One of the most enduring aspects of Irish folklore is the tale of the 'little people', or fairy folk.
The leprechaun is in fact only one of a variety of different types of little people which inhabit the area just outside the peripheral vision of normal human beings.
He is in fact a short-tempered old fellow, whose craft is that of shoe-maker. he has become quite wealthy through his trade though, and is often to be found burying crocks of gold at the end of rainbows.
He has also been known to 'liberate' other people's treasure from its hiding places - and is known for his ability to tease mortals.
It is believed he may be based on the ancient god Lugh, who oversaw the arts and crafts of pre-Christian Ireland. But the legend has it that leprechauns are bad angels expelled from Heaven by Gos, some of whose number fell on to Ireland.