Name: Leprechaun Leprecaun Leipreachán Luchorpán Luprachán Lochramán Loimreachán Loragádán Lubrican Luchragán Luchramán Luprecan Lúracán Lurgadán Lurikeen
They are noted for their fondness for alcohol which is usually made from heather or gorse or other unusual herbs or cereals, the making of which is a lost art, to ordinary mortals. They also have a great capacity to consume large amounts of ale and other intoxicating beverages.
The following is the account given by Lady Morgan of the Cluricaune or
Leprechaun, in her novel of O'Dommell (Vol.11. p. 246.)
His appearance, however, is supposed to be that of a shrivelled little old man, whose presence marks a spot where hidden treasures lie concealed, which were buried there in 'the troubles.'
He is therefore generally seen in lone and dismal places, out of
the common haunts of man and though the night wanderer may endeavour to mark the place where
he beheld the guardian of the treasures perched, yet when he returns in the morning with proper
The Gaelic word Préachán which forms part of the word Leprechaun means a Crow or a Rook; a noisy, chattering bird that caused distress to farmers. Préachán when used to describe a person signified an idle chatterer up to no good. The earliest reference to leprechauns is in the tale 'The Death of Fergus Mac Leite' composed about 1100 ad. which refers to diminutive sea-beings, and this tale it was supposed gave Swift his inspiration for his novel 'Gulliver's Travels'.
In the Irish tales of the Leprechaun he is unanimously perceived as sly and malicious and definitely not to be trusted by a mortal. The 'Hollywood' notion of the good-tempered innocuous 'wee-man' as portrayed in films such as 'Darby O' Gill and the Little People' is NOT how the Leprechaun is perceived traditionally.
Further Reading: MacKillop, James - Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, Oxford 1998.
O'Hanlon, rev. John (Lageniensis), Irish Folklore: Traditions and Superstitions of the country. first published 1870, republished E.P publishing Ltd., 1973.
Stories, Myths and Legends associated with Leprechauns
Echtra Fergusa maic Léti / The Adventure of Fergus son of Léte