St Patrick’s day Leprechaun drinking Guinness shirt

Two of the best books to read on the subject are _The Burning of Bridget Cleary_ by Angela Bourke and _The Good People_ by Peter Narvaez. My favorite contemporary fiction author who sometimes writes about the subject is Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, who’s outstanding. By the way, I discuss Na Tuatha Dé Danann at length in my own book, _Folk Women and Indirection in Morrison, Ní Dhuibhne, Hurston and Lavin_ (London: Ashgate Press, now an imprint of Routledge Press). As an Irish-American, I might also suggest that one _not_ trot out questions about leprechauns upon first meeting someone from Ireland. It gets old pretty fast, I can assure you. (My poor Grandma dealt with a lot of weird questions in America…) If someone later on does voluntarily _offer_ to tell you a story which has been passed down in their family, you will know then that you are receiving a gift.

St Patrick’s day Leprechaun drinking Guinness shirt

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Such stories may, in fact, describe the dangers that an ancestor faced when encountering these beings, and what the ancestor did or did not do correctly to avoid such perils. most Leprechaun legends can be traced back to the 8th-century tales of water spirits which were known as ‘luchorpán’ which means ‘small body’. It is said that these spirits merged with a household fairy and developed a penchant for heavy drinking so no cellar was safe! According to other researchers, the term Leprechaun actually comes from the Irish term ‘leath brogan’ which means shoemaker. It is interesting to note that Leprechauns are often associated with wealth, particularly gold coins, but they are actually cobblers which you would hardly presume is a lucrative vocation! Nonetheless, the myth of the pot of gold persists and there are still people who go looking for this hidden treasure!

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