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The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes

Meeting with a Leprechaun - Norman A. Rubin
• Norman A Rubin


(Leprechauns are referred to as the ´´One-shoemakers´´ since they are generally seen working at a single shoe.´Withered, old, and solitary… most sluttish, slouching, jeering, mischievous phantoms, they are the
great practical jokers  among the good people´)
Yeats, The Solitary Fairies, 1888).

I was leisurely walking along the route to the Cloonfad area in Ireland west of Roscommon, with its landscape that is rugged and tranquil. Walking is not a new activity around here. Historical documents attest to a pre-Christian pathway that ran along the crest of Slieve Dart, a route that later became associated with St Patrick after he passed this way en route to Croagh Patrick in nearby County Mayo. It proved popular with giants, and mythology relates how the area became a favourite hunting ground for the Irish giant Finn MacCool. Well, if it was good enough for giants and saints it was good enough for my scenic walk.

Along the way there I had the opportunity to explore the wild mountainous flanks of Slieve Dar. The reminders of the past are everywhere in the region - a wide range of monuments and artifacts bear witness to several millennia of human habitation. It’s a quietly fascinating area where I could look at the charm of the Irish countryside, past and present.

I took a breather and sat on the green on a little hillock where I took my canteen and sipped a bit of water. Where I sat and saw a four leaf clover and bent to pick it when a heard something 'hammering, hammering, hammering just for all the world like a shoemaker making a shoe, and whistling all the time the prettiest tune I ever heard the  whole life before.' ” I looked around to find to where the hammering was coming from; then I saw under a large toadstool a little fellow being no taller than a wee babe about 2'6" (75cm) tall busily making a shoe. It was a leprechaun. He was dressed in old style clothes colored in green and a long cone red hat, Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose, Silver buckles to his hose, Leather apron— shoe in his lap... 

Then the leprechaun saw I was looking at and he downed his hammer and turned to me. He made a deep bow and introduced himself, “My name is Patrick and I have links to the Tuatha Dé Danann.”  He was a worldly character and quite the conversationalist and he talked incessantly, about his origins:
 Leprechauns have been linked to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish mythology who is thought to derive from the pre-Christian deities of Ireland. Leprechauns came from a mythical land under the sea and when they arrived in Ireland decided to make their home here. Popular depiction shows leperchauns as being no taller than a small child. The leprechaun is said to be a solitary creature, whose principal occupation making and mending shoes for elves and fairies (but always one shoe, never a pair), because fairies only wear out one shoe at a time, and because there is no difference from left to right in a shoe of a fairy, a leprechaun usually only makes one shoe, gathers a gold farthing for his work, then becomes invisible so he can hide the gold. They 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.

Also, according to legend, the leprechaun has a pot of gold hidden somewhere, and he must give up his treasure to the one who catches him. You'll have to step lively and think quickly to capture a leprechaun's gold though, because this sly little fellow will fool you into looking away an instant while he escapes into the forest. Yet the rainbow always points to the location of the leprechauns treasure, so he must constantly be moving the trove

When you hear in the quiet of the wee hours of the night sweet music and tapping to dance steps because Leprechauns are also very keen musicians and they play tin whistles, the fiddle and even the Irish harp and various other Irish traditional instruments. They are known to have wild music sessions at night which in Ireland are known as Ceili’s with hundreds of Irish leprechauns gathering to dance, sing and drink.

The leprechaun is fond of drinking Poteen, moonshine, but must not be mistaken by their Irish cousins the cluricauns who are drunken creatures who love to cause chaos around Ireland at night time, a headache for us humans. (At this remark Paddy took the jug next to him, pulled the cork out, lifted to his mouth at the opening, and took a healthy swig. Then he offered the jug to me but I declined,)

The legend of the leprechaun is one of Ireland’s most charming tales. There are many symbols of Ireland, and the little imp who cobbles shoes and hides his riches in a pot of gold is just one example of the Irish story-telling tradition.
It was coming on to the evening hours and the leprechaun excused himself saying he is the fiddler in the coming merriment, then he tipped his hat to me, and vanished from my sight.
© Norman A Rubin April 2013

1) The name leprechaun may have derived from the Irish leath bhrogan (shoemaker), although its origins may lie in luacharma'n (Irish for pygmy). The leprechaun 'family' appears split into two distinct groups - leprechaun and cluricaun. Cluricauns may steal or borrow almost anything, creating mayhem in houses during the hours of darkness, raiding wine cellars and larders.
2)  Irish people have told stories about the Leprechaun for more than a thousand years.  There are many tales about him and the people he meets. The National Leprechaun Museum, the first ever attraction dedicated to Irish mythology, opens up a fun and magical world full of fascinating folklore, mythology and enchanting stories. Based in the heart of Dublin, the museum is a national cultural entertainment centre that will take you deep into Irish and Celtic culture to discover what really lies behind the well-known tales of Irish cultural icons - leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold!
National Leprechaun Museum - Jervis Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.
Telephone: +353 1 873 3899  Email:

  1. You'll know if a leprechaun moves in with you because your household objects will begin to work better and squeaky hinges will no longer squeak. When one of the Good People arrives on your doorstep, don't forget to offer him a saucer of milk and a bit of cheese and biscuit before you retire for the night. You'll know he appreciated it when you wake to a brand new pair of shoes on your front porch. Leprechauns know that humans require a pair of shoes.
  2. Ireland is a land of mythical beauty full of legends to explore. It is called the land of Shamrock, the three-leaf clover carpeting most parts of Ireland forests. Mythological events, which occurred centuries before the birth of Christ, contribute to the mystical name of this land. Not different from Thai people, most of Irish believe in supernatural beings. It seems to be that many myths, legends or folktales, which relate to those immortal beings, came to Ireland with the Celts about 400 B.C. The Celts are tall, fair-haired people came from the region between the Rhine and Danube rivers on the mainland of Europe. They brought Celtic culture which has many beliefs about gods, goddesses, fairies, elves, and many heroes in Celtic mythology, to Ireland.

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