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Leprechauns' Gold
Directed by: Jules Bass
Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Written by: Romeo Muller
Music by: Maury Laws
Narrated by: Art Carney (as Blarney Kilakilarney)
Release date: December 23, 1981
Running time: 25 minutes
Original network: ABC

The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold is a 1981 Rankin/Bass Christmas special, featuring the vocal talent of Art Carney.


One Christmas season, a young cabin boy named Dinty Doyle is sailing home on his ship “The Belle of Erin” to Dublin, Ireland in time for the holidays. But the day before he arrives his captain forgets to put up a Christmas tree, as he always has one on board for the holiday season. He sends Dinty to a mysterious uncharted island with the task of digging up a lone pine tree on the beach to use as the ship’s Christmas tree. While digging up the tree, the Kilakilarneys, a clan of leprechauns, secretly watch Dinty from the grass. They all fear Dinty uprooting the tree, and for good reason. When the tree breaks free of its foundation, Dinty unintentionally releases Old Mag the Hag, a wicked banshee who creates a storm to celebrate her freedom.

The storm that Mag summoned also creates rainbow which leads to a patch of shamrocks. Hidden in a secret cave beneath, Dinty discovers a stash of gold, which is guarded by a leprechaun Blarney Kilakilarney who mistakes him for a common thief. After Dinty and Blarney introduce each other, Blarney then decides to tell Dinty the story of how he and his family fell out touch.

About 100 years before this point, Blarney married his wife, Faye, and they and all the other leprechauns lived happily together. He explains there are two strands of leprechauns: the Kilakilarneys (mostly males), who mine for gold, and the O’Clogjiggers (mostly female), who make magical shoes. The gold the Kilakilarneys mine attracts rainbows which are giveaways to where it’s hidden. Unfortunately, one of those rainbows brought Mag into their lives, and the greedy banshee makes several (failed) attempts to trick the leprechauns into giving her their gold. As it turns out, Mag must be given gold before Christmas, or she will permanently turn into teardrops and wash away forever. Plus, the gold cannot be stolen, or it doesn’t count.

After not getting anywhere with the Kilakilarneys, she decides to try with the O’Clojigger. She tricks Faye into thinking she’s her guardian angel and tells her to make Blarney give away all of his gold if she truly loves him, as she says gold puts an “evil spell” over those who mine it. When Blarney tries to tell her the “good fairy” was really Mag and Faye refuses to believe him, the two get into an argument. As a result, Blarney is thrown out and he threatens not to come home from the mine in the morning, which Faye tells him not to. But when Blarney arrives at the mine, none of the other Kilakilarneys show up for work. Instead, they were all converted into shoemakers by Mag. When the banshee confronts Blarney alone and tells him to give up his gold, he aggressively refuses. In frustration, Mag creates an earthquake which causes the part of Ireland that the leprechauns live on to break off from Ireland and float out to sea.

Blarney desperate to get rid of Mag permanently, decides to get help from the only person he knows can help him: Lord Patrick, the lord of the leprechauns. He summons Mag and tricks her into showing him how she can turn into tears, and if she does so, he’ll have Blarney give her his stash of gold. When she does so, he quickly commands Blarney to come to him and plant a pinecone he has atop her. Using his magic, he transforms the pine cone into a pine tree, and tells Blarney to keep the tree sturdy and ensure it confines the hag, or else Mag will return with all her powers and seek the gold once again.

Back in the present, Dinty admits to Blarney that he made the mistake of digging up Mag’s pine tree and setting her free, which shocks Blarney. To calm himself, Blarney drinks his tea, which Mag secretly, unseen by both him and Dinty, put a “potion of generosity” into earlier. Mag reveals herself to the duo, and once again tries to get Blarney to give up his gold. But instead, thinking quickly, Blarney gives his gold to Dinty instead, much to Mag’s anger. That night, after leaving Blarney’s hideout, Dinty discovers that his rowboat is gone, due to the storm created by Mag earlier that day. But then, he discovers on the shore a young girl named Colleen, who was shipwrecked and asks him to cheer her up. In response to her request, he decides to tell her about the story of the leprechauns who inhabit the island and that he was given all of Blarney’s gold, with absolutely no clue about what to do with it. Colleen claims that she has an idea: Dinty should give her the gold and she’ll have the leprechauns build a ship and take the gold back to Ireland to share with the poor folks of Killarney. Dinty gleefully agrees is a great idea and gives her all the gold. But after he does so, Colleen begins to laugh evilly and shed tears at the same time. She reveals herself to really be Mag in disguise, much to Dinty’s horror. He attempts to stand up to her, but Mag puts him into a “sleep of a hundred Christmases” before he can take back the gold and knocks him to the ground. Blarney, who was spying on the two, believes that Dinty has died.

In the morning, as Dinty lies in a dead sleep, some of Blarney’s family members, including Faye and Blarney himself, mourn Dinty’s supposed death. Faye, now realizing that she was wrong about the “angel” and how foolish she was to be tricked by the banshee, admits her foolishness and asks for Blarney’s forgiveness. He grants this and apologizes to her as well, for making his gold seem more important than his love for his wife, and the couple happily reunite once again. This act of love creates a rainbow, courtesy of Lord Patrick himself, which brings Dinty back to life, much to the leprechauns’ joy. But the rainbow leads Mag to the cave of gold, but before she can officially claim it as hers, the light of Christmas morning shines on the gold. She is too late and cries herself into a stream of tears, only to be inevitably washed away by a large tidal wave for good. Dinty and the others see that the other end of the rainbow has lead them right to The Belle of Erin. They load their gold and shoes onto the ship, and they all sail back to their home in Ireland.


Voice cast[]

  • Art Carney—Blarney Kilakilarney
  • Peggy Cass—Faye
  • Bob McFadden—Old Mag the Hag, Kilakilarney grandfather
  • Ken Jennings—Dinty Doyle
  • Gerry Matthews—Lord Patrick, Kilakilarney father, Belle of Erin Captain
  • Christine Mitchell— Colleen
  • Glynis Bieg—Kilakilarney girl
  • Frankie Moronski—Kilakilarney boy