1Wood-Martin, W. G. Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland. Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. 1902. 225.
The fear gorta ("man of hunger") is a phantom resembling an emaciated human. Fear gortach, "hungry grass," a patch of dead grass which appears where someone has died of hunger. Anyone who walks across it gets the same sickness. "According to Yeats' Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry the fear gorta walks the earth during times of famine, seeking alms from passers-by. In this version the fear gorta can be a potential source of good luck for generous individuals." (Wikipedia)