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An Alp Luachra (also spelt Alp-luachra or Alpluachra), also known as a Joint-eater or Just-halver,[1] is an evil, greedy fairy from Irish mythology. When a person falls asleep by the side of a spring or stream, the Alp-luachra appears in the form of a newt and crawls down the person's mouth, feeding off the food that they had eaten. In Robert Kirk's Secret Commonwealth of Fairies, this creature feeds not on the food itself, but on the "pith or quintessence" of the food.[2]

In Douglas Hyde's collection of folk tales, Beside the Fire,[3] a farmer, who was starving from an Alp-luachra, was eventually rid of the fairy. He was instructed to eat large amounts of salted meat and, when he could eat no more, lie still with his mouth open just above the surface of a stream. After having been driven to thirst by the salt, the offspring of the Alp-luachra, and eventually the Alp-luachra mother herself, jumped into the water.


  1. ^ Briggs, Katharine (1976). An Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York: Pantheon Books. p. 243 ISBN 0-394-73467-X
  2. ^ Kirk, Robert (1933) [1893]. The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies. Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-46611-8
  3. ^ Beside the Fire: