Emerald Isle


Irish and Celtic myths and legends, Irish folklore and Irish fairy tales from Irish Gods and Monsters

What you eat, it eats too

In Ireland of old, the Alp-Luachra was one of the most dreaded of all the fairy folk. It also went by the name of Joint-eater, Just-halver, Art-Luachra, Airc-Luachra, and Doichi-Luachair. This creature made its abode in Irish streams and rivers and any place where green life grew from water.

Outside of a person it was not much to look at, being either male or female of very diminutive size and often appearing as a newt, but if it got inside you, you were in trouble! For of every bite of food eaten, the best part, the marrow or goodness of the meal, would be consumed instead by the Alp-Luachra. No matter how much you ate, it was only thinner and sicker you would get!

So it would be well to be careful not to sleep outdoors near any body of fresh water, in case one of these creatures might slither down your throat. But if you are unlucky enough to pick one up, the old stories tell of but two methods to rid yourselves of these unwanted guests.

The first is to have a strong person hold your mouth wide open, and another sitting on top of you, and put some delicious food just beyond reach of your teeth. Over time, the hungry Alp- Luachra may come out and feed, at which point you can close your mouth and make good your escape. It is not wise to touch an Alp-Luachra, for its skin causes anything it touches to become numb like stone.

The second and more violent method is to eat a great quantity of salt beef, then lie with your mouth open next to a stream or river. When the Alp-Luachra grows thirsty, it will hop out by itself and swim away. Some old stories tell of as many as thirteen of these creatures living inside a person!

Marked on the map below can be found the rumoured home of these creatures.

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