One-third of Irish people believe that leprechauns exist, according to a survey conducted by Cooley Distillery, in 2011.

Over half of respondents said they believe that leprechauns existed in Ireland in the past.

Leprechauns are small, smart and devious little characters, usually dressed from head to toe in green and with ginger hair and a ginger beard. They date back to Irish mythology and were described by many as “wee folk.” 

Normally great musicians, they can play a variety of instruments including the tin whistle, the fiddle and the harp.

The online survey was conducted ahead of the annual National Leprechaun Hunt in County Louth, in aid of Our Lady's Children’s Hospital Crumlin and local charities.

The research concluded that due to the current downturn, and the scarcity of gold, many leprechauns were forced to emigrate.

Bearing testament to this fact, leprechauns are protected under EU law thanks to the people of Carlingford, Co. Louth. 

Learn the story of the Carlingford leprechaun in the video below:

A group of lobbyists managed to get Ireland's mystical little people protected by EU Law.Getty images.