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A representation of a Clurichaun in T. C. Croker's Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland

The clurichaun (/ˈklrkɔːn/) or clúrachán (from Irish: clobhair-ceann),[1] is an Irish fairy which resembles the leprechaun. Some folklorists describe the clurichaun as a night "form" of the leprechaun, who goes out to drink after finishing his daily chores.[2] Others regard them as regional variations on the same creature.[3]

The folklorist Nicholas O'Kearney described the clurichaun in 1855 as follows:

Clurichauns are said to always be drunk. However, unlike their cousins, they are surly. Many fables conclude clurichauns enjoy riding sheep and dogs at night. If you treat them well they will protect your wine cellar, and if mistreated, they will wreak havoc on your home and spoil your wine stock. In some tales, they act as buttery spirits, plaguing drunkards or dishonest servants who steal wine; if the victim attempts to move away from their tormentor, the clurichaun will hop into a cask to accompany them.[5]

In Literature[edit]

The clurichaun, Kweequel, is a prominent character found in the first story of the book Four Different Faces by C.J. Cala. [6]

The clurichaun appears as a regular character (under the name Cluracan) in Neil Gaiman's acclaimed comic series The Sandman and its spin-off series The Dreaming. Cluracan continues the tradition of constant drunkenness but is portrayed as a tall, elegant blond fairy.

The clurichaun Naggeneen ("a little drink") magically associates himself with "Mary's Place", the successor to Callahan's Bar in Spider Robinson's stories. (The word is spelled 'cluricaune' there. 'Naggeneen' is used in place of his true name, which it is unwise for magical beings to reveal.) Naggeneen saves the bar from bankruptcy through his ability to drink tremendous quantities of alcohol—and to pay for it honestly.


  1. ^ Yeats, W. B., ed. (1888). Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. The Cluricaun, (Clobhair-ceann, in O'Kearney) makes himself drunk in gentlemen's cellars. Some suppose he is merely the Lepracaun on a spree. He is almost unknown in Connaught and the north. 
  2. ^ W. B. Yeats, Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, in A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend, and Folklore, p 80, ISBN 0-517-48904-X.
  3. ^ Katharine Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures, "Leprechauns", p264. ISBN 0-394-73467-X.
  4. ^ O'Kearney, Nicholas, ed. (1855). Transactions of the Ossianic Society, for the year 1854. Vol. II. Feis Tithe Chonain. Dublin: The Ossianic Society. p. 19. 
  5. ^ Katharine Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures, "Clurichaun", p77. ISBN 0-394-73467-X.
  6. ^