So for the week that’s in it we have decided to give you a list of the scariest places to go galavanting in Ireland. Ireland, as we all know, is a country rich in history and stories, so it’s no surprise that some of these stories are pretty frightening. If you are not a believer in the spirit world then fear not, all of these places are still pretty amazing to visit. If you are thinking of somewhere to visit this weekend then here is the lowdown of Ireland’s scariest destinations.
Belvelly Castle, Co Cork
Belvelly castle is situated just off the bridge that links Cobh to Co Cork. Its a 14th century tower house which has had many owners down through the years and was only recently sold again. The castle was originally built by the Hodnett family and Margaret Hodnett was apparently a right looker. She was a bit of a heart breaker and she had the reputation for leading guys on and then dropping them again like hot potatoes. One particular man though fell for her in a big way- Clon Rockenby. Margaret was constantly casting poor Clon aside and then calling on him again when she got bored with her latest conquest. Clon eventually got fed up with this carry on and got together an army to lay seige on the castle for 3 years (he must of been seriously love sick!) until the family were starved into submission. When Clon entered the castle after the surrender Margaret was skin and bone and didn’t really look her best. She was devastated with her reflection in her precious mirror, which Clon then smashed in a fit of anger. Clon died at the hands of Margaret’s brother at the end of the siege but poor old Margaret was never the same. She died in isolation in the castle years later surrounded by her mirrors. Margaret is said to haunt the castle ever since and has been spotted rubbing the stone where her precious mirror once stood. Bit vain is our Margaret!
Ducketts Grove, Co Carlow
Duckett’s Grove is situated in Co Carlow, not far from Castledermot, just off the M9. Its a beautiful gothic castle complete with its own gardens that Carlow county council are currently renovating. You can visit the castle and the beautiful gardens all year around. The castle apparently has its own banshee! We have all heard of the Irish Banshees who forewarn people of a near death with a wail. Ducketts grove banshee is said to be that of a young farmers daughter who was having an affair with a member of the Duckett family. She died while out riding her horse and her mother put a curse on the Duckett family after her daughters death. Locals are said to have heard the Banshee wailing from the tower of the castle for two days straight and straight after one of the workers dropped dead on one of the paths. Another man saw and heard the banshee in the gardens and his mother died the next day. Spooky!
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
One of Ireland’s most famous visitor attractions, Kilmainham Gaol holds a lot of history behind its walls. It’s probably better known as the place where the 1916 rebels were held after the rising and the place where most of them ended their days. Its no surprise then that there have been a few strange happenings in the Gaol. During the restoration of the Gaol in the 1960’s many of the workmen encountered the sound of footsteps in the empty corridors, unexplained gusts of wind that would sweep them off their feet in the dungeon area and lights coming on all by themselves! If the gaol is haunted by the brave men that fought for our independence then I reckon they have the right to do whatever they want! Kilmainham Gaol is open all year around and the entry fee is €8 for adults (cheaper if you buy online).
Loftus Hall, Co Wexford
Now this is a place I really want to visit, however it is only open at certain times of the year at the moment. The house is situated on the Hook peninsula in Co Wexford, about half an hour from Newross. The house is said to be haunted by the Devil Himself (good god!) and by a young woman- Anne Tottenham. The story goes that one night in the 1600’s a ship docked at hook head lighthouse (only up the road) and a young man called to the house for shelter. Anne welcomed him in and the two became quite close. One night however the two were playing cards when Anne bent down to pick up some dropped cards from the floor. She was horrified to discover that the man had a cloven foot. When she stood up the man blasted through the roof leaving a large hole after him. Anne spent the rest of her days tormented in the tapestry room curled up in a ball. Its said that when she died that she was buried in this position. In 2014 a photo went viral on the internet that was taken by a man that was visiting the hall. It shows a young woman at the door of the house and a older woman near her. The ghost of Anne Tottenham maybe? Check out the special tours that are running for Halloween on their website below.
