Irish Leprechaun Folk Belief

Main Piece:

“If you follow a rainbow there is supposed to be a Leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end. I first heard that from my Father or grandmother, who was from Ireland. Leprechaun’s were thought to tricksters and when my children were younger, they would make traps with sticky surfaces in attempt to catch them, so they could lead them to their pot of gold.


My informant is a 53-year-old Chicago native. Her grandmother, on her father’s side, was born in Ireland before immigrating to America. She does not remember exactly when she first heard this tale but it was from one of her Irish parental figures. She recalls how around St. Patrick’s day she would use this knowledge and help her children try to trap them. She said she never really used the knowledge else-wise.


The informant is my mother. I acquired this information during a Facetime call with her, on which I asked if she had any folk knowledge or beliefs.

My Thoughts:

Leprechauns are widely known mythological, folk figures. Especially around St. Patrick’s Day in at least America, many younger children will try to capture them and some people will even dress up as them. Their role as tricksters is relatable to many other cultures that have different figures that represent the trickster stereotype. I think the association of Leprechauns with money, meaning their gold, might show an Irish opinion of money as being hard to keep hold of and as often being lost to swindlers. I also think its likely that the traditional depiction of Leprechauns was very possibly tweaked by American capitalist to better advertise St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday.