This St. Patrick's Day Declan was old enough to be introduced to the ancient sport of leprechaun trapping. Now this is something that my family takes seriously and Declan's first time was to be no exception.
He knew what a leprechaun was, so that was good. But that was about it. He had heard at school that leprechauns live in Ireland. This, obviously is not entirely true. I explained to him how leprechauns, who used to be indigenous to Ireland, were brought here by the Irish who immigrated during the potato famine in 1849. During the first migration in 1845, the Irish didn't bring them, but found living to be difficult. The leprechauns were then brought to ease the transition and to assist with reestablishment.
So the other thing he knew was that leprechauns liked candy. Again, not entirely true- they're Irish, think about this, folks. And lastly, I told him that although a person can trap a leprechaun, that doesn't necessarily mean they can see/grab/detain the elusive creature. I explained to him that once a leprechaun is trapped, they can disappear to escape, but their magic requires that they leave behind treasure when they do.
So...on to setting the trap. For this we will need the following:
a pair of scissors
a mug- in this case I used pewter. Physically and visually, the old style/material is more appealing to the leprechaun
a sturdy container, open on one end (I used an old file box without the lid)
a nice, level patch of grass
a stick (about 6-8 inches long) and a piece of string (about a foot)
Now that we've gathered our materials, let's set out to build our trap. I told Declan we need to be nonchalant about building the trap because, if we look like we're up to mischief it could draw the leprechauns out early before the trap is set. So...
tie one end of the string to the stick, the knot is most efficient when placed at the center
tie the other end of the string around the handle of the mug.
place the mug on a level patch and...
now for the bait: beer
normally I'd use a beer from Ireland, such as Harp, Guinness or Killian's, but since this trap was set in rural PA, leprechauns here aren't as picky as those who reside in urban areas near pubs.
When you pour the beer, you don't need to go for the 'perfect pour.' Leprechauns actually like a bit of good head...
...it gets stuck in their beards for later.
Place the container upside-down over the mug and prop one side up with the stick. Viola! The trap is set.
Now, since most leprechauns don't like to be seen or heard, except for the adolescent ones- they actually go out of their way to be noticed, we need to let our trap set over night.
We made out pretty good this time. Declan banked a huge bag full of candy, including green gummy frogs: