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hungry grass


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[Ir. féar gortach, fód gortach].

A belief in Irish oral tradition of unknown antiquity, perhaps from Famine times (c.1846–8), of an enchanted tuft of grass that leaves those unfortunates who tread upon it with a hunger that cannot be satisfied. A lesser-known tradition speaks of the fear gortach [hungry man] who begs for alms and rewards those who favour him. Also known as fairy grass. A frequent allusion in 20th-century Irish literature, e.g. Donagh MacDonagh's poems The Hungry Grass (London, 1947), and Richard Power's novel The Hungry Grass (London and New York, 1969). See also FÓIDÍN MEARAÍ.

Subjects: Religion.


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