face rivals in redness the cut-a-way jacket he wears, that always has seven rows of seven buttons in each row".
The Cluricawne of Monaghan wore "a swallow-tailed evening coat of red with green vest, white breeches, black stockings," shiny shoes, and a "long cone hat without a brim," sometimes used as a weapon.
It wasn't until after the 1600's that they appeared in green costumes, probably influenced by the Irish symbol of the Shamrock and known for its "Emerald Green" landscape.
"The Carlingford Leprechauns Are an Endangered Species"
Slieve Foy Mountain on the Cooley Peninsula, Co Louth is now an official designated Area for the Protection of Little People by the European Union. It is a 'Designated Area of Protection for Flora, Fauna, Wild Animals and Little People' under the EU Habitats Directive.