From black hags to the Devil himself, listed below are Ireland’s most notorious and haunted places
Ireland is a beautiful country rich in legends of mythical creatures and ancient deities. Practically every location has some story attached to it, but not all of the tales are whimsical legends of leprechauns and faeries. There’s a darker history hidden behind the fanciful folklore that’s passed around. Stories of haunted castles, tragic deaths, and screaming banshees abound in Ireland with equal measure.
10. Huntington Castle, Clonegal
Located in Clonegal Co. Ireland, Huntington Castle has a long history of haunting activity that includes a wandering ghostly monk, marching soldiers, the spirit of a Bishop and even an ethereal cat! Construction of the castle began in 1625 as a tower house, but work on the current structure began in 1649.
The castle has seen several owners over the years, but the most notable owners of interest are Olivia Durdin-Robertson and her brother Lawrence. The eccentric duo, who were both mystics with interests in the occult, converted the basement of the castle into an Egyptian temple to the Goddess Isis. They decorated the temple with a variety of spiritual and mystical artifacts, so much so that the chambers seem to exist in another realm entirely. There is even an ancient well within the temple. It’s thought that the well dates back to the time of the Druids and is dedicated to the Goddess Brighid, daughter of the Irish Father God Dagda. It’s believed that the sacred waters of the well have healing properties.
One of the most sighted ghosts of Huntington Castle is a lone soldier who comes knocking at the castle door. It’s thought that he served in the Cromwell invasion and that he wore an enemy uniform in order to pass by undetected through enemy territory. When he knocked on the door of Huntington Castle where his fellow soldiers were waiting, they assumed that he was one of the enemy soldiers and shot him dead. His restless spirit continues to knock, and his pale face can sometimes be seen through the grille.
9. Charleville Castle, Tullamore, County Offaly
Built in 1798 for Earl of Charleville William Bury, Charleville Castle is so heavily haunted that it has been featured on several paranormal reality shows including Scariest Places on Earth and Most Haunted. The castle has played host to psychics, paranormal investigators, and other visitors, with many giving reports of unusual activity during their visit, including disembodied voices, ethereal music, the sounds of children playing, and sightings of what might be the ghosts of Druids wandering the grounds.
The castle itself is shrouded in trees and is built on land that was once the site of an ancient monastery and it’s believed that before the monastery was built that the location was a sacred Druid site. Numerous people have claimed to have seen hooded figures drifting about, possibly the ghosts of long-dead monks or even Druids. There have also been rumors that the Earl of Charleville was involved in devil worship, and that he deliberately chose this specific location for his castle to take advantage of the energy of ley lines that were prominent there.
The most sighted ghost of Charleville Castle is Harriet, the young daughter of one of the Earls of Charleville. Harriet was playing on the stairs and attempted to slide down the banister. She lost her balance and died when she hit the stone floor below. Many visitors of the castle have claimed to have felt a rush of cold air when they’re traversing the stairs, and others have actually seen the ghost of the little girl on the steps. She has also been sighted scampering around the castle with a small ghostly boy, but no one is sure who he might be. While overall the two are thought to be harmless, there is an account of a young girl being locked in a cupboard in the nursery. It’s thought that the ghostly children were the cause of the event. On the flip side, when Bridget Vance purchased the castle in the 1970s, her 3-year-old son disappeared one day. After searching the castle Vance finally found the boy waiting at the bottom of the staircase. He told his mother that a little boy and a little girl helped him to make his way safely down the steps. Bridget Vance also reported seeing a procession of robed figures who circled around her bed before offering her a blessing.
Elemental spirits also plague Charleville Castle. A particular balcony is kept locked because it is thought to be the territory of an elemental or nature spirit, or possibly even a conglomeration of spirits that have assimilated into one collective being. A psychic has warned the owner of the castle that this entity is a dangerous being, and wouldn’t hesitate to harm any who enter its space. The balcony remains locked at all times.
8. Dundermot Mound, Ballymena, County Antrim
At first glance, Dundermot Mound is an attractive little hill surrounded by trees, but the history of this mound is much darker than what its appearance would suggest. According to legend, Dundermot Mound is one of two gateways to Hell that are located in Ireland, with the other location being located in a cave that was used by Saint Patrick.
