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Leprechauns and the Legend of the Irish Luck in Games

The Leprechauns, the tricksters from Irish folklore.

Leprechauns and the Legend of the Irish Luck in Games
The Leprechaun, perhaps not quite as you imagined it.

Originating from Irish myths and legends, the leprechaun is a type of fairy. Contrary to Disney pixies and fairies they are not at all benevolent. They are in fact tricksters and shoemakers by trade.

Contrary to popular belief, the leprechauns were not always purveyors of good luck or good fortune. The Irish folklore depicts leprechauns as trickster figures, ready to cheat and deceive. Folklorist Carol Rose tells a tale about a man who convinced a leprechaun to show him the location of his buried, hidden treasure. The man marked the closest tree to the treasure with a red garter and went to fetch a shovel. Returning to spot the man noticed that all trees in the area were marked with red garters. - "Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins" by Carol Rose.

The legend of the leprechaun can be traced to the eighth century; they were called "luchorpán", which meant a small body or tiny creature. John and Caitlin Matthews wrote a book called "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures" in which states that the word leprechaun originates from the Irish 'leath bhrogan,' meaning shoemaker.

Leprechauns in Video Games

In video games, the leprechauns are depicted as tricksters that have magical powers, are often bearded and short. In the Witcher 3 PC game released on 19 May 2015 by CD Projekt Red based on the novel Wiedźmin by Andrzej Sapkowski the leprechaun appears as a trickster and offers a quest for the player.

According to Witcher 3 game lore, the leprechauns are short creatures often confused with children from a distance. A closer look reveals brown, wrinkled skin and visage resembling a young gnome.

The leprechaun is a slick character that is also quick, smart and malicious. They are considered to be crafty and always working on a shoe; not a pair, but a single shoe.

While they are quite smart, its often a good idea to try and outsmart them, since their treasure holds incredibly valuable items and riches.

The Leprechaun in Rainbow Riches, a popular UK slot game.

Leprechauns in Slot Games

Leprechauns often appear in slot games as the most rewarding characters or symbols. For example, the Rainbow Riches slot game features multiple luck bringing elements and the leprechaun is the highest winning symbol.

According to, the leprechaun fits luck-themed slots perfectly as they can reward or take form the players. These Irish-themed slot games are played by millions mostly in the United Kingdom.

In modern video slot games, the leprechauns are often accompanied by shamrocks, rainbows, gold coins and lucky horseshoes. Luck-themed slot games such as Rainbow Riches, Luck o the Irish and others are favoured over other genres by the slot players.

Mad Sweeney the leprechaun in the American Gods TV-show

In the 2017 tv-show American Gods, the leprechaun Mad Sweeney is played by the actor Pablo Schreiber. In this story, by Neil Gaiman, viewers can see the full story of the leprechaun, the mad king. Following the backstory reveals that this leprechaun did, in fact, help people to gain wealth and riches.

The trickster fairy often presents the subject with multiple choices in exchange for a treasure or rewards. Derived from the Gaelic word luchorpán which means “small body”, the quintessential leprechaun was a solitary sort of fellow who made shoes for a living and stowed his profits in secret places only known to him. Anyone fortunate enough to happen upon a leprechaun gets access to its wealth of gold.

Frequently Asked Questions about leprechauns

Q: What to do if you come across a leprechaun?

A: If you happen to come across a leprechaun, be sure to hold on to him. According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to capture a leprechaun can barter his freedom for three wishes.

Q: Can a leprechaun be trusted?

A: A leprechaun is a trickster figure who cannot be trusted. Almost every encounter with a leprechaun ends up with the discoverer being tricked.

Q: What sounds do leprechauns make?

A: Leprechauns have a distinctive sound associated with them, the tap-tap-tapping of a tiny cobbler hammer, driving nails into shoes.

Q: Can leprechauns be female?

A: In the 1825 book "Fairy Legends" noted that "Leprechauns seem to be entirely male and solitary.

Q: What lessons can be learned from leprechaun tales?

A: Leprechauns tales are about morality and often warn against greed.

Q: What is the race of the leprechaun?

A: Some tales say the leprechauns are gnomes or elves, the original tales tell that they are fairies.

Q: Where do leprechauns live?

A: Leprechauns are believed to live in forests or forested areas, woodland, and be solitary creatures.

Q: How to find a leprechaun?

A: These creatures move very fast and can even flash or blink, teleport short distances. If you ever want to find one, you must move silently in a woodland area.

Q: What is the leprechauns treasure?

A: The leprechauns treasure is often a pot of gold. The treasure can be jewelry and other valuables too.

fact or fiction
Jim Davies
Jim Davies
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Jim Davies
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