Finally, gnome, leprechaun, Zwerg, nain, nanetto, havenisse, Kabouters ... - they all mean the one thing.
There is a very serious background of this figure - and actually it is more then just the one, so we have reason enough to include a brief remark and at least one picture.
Gnomes are probably one of the most beloved objects of the petty bourgeois not only in Europe, but here as well. But as well they are - if we don't take the term literally - one of the discriminated groups - dwarfism is one of the typical matters where discrimination shows its most silly side, the fear of "The Other" and the specific curiosity - Georg Simmel is still one of the protagonists in grasping the two sides in the contradicting image and labeling. (see Simmel's text in the section Literature of General Philosophical Sociological Interest).
And finally, aren't all these questions very much concerned as well with the search for the "optimum of seize" in the political debates? The struggle for recognition, sometimes lead without any hope by the smaller entities or the victory of David, who forcefully succeeded against Goliath.
And we in Ireland definitely should look further than just at the little leprechaun on the swing - sure, if you did not read the book, you surely heard of Gulliver's Travels. In the section Pleasant Side of Europe you find a link to the full text.
By the way, it is worthwhile to mention what I recently heard on the wireless - don't ask me when, don't ask me where. I nearly think it had been "Maxi" one morning on one of the Irish channels. The point was that in Germany any organisation pursued a producer of the garden gnomes. The reason was: This enterprise dared to produce ... - believe it: female garden gnomes. No, hearing this I really thought the gnomes should really be male - at least if we link the seize to the brain capacity it seems to be no reason to think of female gnomes.