It’s thought that the site was once used for ritual sacrifices and the conjuration of entities and creatures, which may be the cause of spectral lights that are seen hovering in the area at night. Legend states that it’s dangerous to get too close to the mound when the lights are spotted because the very earth can open up and swallow the hapless victim, carrying them away to the Underworld. The first evidence of this occurring happened in 1798 to an unfortunate individual named Thomas McHarg, now commonly referred to as Black Tom.
Tom and his daughter were traveling by coach on their way to Derry one evening when they were overcome by a terrible storm. Tom decided that he wanted to take a safer route, so he first checked to see if the bridge at Glarryford was intact. When he found that the storm had taken out the bridge, Tom and his daughter headed in the direction of Dundermot Mound. As he drove past, the coach along with the four horses, Tom, and his daughter were pulled into the mound and swallowed up, never to be seen again. Sometimes a ghostly coach along with four black horses can be seen in the vicinity. Locals say that if Black Tom approaches you in his coach and asks if the bridge is out, you should never answer him. It’s thought that those who do will die within a year of the encounter.
7. Duckett’s Grove, County Carlow
The ruins of Duckett’s Grove have a long history of unusual lights, strange sounds, and phantom figures. The location is so haunted that it was featured on Destination Truth, and though no one has lived at Duckett’s Grove since 1916, it’s thought that the ghostly forms of the Duckett family still roam the property even today.
Originally, Duckett’s Grove was an unpretentious two story family home, but as the family grew so did Duckett’s Grove. In 1830, work began to transform Duckett’s Grove into a Gothic revival manor, complete with towers and gargoyle-like grotesques to finish the striking building. The owner, William Duckett, hosted lavish parties at the property until his death in 1908. Unfortunately, his widow couldn’t maintain the establishment and abandoned it in 1916.
There have been a lot of reports of ghostly activity by those who visit Duckett’s Grove. The most frightening entity reported is the Duckett’s Grove Banshee. Many Irish families claim to have Banshees attached to their family line. Most of the time the wail of a Banshee is seen as a warning of a death in the family, but sometimes these creatures can be more malicious. The Duckett’s Grove Banshee is the result of a curse placed on the manor and the Duckett family itself. It was placed by the mother of a young woman who had been involved with William Duckett. She was riding a horse on the family grounds and died when she was thrown from her saddle. Her mother wanted the family to suffer, blaming them for her loss, so she sent the Banshee to bring down pain and suffering on the Ducketts. Legends state that those who hear the Banshee wailing from the tower will suffer a family tragedy or even death. Two accounts of the Banshee’s work include a woman who heard the wailing and then suddenly died while on the grounds and a gardener whose mother died the morning after he heard the Banshee’s cry.
6. Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara, County Galway
Renvyle House has a turbulent history that has led to it being considered one of the most haunted locations in Ireland. It was originally built as a private country home in 1883 by the Blake family but was destroyed in the 1920s by the IRA. It opened its doors again in the 1930s, this time as a hotel, but was again destroyed, this time by fire. The hotel was rebuilt yet again and reopened in the 1950s.
Many of the ghosts at Renvyle House are terrifying, but the most famous ghost is that of poet W.B. Yeats. He stayed at the hotel on numerous occasions and apparently liked it so much that he never left. Visitors report seeing his apparition wandering around the property, especially the library. It’s interesting to note that when Yeats was alive, whenever he and his wife visited the hotel the paranormal activity there seemed to increase. The Yeats eventually held a séance at the hotel and were visited by the apparition of a teenage boy with red hair and pale skin. It was thought that the apparition was that of Harold Blake, one of the original inhabitants of the house.
Other occurrences at the Renvyle House Hotel include disembodied dragging footsteps, sheets being yanked off of beds, chilling gusts of cool air, and lights turning on and off by themselves. An exorcism has even been attempted at the Renvyle House Hotel, but when Evan Morgan (now Lord Tredgar) tried to banish the spirits located there, he was thrown to the ground by an unseen presence during his attempt.
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