The history of leprechauns is filled with mystery, ancient tales and surreal incidents, but reports are conflicting. It's hard to know which part is fact and which part is fiction. The only thing that is a sure bet is that the history of the Little People is surrounded by magic.
According to local Irish folklore, the history of leprechauns has its beginning in magic. The general belief is that leprechauns are descendants of the Tuatha De Danaan, who were the people of the Goddess Danu. The Tuatha De Danaan were a group of magical beings led by Lugh the Long-Armed Warrior, who used a rainbow as a sling weapon.
The Tuatha De Danaan arrived in Ireland aboard flying ships hundreds of years before the Celts invaded the island. After winning horrendous battles with the Fir Blog, the people who had inhabited Ireland before their arrival, the Tuatha De Danaan lived on Irish soil until the Celts invaded the island some 2,500 years ago. The Celts had entered into the age of iron, and with them came the one weapon able to pass through the Tuatha De Danaan's magic force field: the iron sword. It is said that the Celts came in waves comprised of small groups that raided seaside towns and scavenged and pillaged their way up through the hills, eventually overtaking the island and making it their own.
To escape the Celts' powerful iron swords, the Tuatha De Danaan created many magical entrances into Ireland's damp underground, then disappeared into the soil. One of the most recognized magical entrances is at Brugh na Boinne in Newgrange.
To this day the Tuatha De Danaan still remain in the underground realm. Using their magical doors, they can return to Ireland's soil whenever they choose, although they usually come out at night. Folklore has it that the Fenian Cycle, a legendary Irish poem that depicts Ireland's past, has a verse in which a harp-playing dwarf named Cnu Deireoil claimed that Lugh the Long-Armed Warrior was his father. This information has led some to believe that leprechauns, who also are small in stature and who hide their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, are descendants of Cnu Deireoil.
Leprechauns make their way in the magical world as cobblers for the fairy folk. Due to their ancestry, leprechauns are also very skilled musicians. Dancing leprechauns play traditional Irish instruments, such as the Irish harp and the tin whistle. They also have magical powers and are able to disappear back into their underground world in the blink of an eye through one of their magical doors. It is widely reported that leprechauns also hide their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.
There is much confusion within Irish mythology. Whether these historical tales are fact or fiction is anyone's guess. Thousands of years have passed since the Tuatha De Danaan were said to have appeared; since then many hands have dipped into the inkwell to write and rewrite Ireland's history.
Based on facts and stories that have been passed down, some people believe that leprechauns are magical creatures that do exist. Others believe leprechauns are simply creatures of imagination. Magical creatures can be anything an individual wants them be: fact to some and fiction to others.
Leprechauns don't have a reputation for mischief, but some of their fairy relatives do. If you suspect fairy trouble in your home, consider these three likely suspects.
Leprechaun myths are as old as the misty hills of Ireland. They also are some of the most repeated and enjoyed myths the world over.