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Old 06-08-17, 17:42   #1
 
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Checkmark Facts About Fairies and Leprechauns

Facts About Leprechauns and Where the Legends Really Came From

Irish Central, August 2017.





Belief in leprechauns and other magical creatures were once widespread in Ireland, according to LiveScience.com.



1. According to the book "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures," by John and Caitlin Matthews, the leprechaun legend can be traced back to eighth-century tales of water spirits called "luchorpán," meaning small body. The legend eventually evolved into a mischievous household fairy said to haunt cellars and drink heavily.

2. Leprechauns are shoemakers. Some researchers claim that the word leprechaun came from the Irish 'leath bhrogan,' meaning shoemaker, said to be the sprites' main vocation.

3. If you happen to come across a leprechaun, be sure to hold on to him. According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to capture a leprechaun can barter his freedom for three wishes. But dealing with a leprechaun can be a tricky proposition.

4. A leprechaun is a trickster figure who cannot be trusted. Folklorist Carol Rose offers a typical tale of leprechaun trickery in her encyclopedia "Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins," it concerns "a man who managed to get a leprechaun to show him the bush in the field where his treasure was located. Having no spade [shovel], the man marked the tree with one of his red garters, then kindly released the sprite and went for a spade. Returning almost instantly he found that every one of the numerous trees in the field sported a red garter!"

5. Like most fairies, leprechauns have a distinctive sound associated with them. While the Irish banshee can be identified by a mournful wail, leprechauns are recognized by the tap-tap-tapping of a tiny cobbler hammer, driving nails into shoes, that announces they are near.

6. Leprechauns are always male. In the 1825 book "Fairy Legends" noted that "Leprechauns seem to be entirely male and solitary. They are often described as bearded old men dressed in green and wearing buckled shoes. Sometimes they wear a pointed cap or hat and may smoke a pipe.

7. Leprechauns weren't always dressed in green. Early tales of the creatures reported red clothing.

8. In his collection of Irish fairy and folk tales, W.B. Yeats offered an 18th-century poem by William Allingham titled "The Lepracaun; Or, Fairy Shoemaker." It describes the tapping sound of the sprite:


"Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
As he merrily plies his trade?"


9. One of the most recognizable leprechauns in popular culture is Lucky the Leprechaun, the mascot of the General Mills breakfast cereal Lucky Charms. On the other end of the pop culture spectrum, you have the homicidal Lubdan from the "Leprechaun" horror/comedy film series.

10. Leprechauns are a morality tale figure. The legend warns against greed and the folly of trying to get rich quick.
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Old 26-08-17, 08:02   #2
 
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Big Grin Re: Facts About Fairies and Leprechauns

Truth About Fairies and Leprechauns

Irish Central, 26 August 2017.






Do not mess with Irish fairies, seriously! Tales, superstitions, and warnings surrounding the Irish ancient tales of the little people.iStock


There are many tales of fairies and leprechauns but do you really know what's what? Our travel expert Susan Byron sheds some light on what the Irish really believe.





Still from "Darby O’Gill and the Little People."


The truth? There is no such thing as leprechauns in Ireland.

Apologies to any would-be believers in magical crocks of gold. The whole leprechaun thing was more of a Disney invention that came along with the likes of bad ‘Oirish’ accents in films such as "Darby O’Gill and the Little People."

But fairies ... they do exist. Oh yes, and here in Ireland, we do not mess with the fairies, ever!


They are known to live in very special places called fairy rings, which are raised earthen circular mounds that you will see all over Ireland.





A fairy ring / fort.


You are welcome to visit them, walk around them, make a wish by all means. But it is thought to be very bad luck to interfere with these mounds. Driving motorways through them - bad, very bad. Certain trees are revered, too, especially hawthorns, which country people will never chop down or remove for fear of disturbing the fairies who often live underneath and who are likely to wreak havoc if disturbed i.e., sour milk, cause crops to fail, animals to sicken and die.




A fairy tree.


So don’t say ye haven’t been warned!

No one knows more about fairies in Ireland than Eddie Lenihan, a gifted storyteller or Seanchaí who lives in Clare, and who has collected his stories from all over Ireland.

If you ever get a chance to listen to one of his sessions, don't miss it. You will be in for a treat. Or indeed if you are hauled up on a high stool in a pub somewhere, someday, it won't be long before a good storytelling session will start.
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