Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold is a 1981 animated television special produced by Rankin/Bass, featuring the vocal talent of Art Carney.



One Christmas season, a young cabin boy named Dinty Doyle is sailing home on the ship "The Belle of Erin" to his home in Dublin, Ireland in time for the holiday, but the day before he arrives, his captain sends him to a mysterious uncharted island with the task of uprooting a pine tree for them to use as a Christmas tree. Dinty sails out to the island and uproots the nearest pine tree that he finds on the island's shore which also causes him to unintentionally release an evil banshee named Old Mag the Hag, who creates a storm to celebrate her freedom. The storm that Mag summoned also created a rainbow which leads to a patch of Shamrocks with a stash of gold hidden beneath it guarded by a leprechaun named Blarney Kilakilarney, who mistakes Dinty 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 of touch.

About 100 years before this point, Blarney and his wife, Faye, lived happily together with the rest of the Kilakilarney and O'Clogjigger leprechauns, with the Kilakilarney leprechauns (mostly males) being the gold miners, and the O'Clogjigger leprechauns (mostly females) being the shoemakers, but the gold that the Kilakilarney leprechauns would mine attracts rainbows which are giveaways to where they're hidden and one of those rainbows brought Mag to their island and attempt to trick the leprechauns into giving her their gold so she won't have to permanently turn into a puddle of tears. After not getting anywhere with the Kilakilarneys, she decided to try with the O'Clogjiggers and tricks Faye into thinking she's her guardian angel and tells her to make Blarney give away all of his "evil" gold if she truly loves him. When Blarney refuses to do so, him and Faye get into an argument and Blarney threatens not to come back from the mine in the morning and she tells him to do so. But when Blarney arrived at the mine, none of the other Kilakilarneys showed up for work, and instead, they were converted into shoemakers alongside the O'Clogjiggers. Mag then confronts Blarney alone and tells him to give up his gold, but Blarney aggressively refuses and Mag, in frustration, creates an earthquake which causes the part of Ireland that the leprechauns lived on to brake 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: the leprechaun version of Saint Patrick, who summons Mag and asks her to show 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 tear spot so he can trap her beneath it and the tree it grows into. Then, back in the present moment, Dinty admits to Blarney that he dug up Mag's pine tree and set her free, which sets Blarney off. Blarney, to calm himself down, drinks his tea, which Mag secretly put a potion of generosity into, which was meant to get him to give his gold to her, but ends up giving Dinty the gold instead, who promises to never give her the gold. Dinty then leaves Blarney's hideout to find that his boat is gone. But he then finds a shipwrecked young lady named Colleen on the shore and is asked to cheer her, 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, but has no clue what he should do with it, but she claims that she has an idea, he should give her the gold and she'll have the leprechauns turn the gold into a ship so they can all sail back to Ireland together, to which Dinty gleefully agrees is a great idea and gives her all the gold. But after he does so, Colleen reveals to him that she's just Mag in a disguise and puts Dinty into "a sleep of a hundred Christmases" before he can take back the gold, which causes Blarney, who was spying on him and Colleen, to believe that he has died.

In the morning, some of Blarney's family members, including Faye and Blarney himself, mourn Dinty's supposed death. But Faye, now realizing that she was wrong about the angel, admits her foolishness, but Blarney apologizes to her as well, for making his gold seem more important than his love for his wife and the couple reunites happily once again. A short while later, a rainbow forms in the sky, which brings Dinty back to life and the leprechauns are filled with joy that Dinty isn't dead. But the rainbow leads Mag to the gold, but before she can officially claim it as hers, the Christmas morning sunrise marks her too late and she turns into tears and gets inevitably washed away be a giant wave. Dinty then realizes that the other end of the rainbow leads right to The Belle of Erin and he decides that the leprechauns should bring their shoes and gold aboard so they can be brought back to their rightful home in Ireland.



  • Arthur Rankin stated in an interview that during the holiday season when the special first aired, a promotion was planned where prizes would be buried in random places throughout the United States for children to dig up. This was scrapped because of safety concerns.

Broadcast history

The special was aired as part of ABC Family's annual 25 Days of Christmas programming block from 1999 to 2010. As with all the Rankin/Bass specials that were broadcast there, it moved to AMC's own programming event, Best Christmas Ever, in 2018.


The special was first made available on a Double Feature VHS, paired with Frosty's Winter Wonderland, in 1985 by Vestron's sub-label Lightning Video. After Vestron went bankrupt and Warner Bros. acquired the distribution rights to the post-1973 Rankin/Bass specials, Warner Home Video released The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold on an individual VHS in 1993.

Currently, the special has never had its own individual DVD release, but it was made available on Warner's Classic Christmas Favorites DVD box set in 2008, and on the Santa's Magical Stories box set in 2011, both times sharing a disc with How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Its next DVD release was in the Rankin/Bass TV Holiday Favorites Collection manufacture-on-demand DVD, released by Warner Archive on July 30, 2012; this DVD was re-released (as a pressed disc) as part of The Complete Rankin/Bass Christmas Collection box set on October 18, 2022. The special made its physical high-definition debut on the Complete Collection's Blu-ray version, released in October 2023.


Voice actor/actress Character
Art Carney Blarney Kilakilarney
Peggy Cass Faye
Bob McFadden Old Mag the Hag
Kilakilarny Grandfather
Belle of Erin Captain
Ken Jennings Dinty Doyle
Gerry Matthews Lord of the Leprechauns
Kilakilarny Father
Christine Mitchell Colleen
Glynis Bieg Kilakilarny Girl
Frankie Moronski Kilakilarny Boy
Aidan Nicolle (uncredited) unknown


External links

Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerCricket on the HearthThe Little Drummer BoyFrosty the SnowmanSanta Claus is Comin' to Town • "A Christmas Tree" • 'Twas the Night Before ChristmasThe Year Without a Santa ClausThe First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas SnowFrosty's Winter WonderlandRudolph's Shiny New YearThe Little Drummer Boy, Book IINestor, the Long-Eared Christmas DonkeyThe Stingiest Man in TownRudolph and Frosty's Christmas in JulyJack FrostPinocchio's ChristmasThe Leprechauns' Christmas GoldThe Life and Adventures of Santa ClausSanta, Baby!