At one time in Ireland, the belief in mythical creatures such as leprechauns was widespread. But according to an online survey, some Irish people still believe leprechauns exist today.
Along with fairies and banshees, there is a certain type of little green men that people of the Emerald Isle have long been fascinated with. Do Irish people believe leprechauns exist? Well, according to a survey conducted by Irish whiskey brand Cooley Distillery, apparently a sizable 33% of Irish people believe leprechauns exist.
The online survey was conducted ahead of the second annual National Leprechaun Hunt, which takes place every year in County Louth in aid of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and other local charities.
Interesting findings by Cooley Distillery
While the survey by Cooley Distillery revealed the stunning statistic that one-third of Irish people believe leprechauns exist, it also showed that while two-thirds of those surveyed said that they don’t actually believe in leprechauns, 55% of respondents went on to say that they did, however, believe that leprechauns may have existed in Ireland at one time in the distant past.
The research from the survey concluded that if leprechauns did at one stage exist in Ireland, then they most likely have left the Emerald Isle due to the country’s current economic climate and complete scarcity of real physical gold available to collect.
The survey was conducted in 2011, so opinions may have changed…but chances are they haven’t!
What exactly is a leprechaun?
In Irish folklore, a leprechaun is referred to as being a type of fairy of the Aos Sí, which is an Irish term for a supernatural race of beings in Irish and Scottish mythology. According to Irish folklore, leprechauns are often depicted as being little bearded men who wear clothing such as a coat and a hat and usually are dressed all in green and have ginger hair and beards.
Leprechauns are also known for their cunning and notoriously mischievous and tricky nature. It’s said that leprechauns tend to be solitary creatures who like to spend much of their time making and repairing shoes.
According to some sources, if a leprechaun is caught, they may offer to grant you a wish. It’s also said that if you are successful at reaching the end of a rainbow, you will be sure to find the leprechaun’s hidden pot of gold.
Leprechauns are also famous for being musically gifted as they can play a variety of instruments such as the fiddle, the harp, and the tin whistle.
The legacy of the Irish leprechaun
Whether the leprechaun is a thing of fact or fiction, the impact they have had on Ireland and its culture is certainly real. From Irish folklore to folk songs and popular culture such as movies and books, leprechauns have made many appearances as characters.
Regardless of how many Irish people believe leprechauns exist, the little green men are a symbol that has become as synonymous with Ireland as the harp or a pint of Guinness. Leprechauns are even now protected under EU law thanks to the efforts of the people of Carlingford, County Louth.