A little silliness for the St. Patrick's Day weekend.
As the celebrations for St Patrick's Day die down for another year, leaving most revellers with a hangover and a hole in their pocket, one group who are often associated with the holiday are facing a much more bleak future.
After what is traditionally the busiest period of the year for Ireland's leprechauns, the spring is usually quiet for them, until the tourist season starts in June. Some would pass the time in Boston, playing tricks on drunken Celtics fans, returning again in the autumn for the football season, when they also have Notre Dame fans from whom to collect rich pickings. An average winter would be spent back in Ireland again, counting their earnings and converting them to gold, then finding a suitable rainbow under which to hide their treasure.
But in recent years, several things have come to interfere with their apparently idyllic lifestyle.
First of all, the economic crisis in Ireland took a big bite out of their earnings, which had already been suffering from the impact on their shoemaking business from the cheap labour in South East Asia.
And even global warming has been making life hard for Ireland's little green men, Rainbows have become few and far between, and those they can find are not long lived, making it more difficult for them to find somewhere to hide their pots of gold. This led many leprechauns to invest their gold in Bitcoins, attracted by the flexibility and mobility the virtual financial scheme seemed to offer, but now with the collapse of the MtGox bitcoin exchange, many have seen their treasure disappear in the mist, much like the rainbows they used to trust.
Faced with financial hardship, some leprechauns have joined that other phenomenon for which Ireland is famous, the Diaspora. Sadly, they have met with mixed results. While some have found a reasonable living acting as fake versions of themselves at Tokyo Disneyland, EuroDisney, and even the copycat theme parks in China. Many were disappointed to find on their arrival in New Zealand some years ago that the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy would be filmed using normal sized people and camera tricks, rather than employing the talents of "height authentic" performers such as themselves.
But the horizon is not all cloudy. Ireland's recovery from its debt crisis is ongoing, which will bring the tourists back, and the news that shooting will start on a new Star Wars movie soon means that many leprechauns might be able to resume their roles as extras in the Ewok battle scenes。
The Irish are known for their happy-go-lucky attitude, and it seems that many leprechauns still believe the future will be sunshine and rainbows again.
Editor’s note; The author made many attempts to interview actual leprechauns for this report, but their inherent reluctance to be interviewed or photographed, combined with the effects of the copious amounts of alcohol which it was necessary to consume in order to see them in the first place, meant that certain portions of this article are somewhat lacking in verification. The reader’s understanding is appreciated.
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