This film is part of Free

The Hungry Grass

After one hundred years what will it take to finally satisfy the hungry grass?

Amateur film 1981 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


What will become of the American who crossed the seas to visit his ancestors’ graves? After reading his own name on a tombstone will things take a turn for the worse? Never underestimate the perils of sketching in a graveyard, perhaps that uneasy presence is not just an overactive imagination. Take care next time you walk through the long grass after watching this film it will never feel the same again.

There are several tantalising versions of the hungry grass myth. Known as féar gortach in Gaelic the hungry grass ‘cursed’ those who dared to tread on its mischievous stalks with insatiable and perpetual pangs of hunger. William Carleton believed that it was planted by fairies whilst other say that it grew wherever people died during the famine. Archie Reid was a History teacher and prolific film maker. He won several awards including the IAC Trophy in 1981 for creative use of sound in this film. You can find some of his gems on the Britain on Film map ranging from the delightfully absurd to intimate portraits of his home town.