Leprechauns are thought to be talented shoe makers. Some believe it’s because of a fondness for dancing that leprechauns must continue to make new shoes in order to replace old, worn out ones. I’d guess that leprechauns aren’t like, “Oh sweet, I get to make new shoes,” though. They’re probably more like, “Man, I just made these things and they’re worn out already.” Maybe they’re not that good at making shoes after all.
They like to play pranks. Who doesn’t? David McAnally’s 1888 book Irish Wonders says that “the leprechaun is the son of an ‘evil spirit’ and a ‘degenerate fairy’ and is ‘not wholly good nor wholly evil’,” according to Wikipedia. The fact that they just play harmless pranks is pretty good considering half their DNA comes from an evil spirit.
Leprechauns are not drunks, though they enjoy the occasional adult beverage every once in awhile. Who doesn’t? There’s another creature called the clurichaun which is believed to be similar to a leprechaun with a drinking problem. According to YourIrish.com, “The leprechaun is fond of drinking Poteen, moonshine, but must not be mistaken by their Irish cousins the clurichauns who are drunken creatures who love to cause chaos around Ireland at night time, a headache for us humans.”
So Are They Real?
In his book The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries: The Classic Study of Leprechauns, Pixies, and Other Fairy Spirits, author W.Y. Evans-Wentz posits the following:
“Are these beings of the spirit world real beings, having a veritable existence of their own, in a world of their own, or are they only the creation of the imagination and his informants?
The newspaper, the ‘National’ School, and the Zeitgeist have answered to their own entire satisfaction that these things are imagination pure and simple. Yet this off-hand condemnation does not always carry with it a perfect conviction.
We do not doubt the existence of tree-martins or kingfishers, although nine hundred and ninety-nine people out of every thousand pass their entire lives without being vouchsafed a glimpse of them in their live state; and may it not be the same with the creatures of the spirit world, may not they also exist, though to only one in a thousand it be vouchsafed to behold them?
The spirit creatures cannot be stuffed and put into museums, like rare animals and birds, whose existence we might doubt of if we had not seen them there; yet they may exist just as such animals and birds do, though we cannot see them.”
There may never be a definitive yes or no answer to this question except to say that there are plenty of things the human mind can’t fully comprehend and plenty of animals we haven’t officially found yet. Until then, perhaps it’d be a good idea to check out the National Leprechaun Museum that just opened in Dublin.
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