A lesson in leprechauns

‘St Patrick’s Festival’ Dublin, Ireland: Day Three: Saturday 18th March 2017

Having enjoyed another tasty breakfast at our favourite supermarket we headed to Teeling Distillery for a farmers market and arts and craft event. The suggested 10-minute walk ended up being closer to 20 but in that time we got to see more of the city that we hadn’t previously. We stumbled across the Jam Art Factory which had pop art works from across Ireland. Kris and I liked the look of a lot of their pieces.

When we finally arrived at the distillery, I was impressed with how modern it looked compared with Jameson which is close to where we are staying in Smithfields. The food and craft fair was much smaller than I’d hoped for but we did get to see gluten free crêpes! I wanted to pack their vintage van up and take them home. I didn’t have a crêpe though, I was still full from breakfast.

From the market we decided we wanted to pop down to St Stephen’s Green as this was the venue for some street theatre being put on at part of the St Patrick’s Festival. As we arrived into the park we passed English Rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson in town no doubt for the Ireland V England Six Nations clash.

We proceeded to watch the Lords of Strut do acrobatics ‘oooh, ahhh’ you might think but actually it was just two fellas mucking about trying to be funny with the odd party trick thrown in. Having said that they must have been doing something right as the audience, (including myself) were laughing all the way through the act.

We waited for the next circus act to start but they took their time getting organised so we left.

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During our previous trip to Ireland in May last year we noticed the National Leprechaun Museum on street signs and we’ve noticed it again this time.  With the festival activities completed for the day, we decided to go and see what it was all about. Kris and I have learnt that Leprechauns date back as far as the 700s when they originally wore brown. It wasn’t until Walt Disney made a film that the popular stereotype of a leprechaun in green was born. The tour guide was a great storyteller and really engaging. He sounded as you’d expect someone from southern Ireland to sound and reminded both Kris and I of Jordan from Wellcome.

On entering the exhibition, we found ourselves in a giant’s front room and as part of a group we had great fun clambering across furniture to get onto the larger than usual sideboards and dining tables. I made it my mission to climb across a giant table onto an armchair for a photo opportunity, Kris followed by scrambling up the side of it. Our life long ambition to become borrowers has been achieved.

The tour guide explained that Irish folklore is heavily influenced by the weather. Many of the stories are quite melancholic with the leprechaun being a cheerful comedic guide, a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day or a rainbow following the rain. The leprechaun is a carpenter who makes footwear for pixies who cannot help but dance when they hear music. A true capitalist, the leprechaun carries a flute to make the pixies dance and wear out their shoes faster so that he can make and sell more. We learnt a lot today.

I enjoyed listening to the variety of different Irish myths and legends and thought to myself how many of them were similar to Cornish stories. I imagine all Celtic countries will have similar mythical characters.

Written by Fern Sargeant and edited by Kris Bramwell

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