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Interview With a Leprechaun

We tracked one down and asked it several questions

By Maija Zummo · March 9th, 2011 · Special
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It’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day, and you know what that means! We all get to be Irish (and drunk) for a day — and get a special little bum pinch if we aren’t wearing green. Doesn’t that happen? And while we CityBeaters were out trolling around bars for timely and Irishy stories about green beer and shamrocks, I ran into a short, red-haired dude named Mike O’Malley (not the actor). After several Guinness, he admitted to being a leprechaun, so I chased him. Leprechauns are very fast and hard to capture because they’re made of magic. But I did and then I asked him some questions.

CityBeat: How did you come to live in Cincinnati? Where do you live?

Mike O’Malley: That’s wee bit of a quite lengthy sto’ry. Ya see I had hea’rd about the lads o’er on the set of Gulliver’s Travels needin’ some little people ta fillowt their cast. So I came here ta the Queen’s city ta take my chance with the great I’rish comedian, Geo’rge C’looney. But, alas ‘twas too late, for he’d left fer da co’st of Los Ang’les short before I’d ar’rived. So afterwa’rds, I decided ta give it a go he’re fer a whi’le.

CB: What is your job?

MO: Come on now, lass. What are’ya like? It’s commen knowledge dat wee leprechauns’er in da bankin’ business… dat an’ shoes. We a’ll make shoes, a’ldough I am not so gud at it maself.

CB: How tall are you?

MO: 0.61 meters, or 2-feet-1. I am mountain fo’lk, so I am bit begg’er den average.

CB: What are you wearing?

MO: Whatever’s treditiona’l I guess. This fe’lty g’reen over cu’t, I’ve had fer as lon’ as I kin rememb’er. An’ dis Xavier pullo’er und’erneath I got f’rom the student sho’p dere in Norwo’od.

CB: Do you feel judged by the outside world?

MO: Not too much rea’lly. Bein’ I’rish an all, ‘tisn’t the bigg’ist disadventige. Howe’er I do on occasion get stepped on.

CB: What size shoes do you wear?

MO: Seven.

CB: Are there any embarrassing YouTube videos of you on the Internet?

MO: There might we’lll be a few. I got maself invo’lved inna series a’films a few years back inna time when I was hittin’ the bottle quite a bit dere. You mighta seen one’er two of’em. The first t’ree weren’t dat bad. But inna fou’rt one, Leprecahun 4 In Space man’o did I maka right bags owtta my care’er.

CB: Do you drink? Green beer? Whiskey?

MO: Ahh! Mano la’ssie. I drink lika fish ti’ll Imma swimmin’ in ma swi’ll. Didn’t I just I just te’ll ya I’d be’en in da hor’rors? An’na green beer ya drinkin’ here, why ya just makin’ a holy show’a yerselves. I guess it isn’t as bad as dat green meat yer all eatin’, whatta ca’ll it, goetta? I pref’er a gud Bushmills or Jameson or somethin’ from ma own sti’ll anna whiskey-baked ham.

CB: Are you a cop? A lot of Irish people are cops. Isn’t that why they play bagpipes at cop funerals on TV?

MO: Now what’er blatherin’ abowt? Dat’s an old ste’reotype fer ya. Maybe inna 1850s an 60s, da New York I’rish were inna cop business, coz’ t’was the best payin’ jobs dey cud get. But now, we’ve most’ly started a’re own I’rish fo’lk bands an greetin’ ca’rd writ’ers guilds inna States. It’sa dead’ly luc’rative business, writin’ greetin’ ca’rds. It isn’t Saint Va’lentine’s Day, dat’s fer su’re. But e’erbody is I’rish on Saint Paddy’s Day, an dat means a quare amownt a green fer da O’Malley clan.

CB: How old are you when you grow a beard? Is it always red?

MO: Maself? I was born wit ma bea’rd. But most get dere beards on’er their tird bir’tday.

CB: Are you offended by the obviously racist misrepresentation that Lucky Charms puts out about Lucky the Leprechaun? Why can’t he get his charms?

MO: Ahhhh, “Po’or Lucky” iswat we’d ca’ll him. He useda live down da way from ma house. He’d g’rown up no’rmal enough, but when’e hit tir’teen ya sta’rted ta see’im headin’ out to da fo’rest by hemself. ‘Twas abowt dat time dat ya cud he’ar him round town sayin’ und’er hes b’reath: “Dere magica’lly de’licious”…. Tu’rns owt, dat dere in the wood iswhere ya cud find what we’d ca’ll “magic mush’rooms.” Now, dere’s nothin’ w’rong wit dat, in itse’lf.

We a’ll do ‘em ya know… ta keep a’re Lep’rechaun wits abowt us. But da poor bugg’er was hooked ona junk. He’d stay dere long’er and long’er ti’ll eventua’lly he was so wojus outta hes gourd and pa’ranoid dat he’d sta’rted talkin’ ninety to da dozens abowt “They” and how “They” we’re aft’er hes lucky cha’rms. We’d a’ll tried ta te’ll hem dat dere were p’lenty ta go round. But ‘twas too late. Hes brain’d been banjaxed by da stuff. So, hes mudder sent ‘em off ta a Hollywud rehab. Dats whe’re he got hes big b’reak. I he’ar he’s livin’ da life of Rei’lly owt dere. Nothin’ but gym, tan n’ lawnd’ry. Ta dis very day, sti’ll fierce outta his gourd. So, dats dat. I can’t be mad at da poor bugg’er.

