Myths of Leprechauns

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We all know Leprechauns as the short, mischievous, green coated, mythical creatures that stores gold coins at the end of a rainbow with the myth that if you catch a Leprechaun, he will give you three wishes to let himself free; however, according to Irish mythology, Leprechauns were not the Leprechauns we know of today. These Leprechauns were roguish tricksters that would kill you if they were displeased. Leprechauns have been popular for many centuries in Ireland and have had an effect on them, good and bad, as well.

There are many myths of Leprechauns that originate back in Ireland. One of the many myths are believed to originate back to the eighth century with the tales of water spirits. One of the water spirits were known as luchorpáns, also meaning small body. These luchorpans merged with household fairies and became the foundation of Leprechauns that we know of today. They are known for their heavy drinking and raiding the cellars. Other researchers say that Leprechauns comes from the Irish term ‘leth brogan,’meaning shoemaker. For fairies, being a shoemaker is a lucrative vocation, which is how Leprechauns have a pot of gold.

Another myth of how Leprechauns came to be originates back to Celtic mythology. It is believed that an ancient race of god gifted tribes with supernatural powers, known as Tuatha Dé Danann, were kicked out of the heavens for gaining too much knowledge and decided to take over and rule Ireland over four thousand years ago. They ruled until about 1700 BC when the Milesians raided and took over Ireland. When the Milesians took over, they agreed to let the tribe stay, but they would have to rule underground. Since then, they have been shielded by the mortal eye and have become known as the Sidhe, or Ireland’s fairy-folk.

Brian Ruadh Meguidir, an Irish writer, also wrote about the history of Ireland called Leabhar Gabhála, also known as Book of Invasions, in the 17th century. The earliest story says that the Tuatha Dé Danann tribe came to land with flying ships that were surrounded by dark clouds. When they landed on Sliabh Larainn, also known as Iron Mountain, they brought a darkness surrounding the land for three days. A modified version later came out in the 20th century saying the flying ships were sailing ships and the dark clouds were lots of smoke.

Before St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, they believed that Kings and Queens were descended from Gods and that these Gods took the form of different fairies. Once Ireland was turned into Christianity, Irish mythology became less important and history became myths. This caused Leprechauns to become less scary and more kid friendly.

One of effects Leprechauns had on Ireland is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is a day for celebrating Irish culture, and for St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland. This tradition began back in the 5th century of March 17th, and has continued to be on the same day of every year. To honor St. Patrick, the people of Ireland would wear green ribbons and shamrocks. This became a tradition in the 17th century and people began wearing green clothing and Leprechaun outfits. If you weren’t wearing green, you were vulnerable to being pinched to be reminded that a Leprechaun could sneak up behind you at any time. According to Pruitt, they even have a day for dressing up like Leprechauns.

Leprechauns have had many effects on Ireland’s daily life as well. They have a national Leprechaun Museum located in Dublin Ireland. This museum has two different tours: one tour is in the day time for ages seven and up, and the other tour is at night, and you have to be eighteen years old or older to go. The tour in the daytime talks about the history and Irish mythology of Ireland, while the night time tour talks about the dark stories of Ireland that aren’t for the faint of heart.

CARROLLS IRISH GIFTS is an Irish company that was established in 1982, also known as one of the leading retailers; they sell Irish clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and other gift products. CARROLLS IRISH GIFTS has 117 Leprechaun products, including chocolates, key chains, plushies, signs, fuzzy socks, clothes, and more.

There are many songs about Leprechauns in Ireland. One of those songs were written by Brobdingnagian Bards, a Celtic Renaissance music duo. They take different, traditional songs from Ireland and Scotland and give them comedic twists. Their unique instruments and playing styles have made them one of the most popular Celtic groups online. The Brobdingnagian Bards wrote a song called, “The Leprechaun”, a song about how annoying Leprechauns can be and how deceiving they are. The Leprechaun also talks about the traditions of Ireland and how mischievous Leprechauns can be.

There are many books on Leprechauns in Ireland. Most of them are fiction, but one book called, “Leprechauns and Irish Folklore: A Nonfiction Companion to Leprechaun in Late Winter”, is about the historical events that have affected Ireland’s folklore and about its old legends and Celts of Ireland. Published in 2010, author publisher Mary Pope Osborne says that the book is “Filled with up-to-date information, photos, illustrations, and fun tidbit.” (M. Osborne)

Leprechauns have become so popular in Ireland, they have a disease named after them. One disease called Leprechaunism is an extremely rare disease that causes abnormal resistance to insulin. Only one in a million babies are born with it and life expectancy rarely exceeds a couple of months. Some symptoms of Leprechaunism are growth delays, abnormal facial features, skin abnormalities, reduced muscle mass, and hearing abnormalities. These symptoms also describe the features of Leprechauns, which is another reason why this disease is named after them.

Cite this paper

Myths of Leprechauns. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/myths-of-leprechauns/

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