Yes! You read that right! Leprechauns are back in Ireland, so keep your eyes peeled!
Reports are circulating that after centuries of assumed extinction, Leprechauns have been sighted in the Irish countryside.
The reports first began to appear on social media when two teenage sisters and their younger brother returned from a walk in Cratloe Woods, County Clare, and recounted a meeting they had with a stranger in the ancient woods.
Since the initial social media post, hundreds of other similar sightings have been reported around the country.
The County Clare sighting is reported to have taken place earlier this month as the teens and their younger brother were walking the family dog in the popular wooded area near Limerick.
Mary O Neill (17) recounted, “we were out walking Gypsy our Golden Retriever when we came across this tiny little man — he was no more than three feet tall — with a big long beard, and he was sitting on a small stone step while mending a pair of shoes.” Mary told reporters.
Disappeared in a flash
“He was dressed in a funny sort of a top-hat and knee-length breeches, and on his feet, he had the shiniest brogues I’ve ever seen.
“As soon as he saw us he ran away shouting ‘you’ll not get me gold, so you won’t’ then he simply disappeared in a flash,” the young girl said.
Professor David Murphy is a fellow of the Irish College of Folkloristics and following the spate of reported Leprechaun sightings also spoke to the media.
“We have been aware for quite some time of an increase in Leprechaun sightings throughout Ireland,” he said.
“Leprechauns, or the Little People as we call them, have long been considered extinct, but apparently not so.”
Our current thinking is that they may have simply gone into a mass hibernation during the 1920s around the time of the formation of the state.
It is believed they may have been sleeping underground in densely wooded areas. But, perhaps due to global warming, have recently begun to emerge,” The professor told the media.
Dr Murphy went on to explain that after the formation of the state, there was a thriving underground business where unscrupulous farmers would trap and catch Leprechauns.
“These were then smuggled to America where they were forced into acting in the then-emerging Hollywood film industry.
“It totally decimated the indigenous Leprechaun population and perhaps explains why they were forced into hiding. I am surmising that since the advent of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the film industry, the need for real Leprechauns simply doesn’t exist anymore.”
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has recently launched a campaign aimed at extending the ethnic grouping status to the Leprechaun Community.
They are also calling on the government to provide adequate social housing in areas with a high concentration of leprechauns.
A spokesperson for the Council said, “It does appear that Leprechauns are re-emerging into society, and we want to make the transition easier for them.”
Junior Minister for Social Affairs Darby O’Gill TD, responding to the Council for Civil Liberties said, that this government and past governments owe the ‘Little People’ of Ireland an apology for the shameful way in which they were treated down through the years, but, in particular, since the formation of the state.
“We, the people of Ireland, need to make amends and acknowledge the harm that was done to Leprechauns not only by state and religious institutions but the nation as a whole should hang its head in shame.
“The Taoiseach is prepared to publicly apologise to Ireland’s abandoned Leprechauns when the Dáil resumes.”
Meanwhile in Ireland understands that President Michael D. Higgins, who may himself be descended from the ‘Little People’, is actively becoming involved in the Save the Leprechauns Campaign.