CB: Do leprechauns go to the bathroom? Magical geese lay eggs. Do leprechauns poop gold? If not, where is their gold from?

MO: Common’ly ya he’ar dat a’re pots o’ gold come from bu’ried spoi’ls of war. Howe’er, dats not true. Whatis true is dat wee peop’le only have one pot ta pissin, and ya ken imagine whatelse. Actua’lly only on St. Paddy’s day, ken ya find a lep’rechaun layin’ a go’lden egg. The resta da yea’r it’s just foo’ls gold.

CB: Are there lady leprechauns? Where do leprechauns come from if there aren’t any women? Are they like a cult? Do you have sex organs? How big is a baby leprechaun?

MO: Ach, no comment… Ya know, ya ken find love in mo’re dan just fairytales.

CB: What do leprechauns eat?

MO: Wee’l, We eat just abowt whatev’er we ken get a’re tiny litt’le digits on rea’lly: stew, wheaten soda b’read, cabbage, potatuhs, bacon, Guinness… alot Guinness an’ Olestra befo’re St. Paddy’s Day, potahtuhs, codd’le, potatuhs, Pringles, leftov’er Christmas candy canes, ants n’ grasshopper puddin’, O’Charleys chedd’ar and potatuh soup, dirt, mush’rooms, annnnd potatuhs.

CB: Why is it so hard to find a four-leaf clover?

MO: I ken’t expect ya ta know, being dat yer a wan [woman] and a’ll. But da fou’r-leaf clov’er is like “Spanish Fly” or Asian tiger-penis jerky fer lep’rechauns. It’ll wo’rk wand’ers if yer sheleighleigh is a litt’le bit knackered. It’s tu’rned into quite a racket. My brudder-in-law, Seamus Fitzgerald-Escobar, ’s collected quite a nest egg dealin’ in the stuff.

CB: Are leprechauns racist? Do you know the shamrock is sometimes used as a symbol of hate, especially in jails? Do leprechauns commit crimes? How many leprechauns are there in jail? Did a leprechaun kill Jennifer Aniston?

MO: Dese fe’llas’ve made right hames of dere lives. Dey’ve co’rrupted a symbo’l fer dere own p’rofit. It’s not right or becomin’ of a human- much less a lep’rechaun. Live n’ let’live n’ love yer brudder an’ his Shenanigans too, so long as he’s not hu’rtin’ anudder. As f’ar as ja’il goes, no lep’rechauns as of yet … umm well, except Seamus might be takin’ a t’rip soon. So’rry Seamus … But anyway dose t’ree wishes a’re as gud as gold. A get owtta ja’il f’ree fer certain ca’rd. *Winks* And oh, my old co-star Jennif’er… had… had I known what’d happen wit B’rad Pitt… we’lll, he ain’t no lep’rechaun dats fer sure. An da on’ly ting a lep’rechaun’ll murder is a pint a black n’ tan; an’ never pass ona lass like Ms. Aniston.

CB: How do people get gold from a leprechaun? What happens when you get it? How much gold is there? Is there a picture of a leprechaun on your gold? Is it even worth anything in real society?

MO: Awww wisht! Ya ain’t getting’ ma gold! Dats it!

CB: Does each leprechaun get one pot of gold? Do you die when someone gets it? Do leprechauns have a religion? Do you believe in a god? Are you pagan? How long do you live?
MO: I tink we’ve a’lready reso’lved da pot o’ gold qwestion. An’ no we don’t die when someone gets’it, but yull see a lot less four-leaf c’lovers when someone gets a lep’rechaun’s pot o’ gold. Yes, we’re pagan an’ immortal mostly- except e’ery time someone plays Bing Crosby’s version of Danny Boy we’ll get sick inna jacks. I seen a lad puke c’lovers fer days after a rendition of da song. Dats rea’lly da on’ly way ta ki’ll a lep’rechaun. A gud shot of The Pogues might cure a dyin’ lad if andminist’ered fai’rly quick’ly.

CB: Is there such a thing as an end to a rainbow? Does it have to be a rainbow in the sky? What about gay pride parades? Or Northside? Does that confuse a leprechaun?

MO: I maself was a litt’le confounded on a’rrival here. I wa’lked on down ta yer Northe’rnsides lookin’ fer gold, which was sca’rce as hens teeth. I did see an adve’rt fer some Brnze… but ‘twasn’t quite what’d expected. Did see some bi’rds Aussie-kissin’ o’er in da co’rner fer a bit, but nei’der gold nor bronze were de’re. Saw a Serpent sto’re too. Da fellas in de’re were lookin’ sometin’ brut’al. I figu’red ta maself dat dey done a deadly business on dose serpents. An’ dere was no needa ca’ll Saint Pat’rick on dat one.