Leap Castle, Co Offaly
Leap castle is another one for the bucket list. Just 4 miles north of Roscrea the castle has a rich history of paranormal activity. It was built around the 15th century and was the residence of the O’Carroll Clan. When the head of the family died in 1532 there was a serious bust up between the two brothers to see who would take control of the castle and the lands. One of the brothers was a priest and while he was saying mass one day in the church, the other brother burst through the doors and killed him with his sword. The chapel is hence called the bloody chapel and the murdered brother is said to be one of the ghosts haunting the castle today. Sean Ryan is the current owner of Leap Castle and he has experienced many strange happenings during the restoration work. Sean does tours of the castle and can be contacted through the website.
Charles Fort, Kinsale, Co Cork
Charles fort in situated just past the village of Summercove in Kinsale harbour. The fort was built back in the 1600’s to protect the harbour from attack. It was controlled by the British until 1922 when it was handed back over to the Irish goverment and finally restored in the 1970’s. Its a beautifully historic place to visit but it has quite a sad story to tell. The story goes that one of the touring officers in Charles fort married a local girl from Kinsale. On the night of their wedding they were to stay in the fort as the new groom was on duty. However the poor fella had obviously a few too many drinks and he fell asleep. The commander of the fort (who was coincidentally the brides father) was doing his rounds that night and found the sleeping soldier. The penalty for falling asleep was a bullet through the heart. Only after he fired his gun did the commander realise he was after killing his new son in law! He was so ravaged by guilt that he threw himself off the battlements to his death. His daughter awoke to look for her new husband and found his bloody body. She then realised that her father was also dead and she decided to jump to her death also. The Lady in white of Kinsale is still seen around the fort (she has appeared to children apparently) and walking through the streets of Kinsale at night. Charles fort is open all year round and admission is only €4 for adults.
Charleville Castle, Co offaly
Charleville castle is situated just outside Tullamore in Co Offaly and is another
beautiful Gothic style castle to visit in Ireland. The castle has a long and varied history but the one that stands out is the one of Harriet, daughter of the 03rd Earl of Charleville. Harriet tragically died as a result of a fall down the main staircase in the castle. She was only 8 years old. She is still said to occupy the castle and many people have said they have seen her or felt her presence. Check out their website for opening times.
Ross Castle, Co Meath
Ross Castle is situated along the shores of Lough Sheelin in Co Meath, not far from Mountnugent in Co Cavan. The castle is a B+B today and offers a beautiful relaxing spot overlooking the lake. Well relaxing until you come accross the ghost of Sabina Nugent- the daughter of the black baron (her father was not well liked and was known for being a mean spirited man). Sabina met and fell in love with Orwin O’Reilly (a good Cavan name). Orwin was the son of an Irish cheiftain, and as Sabina was the daughter of an English Lord, they knew they could never be together. They decided to elope. However on the night they were sailing away accross the lake (to westmeath??) their boat got in trouble. Sabina was saved from the water but poor Orwin drowned. Sabina died soon after – supposedly of a broken heart. She has been seen roaming around the castle in search of her true love.
Malahide Castle, Dublin
Malahide castle is one of the oldest in Ireland and dates back to 1175. The castle is open all year round and boasts some amazing gardens also. Not content with being haunted by one ghost, Malahide is actually haunted by 5 ghosts. The most tragic of them being “Puck”. Puck was the jester of the castle but he foolishly fell in love with one of the prisoners that was being held in the castle. This obviously was not appropriate and he was found close to the castle walls ,stabbed through the heart. Before he died he vowed to haunt the castle until one of the Talbots (the family who owned the castle) married one of the lay people. I don’t think that ever actually happened so Puck has been seen walking around the grounds of the castle and gardens and even at the windows of the castle!
I hope I haven’t scared you too much. If you are planning a drive this weekend there are so many spooky tours and halloween themed parties all over the country-for adults and children. For those of you brave enough to stay overnight in one of these haunted houses, I salute you. I don’t think I could do it without wetting myself!
I have attached all the links to the destinations above. As always- Happy Gastly Galavanting xxx