Leprechauns: Where did they come from?


Alaina C.

Senior Frank M. drew this little leprechaun

We associate leprechauns with St. Patrick’s day. These little folks are known to protect pots of gold and riches. Their little lifestyle isn’t glamorous, as their main job is a shoemaker. They like to play tricks on people and if you catch one the leprechaun will try any means to distract it’s captor, but its favorite technique is to play on humanity’s greed. But where did this mythical creature come from?

Leprechauns are little figures in Irish folklore who guard hidden treasure. Regardless of their small size, these little creatures are quite tricksters. Even when they get caught whoever catches them has to keep an eye on them or they will not give away the location of the treasure. 

According to worldhistory.org, the word leprechaun comes from the ancient Irish-Celtic god and cultural hero Lugh. Lugh was originally the god of sun and light, then he became the great warrior ruler of ancient Ireland. Lugh’s stature has diminished over the years as Christianization of Europe gathered pace. People forgot their traditions and embraced new religions. Their Lugh became a sort of fairy craftsman, and from there Lugh became ‘leprechaun’, the fairy-goblin in medieval folklore.

Today people just view leprechauns as merely a joke. The story of these little lads will continue to be passed down for years to come. But one day, when you see those little green footprints marking a path, you’ll know a leprechaun is nearby.