Leprechauns are synonymous with Irish culture. Granted many depictions are stereotypical and somewhat derogatory towards the Irish, but that’s not to say the people of Ireland don’t embrace the folklore.
Let’s look at that folklore. Leprechauns are legendary creatures associated with pixies, sprites and fairies. They are mainly described as little old men, wearing a coat and hat, who spend their time mending shoes, and have a penchant for mischief. They are magical beings, are said to have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and, if captured, can grant three wishes. The colour of their coat varies. More often than not it is green, but early references refer to the colour red.
I always wondered why there are no female leprechauns, at least not according to Irish folklore. One particular belief is that leprechauns are unable to reproduce, that they are the defective offspring of fairies. Now I know these are mythical creatures, but that screams of discrimination to me.
By now, you know that I like to play around with the myths and I would have great fun with the leprechauns on my fantasy squad. I might utilise the craftsmanship element, so they would be deft at fixing things (or situations). I’d keep the magic of course, and as a nod to Ireland, I’d probably keep the accent – who wouldn’t? I’d maybe play around with their size, and find an interesting way to incorporate the gold. You can chip in if you have some ideas!
But anyway, I’m supposed to be referring this to media. Let’s look at a few films:
- Leprechaun is a series of American horror films. There are seven in total, and the leprechauns are represented as murderous creatures.
- Darby O’Gill and the Little People, is a Walt Disney film starring Sean Connery. It is the story of an Irishman doing battle with leprechauns, and based on the books by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh.
- Finian’s Rainbow starring Fred Astaire is a musical film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In this film the leprechaun chooses humanity (or in this case the girl) and gives up his leprechaun status.
- Getting Lucky, a fantasy comedy film, includes an alcoholic leprechaun whose wishes don’t turn out as planned!
- The Luck of the Irish, a film made in 1948, follows a man (Stephen Fitzgerald) who is torn between his life in New York and his roots in Ireland.
- A Disney Channel Original movie of the same name (The Luck of the Irish) is about a boy who discovers his family are made up of leprechauns.
- The Magical legend of the Leprechauns is a Hallmark production TV fantasy movie starring Randy Quaid and Whoopi Goldberg. There are two main stores in the film – a business man who encounters leprechauns, and a pair of star-crossed lovers (a fairy and a leprechaun) being on the opposite sides of a magical war.
Leprechauns appear in television, art and literature too. There are so many references that I decided against doing a list, and instead want to open it up to you. What’s your favourite leprechaun story?
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.