CB: What political party do leprechauns belong to? Do you vote?

MO: Social libe’ral, financi’al conse’rvative. It’s ha’rd ta find sometin’ dat wo’rks fer me he’re. Wee Pa’rty, perhaps?


Celtic Culture Fest: This month’s “Passport to the World” series features a Celtic marketplace with authentic merchandise and goods, Irish dancers and musicians and a Celtic forest where you will see demonstrations of age-old daily living activities and watch as the Celts engage the Vikings in battle. Kids can also design their own swords and treasure boxes. Establish family tradition by making a coat of arms for your family and learn all about Celtic Nations in the process, all without stepping on a plane. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 12-13. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati. 513-287-7000, www.cincymuseum.org.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Watch as bag pipers, dancers, and Irish enthusiasts from around Cincinnati fill the streets of Downtown. Every year since 1967, rain, snow or shine, Cincinnati has presented one of the top parades of the holiday. Kicking off at Second Street, the route loops around Main Street, passes Fountain Square and back down Elm Street. 1 p.m. March 12. Downtown, Cincinnati. www.cincystpatsparade.com.

Ireland in Word and Music V: This annual program will feature the Celtic group Foley Road plus singers and dramatic readers from the Bellarmine Chapel community. It will be held in the Long Recital Hall of Edgecliff Hall on Xavier’s campus. 2 p.m. March 13. Free. Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati. 513-745-3000, www.xu.edu.

Guinness Perfect Pint Pouring Competition: Bartenders from Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area are welcome to participate at no cost. There are only 36 spots available and bartenders may apply by emailing info@mollymalonesirishpub.com. Competitors will be judged on pouring two “perfect pints” and one “creative pint.” The technique, look and presentation of the pint will be most important. The winner of the competition will receive a plaque from Guinness and the new iPad2. Raffle prizes will be given away throughout the night. 8 p.m. March 14. Molly Malone’s, 112 East Fourth St., Covington. www.mollymalonesirishpub.com.

St. Patrick’s Day on Court Street: Start your day right with Molly Malone’s kegs and eggs starting at 7 a.m. The first 100 people will receive a free Molly Malone’s T-shirt. Court Street will be closed for the day, making room for a tented area with bars and bands including Roger & the Firestarters, Liam’s Fancy, Murphy’s Law, Unlucky Charms and the Cincinnati Emerald Society Police & Fire Pipe & Drums. Irish dancers will also be on hand throughout the day. 7 a.m.-1 a.m. March 17. Molly Malone’s, 112 East Fourth St., Covington. www.mollymalonesirishpub.com.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration of Song and Dance: Featuring music from Foley Road and a special performance by the McGing Irish Dancers, this tribute to the Irish heritage is fun and family friendly. 11:45 a.m. March 17. Free. Cincinnati Public Library Atrium, Main Branch, 800 Vine St., Downtown. 513-369-6900, www.cincinnatilibrary.org/main.

Fab Ferments Kombucha Keg Party: Help Park Vine fulfill its wish to serve kombucha, fermented tea, on a regular basis. Sample Fab Ferments kombucha on tap and La Terza coffee, listen to live music and grub on some vegan appetizers. Contributions fund new drink bar equipment. Co-sponsored by CicyVeg.com. $5 suggested donation. 6-9 p.m. March 17. Park Vine, 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine.

St. Patrick’s Day Beer Dinner: Irish or not, if you love all things beer you’ll want to make reservations for this beer dinner hosted by The Summit and Hoperatives. Munch on beer-cheese nachos, beer-braised short ribs, beer-braised mussels and assorted desserts. The only thing they won’t have is green beer. Cost is $40; $35 for Hoperatives members. Reservations should be made by calling 513-569-4980. 6:30 p.m. March 17. The Summit, 3250 Central Pkwy., The Midwest Culinary Institute, Cincinnati State College, Cincinnati. 513-569-4980, www.opentable.com/the-summit.

Tommy Sands and His Irish Band: Tommy Sands, Ireland’s ambassador of song and peace activist, and his family are joined by Cincinnati/Nashville’s Dave Hawkins for a legendary evening of Irish music, dance and fun. 6:30 p.m. March 18. $20; $25 at the door. College Hill Presbyterian Church. 5742 Hamilton Ave., College Hill. 513-541-5676.

Mythica: Join this award-winning Celtic band at a special St. Patrick’s-themed benefit concert. Self-dubbed “Celtic fusionists,” the members of Mythica are in their element while fusing Irish and Scottish instruments and influences with genres like Breton, Funk, Hawaiian and Chicha (South American surf rock).$10 suggested donation. 7:15 p.m. March 18. New Thought Unity Center, 1401 East McMillan St., Clifton. 513-961-2527.

Celtic Arts Festival: Get your green on by indulging in Irish myths, music performances, arts and crafts, dance demonstrations, face-paintings and loads of other entertainment for the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. For more information, visit www.fairfield-city.org/cac. 1-5 p.m. March 19. Free. Fairfield Community Arts Center, 411 Wessel Drive, Fairfield. 513-867-5348.



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