What is a Leprechaun and how can I catch one?

A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán) is a type of fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief. Like other fairy creatures, leprechauns have been linked to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythology.[1] The leprechauns spend all their time busily making shoes, and store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release. Popular depiction shows the leprechaun as being no taller than a small child,[2] with a beard and hat, although they may originally have been perceived as the tallest of the mound-dwellers (the Tuatha Dé Danann).

(This article is about the creature in Irish mythology. For other uses, see Leprechaun (disambiguation).)

To catch a leprechaun, follow the rainbow to the end and take his pit of gold. When searching for him, a keen ear and sharp eyes are important, but luck and cunning are essential. If you are lucky enough to come upon one of these wily, quick-witted imps, you must take great care not to let yourself be outmaneuvered by him. Walk up close to him quietly and grasp him with both your hands. Stare straight at him and ask him directly where his pot of gold is hidden. Bound by Fairy law, he will be compelled to tell you the truth about the whereabouts of his buried treasure crock, but beware! You must be insistent in your inquiry, as he will try to trick, mislead, and distract you. Skilled in the art of blarney, the Leprechaun will also try to sweet-talk you into letting him go. Also, if you take your eyes off a Leprechaun for even a blink-moment while he is leading you to his gold hideaway, he will vanish.

Good luck!


National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin Ireland

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