On St. Patrick’s Day, you’re likely to see plenty of leprechauns. These mythical creatures are the small fairy folk of Irish legends. They’re traditionally portrayed as snappy dressers in green suits with hats and buckled shoes.

Leprechauns are small. Some pictures show them tiny enough to sit on your shoulder, while others claim they’re about the size of small children.

Leprechauns are known to be practical jokers who love to play tricks on humans. Even though they’re occasionally mischievous, they are intelligent creatures that are mostly harmless.

Irish legends hold that leprechauns are shoemakers. They supposedly store all the gold coins they earn in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The legend of the pot of gold is popular, and many people have been known to chase rainbows in search of leprechauns and their gold. Supposedly, if you catch a leprechaun, he will grant you three wishes in return for his freedom.

St. Patrick’s Day festivities would not be complete without leprechauns, since they’re known to be great musicians, too. Leprechauns can play a variety of traditional Irish instruments, such as tin whistles, the fiddle and the Irish harp.

The name leprechaun has an uncertain origin. Some believe it derives from the Old Irish words for “small” and “body.” Others believe the term may have come from the Irish words for shoemaker.


72 Join the Discussion

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  1. WOW!!!!!! That is a really cool wonder of the day. I remember one time my second grade teacher told us a leprechaun had destroyed our class. So we spent the whole afternoon fixing the place. :)

    • That sounds like one mischievous leprechaun, Nick! But, it made for a great memory to share with everyone in Wonderopolis on this St. Patrick’s Day! Thanks so much! :-)

      • Hello, Olivia a! The WONDER tells us that leprechauns are actually mythical creatures. Leprechauns descriptions vary from person to person. Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  2. Thank you for teaching me about leprechauns. I am going to try to make leprechaun trap with my dad now. Have a wondering saint patrick’s day.

    • We think it’s GREAT that you and your dad are going to spend some time together today WONDERing about the best way to build a leprechaun trap, Foxx! We know you guys will make an AWESOME one! Good luck catching your leprechaun! :-)

    • Well, happy birthday to Madison, and HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY to YOU, Samantha! We hope you BOTH have a super LUCKY day! :-)

  3. Wow. This website has changed a bit since I was last here. Anyway, I think leprechauns may or may not be real. A little bit ‘o both! I’m wearing a St.Patrick’s necklace and a green sweater!!!

    P.S. You should do a wonderopolis on… greek myths or…how rainbows work or… or… I can’t think of any more :( Well, awesome wonderopolis! :D

  4. I thought this Wonder was really cool. Today my leprechauns made us cookies and gave us onions. I think they just gave us onions for a trick. Do you still believe in leprechauns?

    • That’s SWEET that your leprechauns left you cookies, Juliana, but we DO think the onions might have been a trick. Although, maybe your leprechaun REALLY likes onion rings and wanted you and your family to make some to eat today! :-)

  5. Dear wonderopolis, I was wondering the same thing this morning. I went on google to see if they really were. I even asked my dad. He said “yes, you are one.” Just because I am short. At school, people make fun of me, too. I’ve got to go. Bye, your friend kaitlyn

    • We hope you are having a WONDERful St. Patrick’s Day so far, Kaitlyn! We think it is NOT cool when people make fun of other people. We should all appreciate and accept each other’s differences! Being unique makes each of us extra WONDERful! We are SUPER happy that you are a friend of Wonderopolis…thanks for being so AWESOME! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about leprechauns, Pinky! We’re LUCKY to have you as a Wonder Friend and we’re super glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  6. That was an okay video, but overall it was pretty good. Sorry I forgot to put some comments in, I was too busy. I think toworrow’s wonder will be about funny ducks it’s spring break!!! :)

    • We like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, Joseph! Thanks for letting us know what you thought about today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  7. Hi Wonderopolis
    I believe that leprechauns are real because one came to my little sister’s class on Thursday. I liked the video a lot. It was cute.

    • Thanks for stopping by today’s Wonder of the Day® to do some O’WONDERing about leprechauns, Ava! We hope you had a GREAT day! :-)

  8. Hi Wonderopolis,

    I’m Avery and I loved your article! My class is making a Desertoplis. Guess what? My friends, Lena, Seif, and I made a leprechaun house yesterday. It was so fun!

    Oh and HAPPY ST.PATRICK’ DAY!!!!!!!!

    • Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, too, Avery! We bet the leprechaun house that you, Lena and Seif made was AWESOME! We also think Desertopolis sounds WONDERful! :-)

  9. Wow!! Leprechauns now have me thinking!!!! They’re very small devious little people!! I have the best times on St. Patrick’s day!! There are always weird things happening to me!! Like, for example, last year on St. Patrick’s day at school my class and I were sitting and watching something on the TV, and then the TV just turned off by itself!! It NEVER does that… Anyway throughout the day, the door kept opening and closing. After everyone was a bit paranoid. People kept shouting “OH NO!! LEPRECHAUNS!!”

    Do you have any idea why on St. Patrick’s day if you don’t wear green, you get pinched?? I always wear green to be on the safe side…. :)

    Thanks SO much for all these AMAZING topics and articles!! Can’t wait to read more!!!!!!

    • We’re so glad you can’t wait to explore more Wonders in Wonderopolis, Giulia! That makes us super happy! Thank you for sharing your awesome personal connection to this Wonder…all those classroom coincidences on St. Patrick’s Day have us WONDERing if it really WAS leprechauns! We’re not sure about the pinching if you don’t wear green thing, but it is a WONDERful idea for a future Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  10. Hey Wonderopolis
    I love your website and videos.
    I hope that Ava and Ella go to Wonderopolis tomorrow. Wonderopolis you are my hero!!! I LOVE WONDEROPOLIS!!!!!!!!!!

    • You, Ava and Ella are ALL heroes to us, Diya, because you are ALL AMAZING Wonder Friends! Thanks so much for leaving us this AWESOME message today! :-)

  11. Hi wonderopolis,my name is mady and I have a lerechaun house in my front yard,It so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • That DOES sound COOL, Mady! We bet the leprechauns who live in your leprechaun house appreciate it very much! :-)

    • We thought the trap that the boy in the video made was awesome, too, Claire! We are so glad you stopped by this Wonder of the Day® to learn and share about leprechauns! :-)

  12. Hi, my name is Kenny. I’m Mady’s cousin. I’m the good lucking looking one!!!!!!!!!!!!! Totally
    she’s catching up. Me and Avery (you know Avery) made a fairy burrito and they ate it. Fairy’s are real!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hi, Kenny! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis and also for sharing that you are Mady’s cousin and also friends with Avery! We like learning more about our Wonder Friends! :-)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Thank you for posting and answering our wonder! We are so excited to learn about leprechauns! Your feedback has taught us that our thinking and desire to learn matters. You rock Wonderopolis! Thanks for keeping us curious.

    Room 106, Burley School

    • We think YOU GUYS are the ones who ROCK, Ms. ZF and Room 106 students! We think it’s AWESOME that you guys use your iPads to visit Wonderopolis and we LOVE that your creative, clever, WONDERing minds are curious to learn more about the world around you! :-)

    • We thought the boy in the video made a super cute (and creative) leprechaun trap, too, Earthling Alice! Thanks so much for leaving us a comment today! :-)

  14. Whoa that was super awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks for letting us know you liked this Wonder of the Day®, “Random Person!” We thought it was super awesome, too! :-)

    • We’re not 100% sure, Pizzacuttercat! After exploring this Wonder of the Day®, what do YOU think…ARE leprechauns real? :-)

    • Hi, teddybear! Leprechauns are small, mythical people from Irish legends. LOTS of Wonder Friends think they are real, but just as many Wonder Friends think they are fictional! :-)

    • WOW, Deja Vu! We think you are really great at guessing future Wonders. We WONDER how you did that with this comment? :-)

  15. Hi, I was wondering, since it never said Leprechauns were real, if they really are real. Because I don’t want to waste time on building a trap that my mom is going to make it look like there was a leprechaun.

    • Hello, Hannah! That’s a tough one! Lots of Wonder Friends think leprechauns are real, and lots of Wonder Friends think they are imaginary. It’s up to YOU to make up your own mind and decide whether YOU think they are real or not! We hope you have a VERY LUCKY day today! :-)

    • That’s a great question, Nolan! We’re not sure if they caught a leprechaun, but they sure made an AWESOME trap, didn’t they? Thanks so much for stopping by this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  16. Anyway, I guessed it right without reading it. The answer is NO because I asked my dad to find the end of the rainbow, but my dad said the leprechaun IS NOT REALLY REAL.

