Slainte! This St. Patrick's Day take a moment to celebrate the mischievous leprechaun. These Irish fairy-folk are (for better or worse) the symbol of Ireland on this special day. And they're everywhere! From New York to Australia, real-life leprechauns are doing their jig.
Down and Out Leprechaun
It's not all fun and games and rainbows for leprechauns in America. This Philadelphia gent looks like he's hoping he can catch the bus before someone spots his pot o' gold.
WWE star Hornswoggle has the pint-sized quality leprechauns are known for, and all of the charm - which is to say, none. Leprechauns in folk stories were crabby, mean pranksters. Hornswoggle, whose named means "to swindle, cheat, hoodwink, or hoax," certainly fits the bill.
It's hard out there for a leprechaun. This Dublin, Ireland leprechaun takes a short break in between the St. Patrick's Day festivities in 2009.
The so-bad-they're-hilarious "Leprechaun" horror movies actually pay attention to the leprechaun myths closer than most. Not the murder and mayhem, of course. But he is short and wrinkled - two traits originally bestowed on the wee folk in Irish fables.
Leprechauns were originally known for their mischief and practical jokes. Hope no one told that to the New York Stock Exchange, who celebrated St. Patrick's Day by letting the "Lucky Charms" cereal mascot ring the opening bell.
Notre Dame Leprechaun
Notre Dame's Fighting Irish sports teams are some of the best known in the country. Who better to lead those rowdy redheads than a pint-sized, buckle-shoed leprechaun? The university holds try-outs every year to see who is worthy of wearing the green and hoisting the ND flag.
Down Under Leprechaun
A leprechaun implores passing schoolgirls to allow him to grant them a wish on St Patrick's day in Sydney in 2006. Thousands gravitate to the pubs in The Rocks area of Sydney for the traditional Irish National day celebrations and associated drinking, dancing and frivolity.
Boston Celtics Leprechaun
Boston has some of the deepest Irish roots anywhere in the country. So of course their basketball team - the Celtics - honors that. And of course their mascot is a leprechaun. The stilts are a nice touch on what, again, is traditionally a tiny fairy-figure.
The annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Philadelphia regularly draws over 10,000 people. There are Irish dancers, traditional musicians, and - of course - leprechauns.