For many of us, one of the first things we think of when we think "Ireland" (aside from stone fences and sheep and Guinness) is leprechauns. Such a part of Irish history and folklore they are that there is an entire museum dedicated to these mischievous little fellows in Dublin.
While I admit that the entire place is a bit of a tourist trap-it's not so much a museum but a storytelling experience–I still learned a great deal about "the little green men" including the fact that they don't wear green!
So here are a few Leprechaun Myths debunked, and what I learned along the way.
Leprechaun Myth #1: They Wear Green
Contrary to popular belief, leprechauns do not always wear green. In an agreement between the humans and the more fairy folk of Ireland, the humans were granted Ireland from the ground up, and the likes of the leprechauns, faeries etc. were granted Ireland from the ground down. Due to this, it is extremely hard to keep green clothes clean when living underground. Therefore, the leprechauns wear brown.
The Irish blame the myth that the leprechaun wears green on one man: Walt Disney. Disney visited Ireland in the 1950's and was so enchanted with the Emerald Isle that he made the film "Darby O'Gill and the Little People."
In the film, many of the leprechauns wear the traditional brown, however, one (the king) wears green. Since this character predominated the film, "the idea stuck in people's heads that the leprechauns wear green," said my tour guide.
Thus, Disney generated the fashion choices for leprechauns ever since. But don't be fooled, you try to live underground and keep a green suit clean!
Leprechaun Myth #2: There are no Female Leprechauns
Think about it. Do you remember any stories featuring female leprechauns? Not really?
Well, it's not because there aren't any (as I'd been told–my knowledge of the practicalities of reproduction notwithstanding) it's because, like typical Irish mothers, they are kept so busy in the home they have no time for any outings or shenanigans.
Leprechaun Myth #3: Leprechauns are Only a Bit Smaller Than Humans
In actuality, leprechauns are quite small, even the most ordinary chair takes a great effort to climb. During a visit to the Leprechaun Museum, you'll be shrunk to leprechaun size and get to see for yourself just how small the leprechauns really are.
This part of the tour was a bit silly. However, it offers a great photo opportunity, how often do you get to pose on a giant chair?
If you're into folklore, I would recommend the tour. Like I said before, it's more a storytelling tour than an actual museum, but you get to hear some great stories. My favorite is how Giant's Causeway was made (it's not from volcanic lava and water!).
Thanks for reading! Don't forget you can find more photos of my adventures on Instagram at www.instagram.com/calleyabroad/ and on Twitter @calleysofalley.
Until Next Time!