Irish Language Blog

Irish Storytelling Posted by on Jul 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

Haigh, a chairde!

Recently I read a BBC article about the Aos Scéal Éireann, or Storytellers of Ireland, who gather in public spaces to tell anything from traditional Irish folk tales and mythology to historical events.

This new generation of storytellers in Ireland are based on the seanchaí who were the original storytellers well before technology replaced them. They would travel from village to village to tell tales. They are described as “reporters, entertainers and historians” all rolled into one

In the fashion of storytelling, I wanted to share the story of the leipreachán/luchorpán (leprechaun) by the Irish poet William Allingham.

Leprechauns are a “supernatural being in Irish folklore, classed by some as a type of solitary fairy. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief. In later times, they have been depicted as shoe-makers who have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

An Irish idiom that might be acceptable to say to a mischief loving leprechaun would be:

Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat!

May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat!





Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
Up on the lonely rath’s green mound?
Only the plaintive yellow bird
Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee!–
Only the grasshopper and the bee?–
“Tip-tap, rip-rap,
Scarlet leather, sewn together,
This will make a shoe.
Left, right, pull it tight;
Summer days are warm;
Underground in winter,
Laughing at the storm!
Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
As he merrily plies his trade?
He’s a span
And a quarter in height.
Get him in sight, hold him tight,
And you’re a made


You watch your cattle the summer day,
Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
How would you like to roll in your carriage.
Look for a duchess’s daughter in marriage?
Seize the Shoemaker–then you may!
“Big boots a-hunting,
Sandals in the hall,
White for a wedding-feast,
Pink for a ball.
This way, that way,
So we make a shoe;
Getting rich every stitch,
Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks
This keen miser-fairy hath,
Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,
Ruin and round-tow’r, cave and rath,
And where the cormorants build;
From times of old
Guarded by him;
Each of them fill’d
Full to the brim
With gold!


I caught him at work one day, myself,
In the castle-ditch, where foxglove grows,–
A wrinkled, wizen’d and bearded Elf,
Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
Silver buckles to his hose,
Leather apron-shot in his lap–
“Rip-rap, tip-tap,
(A grasshopper on my cap!
Away the moth flew!)
Buskins for a fairy prince,
Brogues for his son,–
Pay me well, pay me well,
When the job is done! ”
The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him; he stared at me;
“Servant, Sir!” “Humph!” says he,
And pull’d a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look’d better pleased,
The queer little Lepracaun;
Offer’d the box with a whimsical grace,-
Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,
And, while I sneezed,
Was gone!


an bhróg [un vrohg], the shoe

na bróige [nuh BROH-ig-yuh], of the shoe

na bróga, the shoes

bróga gréasaí: handmade boots

pot of gold: bpota óir
rainbow: tuair cheatha
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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.

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