Ireland may be known as the Island of Saints and Scholars. However, it is also a country known for its myths, magic, and the paranormal. In fact, ask any Irish person if they have any ghost stories to share and they’ll be more than happy to oblige.
5 Notorious Haunts of Ireland
Just imagine touring ancient castles known for ghostly apparitions or even hearing stories about ancient satanic clubs. It is not surprising why many thrill-seekers and paranormal investigators consider Ireland as a go-to destination for anything otherworldly.
Top 5 Notorious Haunts of Ireland
Are you looking for the most haunted places in Ireland? You are in luck because I’ve put together a list of places that are known for their ghostly hauntings. I’ve got to say that it is tough narrowing down my choices. After all, Ireland is home to haunted castles and more.
That said let’s take a look at the most notorious haunts that you should visit in Ireland.
If you will take a look at Irish history, you will find that Leap Castle is the most haunted castle in the country. In fact, it has gained worldwide attention thanks to shows like “Ghost Adventures” and “Most Haunted”. This is not surprising since the castle’s long history is steeped in betrayal and murder.
There is the Red Lady who has been seen roaming the halls clutching a knife in Victorian clothing. The story goes that the young girl was raped by the former owners. She then got pregnant but her baby was killed which led to her taking her own life as well. Locals believe that she is still seeking revenge.
However, the most tragic story here happened between the brothers Teighe and Thaddeus O’Connell. After the death of their father, the two were locked in a battle for succession. The older brother, Thaddeus, was saying mass with a priest when his brother charged in and killed him with a knife. Today, the chapel where Thaddeus died is known as the Bloody Chapel.
Aside from the ghostly apparitions, the locals also talk about the creature they call “It”. This creature is just about the size of a sheep with a face that appears to be decaying. You will know when it is around because it is often accompanied by the smell of sulfur and the scent of decaying flesh. There were even phantom sounds heard on the castle grounds.
Meanwhile, Loftus Hall in County Wexford is the most haunted house in Ireland with good reason. Local ghost stories claim that the Devil was haunting the property. This may be because Loftus Hall was constructed during the time of the Black Death which was in 1380. However, the legend of Loftus Hall dates back to the 18th century.
A mysterious stranger called in on the Tottenham family who owned the house back then. Their daughter, Anne Tottenham, realized that the caller was the Devil himself. She determined this because one of the feet of the stranger was a cloven hoof.
Afterward, the stranger disappeared by going through the roof. This led to Anne becoming hysterical which embarrassed the family. She ended up getting locked in her own room where she died several years after.
In fact, it is the same Anne who haunts the home. Not only that, but the property itself is a scene of poltergeist activity too. As for the Devil, they said that it left its mark on the roof. You can see it when you join a guided tour of this hall. The current owners are the Quigleys who improved the castle.
Kilmainham Gaol Prison
Aside from being one of the most haunted places, Kilmainham Gaol is also the largest unoccupied prison in Ireland. The prison was used from 1796 until it was completely closed down in 1924. Today, it has become a tourist attraction where guests can get an idea of how inmates lived there back in the day. After all, everything remains the same even after all these years.
Since this is a prison, expect that several inmates actually died on the property. The most famous deaths here were those who were involved in the Easter Rising of 1916. After all, 15 of the co-conspirators were executed here.
One of them, James Connolly was shot by the firing squad while he was tied to a chair because of his broken ankle. When you visit this prison, you will find a plaque in the courtyard.
It is to commemorate those who had died within the walls of the jail. Yes, the gaol is now a museum, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any ghostly sightings here.
In fact, guests and guides have reported loud bangs, disembodied voices, and other phenomena here. Aside from that, young children felt uncomfortable while within the area. They don’t want to step inside the jail (gaol) even with adults. Some guests feel that they were being watched while exploring the prison.
As for psychics and ghost hunters, they do mention an evil presence on the property.
Meanwhile, if you are in Dublin and are looking for haunted spots in the area, then check out Malahide Castle. The former fortress also functioned as a home for more than 800 years. This is a popular tourist attraction in Dublin because of its different architectural styles. Not only that but it is also known to house different ghosts.
Although the castle itself is haunted by several spirits, the official count is that there are five resident ghosts here. One of the well-known ghosts here is the ghost of Sir Walter Hussey or Lord Galtrim. The former Lord was killed on the day of his wedding back in the 15th century. His ghostly apparition is often seen along the halls, clutching his side where he was struck by a spear.
Aside from Lord Galtrim, another popular ghost is Puck the Court Jester. According to the stories, Puck of Malahide fell in love with Lady Elenora Fitzgerald while she was incarcerated in the castle by King Henry VIII.
The court jester was found dead outside the castle walls one snowy night with a knife to his heart. Stories abound that before he died, Puck vowed that he would haunt the castle with his last breath. Only until the Lord of the castle marries the common people will he stop.
Of course, another ghost worth mentioning here is Lady Maud Plunkett. She has been seen in the castle wearing her wedding dress while chasing her husband, a former Lord Chief Justice. Aside from that, there is also the White Lady who has a painting of her in the castle.
And finally, there is Miles Corbett who was a previous owner. He was hung on the property.
Hell Fire Club
Lastly, there is the Montpelier Hill or more commonly known as HellFire Club. This old hunting lodge, which lies in the Dublin mountains in County Dublin, has a strange history. First of all, this large stone structure was founded in the 18th century by Richard Parsons. He was the first Earl of Rosse and was also a Freemason. The lodge was built on a Neolithic passage tomb where members of the club used to attend their meetings.
