As the world celebrates St Patrick’s Day, people in Ireland have been left mystified by the sudden appearance of leprechaun figures on city streets.
A number of rag doll leprechauns have been left in various parts of the country. However, far from being the jolly happy go lucky leprechauns we are used to, these little fellas seem to be down on their luck.
They lie on the side of pavements flattened and with their gold coins spewing out of their pockets.
They seem to have had the stuffing knocked out of them. It is not known who left the leprechauns in their various spots or what statement they were hoping to send out.
Some people have speculated that it could be a comment on the Irish financial crisis from a new street artist such as Banksy. Banksy is a mysterious graffiti artist whose political paintings on the walls of UK streets have become famous while the public have no idea who the person behind them actually is.
In leaving the leprechauns and coins on the street, the artist in Ireland could be saying that the Irish have been flattened by the financial crisis and their money has been taken from them.
Alternatively, as the leprechauns are slumped in the position of a street beggar, perhaps it is a comment that the Irish have had to rely on bailouts from other countries in order to keep themselves afloat.
It looks as though the leprechaun is in distress as if it has been beaten up, maybe it is a statement that Ireland has been mugged by being forced to accept the bailout in exchange for certain rights.
With the timing of the leprechauns appearing just before St Patrick’s Day, the artist could be saying that while it’s all very well to celebrate a pride in Ireland, the truth is that the country is struggling.
Perhaps the artist is fed up of a cartoon like impression of Ireland being sold across the world on St Patrick’s Day.
On the other hand it could just be one big practical joke.
Can you shed any light of the mystery? What do you think the leprechauns symbolise?