I spent Christmas break hunting Liverpool’s leprechauns and this is what I discovered

What’d you do for Christmas?

Picture this; you’re shambling home one streetlamp at a time, vision booze-blurred and hazy. You pass by the University of Liverpool campus, then into Kensington. The swirling and bright LED lights on a Go Local’s “Off-License” sign catch your eye, when suddenly a shadow darts out from the corner of your vision. You turn but see nothing. All is silent. Until a squeaky giggle skips past your right ear. You turn again and see, close to the ground, peeping from behind a purple wheelie bin, a set of tiny black piercing eyes below a large white conical hat. As you recoil in horror, the small creature jumps out, throws a ball of mud into your eyes and scampers away. You may know it at this point, but you’ve just been attacked by a Kensington Leprechaun. Yes, they might exist, and that’s what I’m going to find out for myself. 

“Hogwash! Poppycock! Liverpudlian Leprechauns? What a ridiculous concept!” you cry as you shake your fist at the screen. Well, naysayers and non-believers, allow me to befuddle you with the well documented history of Liverpool’s gnome population. Allow me to clarify first that these are not the Leprechauns of popular fiction, and they most definitely do not sit at the end of rainbows in pots of gold. If there were pots of gold strewn across Merseyside, I’m sure the government would be a lot richer as a result. 

I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is: “Do these Liverpool Leprechauns exist today?” Well, that’s what I hoped to find out, so, I launched my own personal investigation into the presence of Leprechauns in Kensington today. In order to know better track and hunt these elusive goblins of suburbia I had to examine their history. Through this, I believed I would obtain a better idea of what a Leprechaun thinks like, and where they might be hiding.

Jubilee Park

The first sighting of the Liverpool Leprechauns goes all the way back to June 30th, 1964. In that day’s copy of the Liverpool Echo a reputable and professional journalist interviewed several children in the Kensington area who had reported seeing several “little men” at the Jubilee Bowling Green. This bowling neighboured a local primary school, and the children had first caught sight of the Leprechauns during playtime. The description of the creatures varied, but the consensus was that these “little men’” wore white conical hats and threw clods of dirt at one another. Of course, the creatures fled the scene after their discovery leaving no substantial evidence. Scholars today ponder what the cause of the leprechaun’s soil-y skirmish was. Were they playing, or was the Jubilee Bowling Green the battlefield for a great Leprechaun civil war?  

The following day the story sparked enough intrigue to amass hundreds of children near and around the Bowling Green, all thirsty for fairy blood. Several children threw rocks indiscriminately, while others charged around, claiming they had spotted the leprechauns themselves. One child was reportedly carrying an empty jam jar in which she proudly intended to “trap the leprechauns in”. Not every child believed that the Leprechauns were at Jubilee Park after their initial sighting. Rumours that the Leprechauns had nested themselves in the lockers of the Kensington Primary School began to spread. Paranoia and hysteria spread like wildfire. The children were so unruly, stoked by Leprechaun Fever, that the police had to set up a temporary first aid shelter, due to an influx of injuries at the time of the incident. The hunt continued until 10pm, when the children weary and gnome-less wandered on home. 

Needless to say, when I first encountered this information by way of a lecturer, I fell victim to my very own fit of Leprechaun Fever. I live in Kensington, and the place where the first reported sighting of these creatures was a mere 11 minutes’ walk away. Tirelessly, I searched the internet for clues, and found the subject had multiple articles devoted to it. Hours I spent pouring over every vague and conflicting detail. The word of some children in the 60s became gospel to me. It was after my research had concluded that I decided I should hunt the fiends myself. First, I had to kit myself up in gear fit for a true Leprechaun hunter. 

Pictured from left to right: A bundle of rocks, fit for hurling at unsuspecting Leprechauns. A hat, constructed from a first year lecture handout. Great for blending in. A bag of dirt, possibly a clod. A jar for capturing Leprechauns for further study. A big stick for when I run out of rocks. Table; not useful for investigation.

Armed and ready, I braved that treacherous 11 minute walk through enemy territory, until I reached the Kensington Bowling Green, now known as the Kensington Sports Bank. Immediately I was greeted by a large fence bordering the perimeter. “Great” I thought, “No Leprechauns will get past this baby.”

All seemed well, until I was confronted by a sign revealing my second worst fear to be true.

I say second worse because the worst case would be the Bowling Green destroyed and turned into a Pizza Hut.

Needless to say, I was disappointed. Yet again, the ownership of private property had thwarted my ambitions. As much as I would have liked to conduct my investigation regardless, I was kitted out for Leprechaun hunting, not evading the Merseyside police force. At this point I decided to go home. The hunt was over, there was no real way to tell if Leprechauns existed in Kensington anymore.

On the walk home (the 11 minute one) I pondered to myself on everything I had learned. Is a Leprechaun really the worst thing you can randomly encounter in Kensington? No, definitely not. Absolutely not. Is the evidence for these gnomes existing a bit ropey? I’m sure you can answer that yourself. But while the possibility of Leprechauns existing in Liverpool doesn’t hold up much in the cold light of day, I think Kensington is all the more interesting with this portion of history tucked away in its annals. We all know there will be no tv series in the style of “Finding Bigfoot about the Kensington gnomes, but if anyone ever proposes an obscure cryptid costume party (please someone) I know what I’m going as.

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