In fact, the Hell Fire Club members were composed of Lords and other noblemen who agreed to walk on the wild side. If they have a motto, it is mostly likely “Anything Goes”. After all, the members were free to act upon their fantasies.
For example, they lived a life of debauchery and even held Satanic rituals. Local legend stated that the ultimate goal of the members of the Hell-Fire Club was to summon Satan in their meetings.
Of course, this means that the group dabbled in the Black Arts or Black Magic. They said that they also conducted animal sacrifices. If it is to be believed, the group also practiced cannibalism. According to stories, the member sacrificed and then consumed a servant girl in an attempt to summon Satan. How chilling! In addition, there were several black cats seen roaming the property.
More Haunted Places in Ireland
Did you think that the ones above are the only haunted places in Ireland? Surprise! There are several more that I want to share here. And yes, you are welcome!
The picturesque castle of BallyGally in County Antrim in Northern Ireland is home to several ghosts. The most well-known of them is Lady Isabella Shaw. She has been seen knocking on doors at night. Even though she is one of the active entities here, she is a friendly ghost.
Lady Shaw is simply looking for her child who was taken from her by her cruel husband. Legend has it that Lord Shaw locked up his wife in a tower after she gave birth to a male heir. It is not clear whether she was pushed or jumped to her death. Today, guests can climb up the spiral staircase to where the Lady was incarcerated. This is known as the Ghost Room.
This castle is most likely the one with the most salacious history. After all, it was once run by Red Mary. She was best known for her red locks and her fiery temper. Stories stated that she often hung her servant girls by their hair from the windows until they die. Aside from that, Red Mary was wed several times.
One of her husbands died after she repeatedly kicked him in the stomach. In fact, she murdered her third husband too. This is why it was not surprising that she made plenty of enemies.
Eventually, she was captured and locked in a hollowed-out tree. She died of starvation. It is said that her ghostly figure still roams the castle and at times her screams were heard.
The Abbey of the Black Hag
Meanwhile, this medieval convent has a dark history. The former prioress was said to practice the Black Arts. She later died in an area called the Black Hag’s Cell. This was named after the blackness of her face.
Aside from that, there was also the ghost of Countess Desmond. It was believed that she was buried alive here. She was discovered after seeing her ghost which prompted an inspection of the grave. They found her finger bones that were worn out after trying to claw her way out of the coffin.
Here lies a grave unlike any other. There was a man named Abhartach who was buried upright and upside down. They said that he was the first-ever vampire. Also, he might be the inspiration for Dracula by Bram Stoker. Locals rarely venture near his grave, especially after dark.
The land was bathed in blood in 1691. This was after the Williamites laid waste to the Jacobite army. In fact, what was left were the broken bones and decapitated bodies of the army. Unfortunately, they remained there until they started to decay.
Nowadays, this battlefield stands as a cemetery of sorts. In fact, you can hear the screams of the dying here.
A young woman took her own life after her husband was murdered on the night of their wedding. It appeared that it was the bride’s father who killed her husband. He later killed himself upon hearing of his daughter’s suicide. Her ghostly figure was still seen in the fort located in County Cork.
Wicklow Gaol was built in 1702. It was also known as the “gates of hell” and rightly so. Thousands of inmates died within it because of the Great Famine. Add to it the inhospitable condition of the gaol and it is not surprising why many died here. Today, it is a tourist attraction but they said that the ghosts of the inmates still roamed there.
Meanwhile, this house was built in the 19th century by Francis Buen for his bride. Aside from that, the ghost of a serving girl was often seen here. It appears that she was struck by lightning one stormy night. Those who visited said that her charred body was often seen on the upper floor where she died.
This castle was built ages ago, but the land itself has an interesting history. In fact, it was the stomping grounds of druids. Unfortunately, William Bury built his home on top of it. Aside from the ghostly figures of druids, the ghost of a little girl was seen here frequently.
She fell to her death on the stone stairs while she was playing. It was said that she could be heard screaming and laughing at night.
Meanwhile, this castle remains a favorite for many. This is because of the friendly ghosts residing here. One particular ghost who remains here is Norman Leslie. After his death during World War I, his ghost was said to appear here.
Ross Castle in Lough Sheelin in County Meath has an interesting story. It appears that it was home to a real-life Romeo and Juliet. Sabina Nugent met and fell in love with Orwin O’Reilly. However, her parents forbade their union.
The two decided to elope but their boat overturned that led to Orwin’s death. Heartbroken, Sabina locked herself in a tower at Ross Castle until she fell into a deep sleep and died. She is seen walking in the middle of the night in search of her lover.
Meanwhile, the ghost of Lady Margaret Hodnett is often seen here. She was a beautiful woman who had many suitors. One of them is Clon de Courcy who decided to occupy the lands around the castle. It took him a year to do this but the beauty of Lady Margaret faded.
He left her and she smashed all the mirrors in the castle. She can still be seen polishing mirrors here until they shone.
So as you can see…
As you can see, there are plenty of ghostly places in Ireland. Among these are Crumlin Road Gaol and Grace Neill’s Bar. Another is the Grand Opera House in Belfast. Aside from that, there is also St. Michan’s Church which is known not only for its ghosts but also for its mummies.
This includes that of a 400-year-old nun and others. In addition, there is the Carrickfergus Castle which was the home of John de Courcy. There are more to discover here, especially places that were standing during the 15th century and 16th century.
If you want to learn more about the dark stories in Ireland, wait until Halloween or Samhain. You will hear tall tales about the incident sidhe which is an Irish word for fairy. Not only that but you’ll be pointed to haunted castles and homes to explore too. If you are ready to go ghost hunting then you definitely need to check this blog post.