    • Thanks for sharing what you and your family believe about leprechauns, Kelly! We hope you had fun exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  17. Hi, Wonderopolis

    I love this topic and video. I think that the trap on the video will really work. What a good idea!
    I learned a few new facts about leprechauns. First, leprechauns supposedly store all the gold coins they earn in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Also, Irish legends hold that leprechauns are shoemakers.
    Now I wonder whose shoes they make. Can I have the shoes that they make?
    Thank you for sharing good information.

    Team McNeil #19

    • If you build an AWESOME leprechaun trap, maybe you can get your leprechaun to make you some WONDERful shoes, Team McNeil #19! We’re glad you enjoyed this Wonder and the video that accompanied it! :-)

  18. Hello wonderopolis,

    I thought that wonder was really cool and I enjoyed reading about something that scares me a lot. Two new words that I learned are
    1. portrayed
    2. Mythical
    I did not know that you could make a leprechaun trap or that it was possible to catch a leprechaun. I thought they were to smart and fast for humans. I wonder why leprechauns destroy peoples classrooms?
    Team Unger #23

    • Hi, Team Unger #23! We think leprechauns destroy classrooms because they are super mischievous little creatures! We loved learning about leprechauns by exploring this Wonder of the Day® about them, and we’re glad you did, too! Thanks for sharing the new words you learned and that you now know about building a leprechaun trap! Check out THESE blog posts about an amazing leprechaun trap that one of our Wonder Friends and her family built: http://wonderfamilyedwards.posterous.com/?sort=&search=leprechaun. :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion of leprechauns, Bubbles! We appreciate your comment and THANK YOU for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

  19. This wonder was WONDERFUL!!!! (and awesome) I’m excited to look back at the other WONDER OF THE DAYS!!!
    From, Sydney Buffalo, Minnesota Tatanka Elemantry school Mrs.Ouverson’s class

    • We’re excited that YOU are excited about visiting past Wonders, Sydney! There are LOTS to choose from about so many WONDERful things! We hope you have as much fun learning in Wonderopolis as we do! Happy WONDERing! :-)

    • We think every Wonder Friend is AWESOME because they have their own opinions and ways that they see the world, Holly! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about leprechauns with us today! :-)

  20. I love this video And I think the little boy is so cute! I love the way he decorated the trap. I hope they caught a leprechaun and I can’t wait to see if he will make another video for us!

    • Thanks for sharing your comment about our leprechaun Wonder, Lauren! We are glad you enjoyed the video– we can’t wait to Wonder with you again! :)

  21. Any wish will come true because if it does I want to go catch one right now and are they still around in April I hope they are. I am Irish are you?

    • Hey Kate, we think leprechauns are usually around for St. Patrick’s Day in March, but please let us know if you find one now! We hope you have a SUPER day! :)

  22. I think leprechauns are real because I set up a trap once and it was in my room. When I was sleeping a little noice woke me up and once I woke up it was gone.

    Ps nice article

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Are leprechauns real?
  • What do leprechauns do for a living?
  • How do you make a leprechaun trap?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

Ready to catch a leprechaun? Before you say “yes,” you should know that it’s no easy feat to catch a leprechaun. They’re small and quite sneaky.

That being said, we have confidence that you have the skill and brain power to catch one. Of course, the easiest way to do so is to build a leprechaun trap.

If you want some tips on how to build a leprechaun trap, just check online. You’ll find not only suggestions about materials to use, but also ways to entice leprechauns to your trap. Ask a friend or family member to help you build the best leprechaun trap possible.

If you do succeed in catching a leprechaun, be very careful. A trapped leprechaun can be very wily. The Irish will tell you that it’s best not to believe anything a leprechaun tells you.

As you know, Irish legend has it that leprechauns will grant you three wishes in return for their freedom. However, many a leprechaun hunter has fallen prey to bad wishes and tricky leprechauns.

To avoid such a fate, we think it would behoove you to think NOW about what three wishes you’d make if you’re lucky enough to catch a leprechaun in your trap. As you think of wishes, also think about any bad consequences that could result from being granted those wishes.

When you’re finished, we’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to post pictures of your leprechaun trap on Facebook. You can also email us your list of three wishes. Happy leprechaun hunting!


Still Wondering

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than learning more about Irish culture? Explore ArtsEdge’s You’re Invited to a Ceili: Exploring Irish Dance lesson to learn more about Irish music, dancers and poetry.


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