It’s Creepy Time
Haunted Castles in Ireland to Scare Your Pants Off
I love Halloween for many, many, reasons. One of my favorite things to do around this time of year is research really haunted places. Since I love Ireland so much, and know there’s always a great story to be taken from the ’emerald isle’, I thought it would be really cool to look up the most haunted castles in Ireland. To my surprise, I’ve actually been to most of these!
Ireland has a long, deep history and much of that history involves bloodshed. It almost goes without saying, there are many places which are said to be haunted. Whether the deaths were tragic or self-inflicted, spirits seem to roam freely among these old castles. While there are many haunted castles in Ireland, here are a few of the more famous.
Note: All of these are either hotels or public places with the exception of Leap Castle which is private and by appointment only.
Ross Castle in Oldcastle, Ireland
This castle was built in 1533. You can stay in this haunted castle hotel if you dare! It now functions as a bed and breakfast hotel, but guests have reported hearing voices and doors moving all on their own. The spirit of the English Lord Black Baron’s daughter is said to haunt the castle. So does the ghost of Myles O’Reilly, known as The Slasher, who spent his last night here before being killed in battle in 1644. Complete details on Ross Castle haunts here.
Castle Leslie in Glaslough, Ireland
The Castle Leslie has also been updated and functions as a full-service hotel. The Red Room of the castle is the home of the ghost of Norman Leslie, who actually died far from the castle in 1914 during WWI. He is often seen looking through letters standing near the desk in the room. Other guests have reported hearing bells ringing and seen other figures wandering about the castle.
Charleville Castle in Tullamore, Ireland
Built by the Earl of Charleville in 1798, this castle is a tribute to Ireland’s victory over France. Singing, screams and laughter are heard and said to be Harriet, the 8-year- old daughter of the 3rd Earl of Charleville who died in the main staircase in 1861. She is seen as a little girl in a blue and white dress, with blue ribbons in her golden hair. You can visit this castle during open hours.
Wicklow Gaol in Wicklow Town, Ireland
This jail looks like a castle and is haunted by the spirits of both former prisoners and employees alike. You can register to take part in a night tour of this historic prison. Many prisoners died here from disease and generalized mistreatment. Visitors report being abused by some of the ghosts such as being pushed or hair being pulled. One staff member was pushed out the gates. Mists have been seen on the 2nd floor. The ghost of a former matron and a little girl have also been seen.
Athcarne Castle in Co Meath, Ireland
This castle was built in 1590. The ghost of fallen King James haunts the castle. He died in the nearby Battle of Boyne and reportedly stayed in the castle just prior to his death. Also heard are the agonized screams of soldiers who died at Boyne. There is also a ghost of a young girl who hands are dripping with blood. Get some more great info on my good friend Ed’s blog here.
Dunluce Castle in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
This castle is built at the side of a cliff. At one time, part of castle collapsed off the side of the cliff; kitchen and servants plunged into the ocean. Their screams are often heard, as if they are just now being plunged into the cold ocean. There is also a story about a soldier being lured to his death by a siren’s song. I visited this castle during my Game of Thrones film locations tour.
Malahide Castle in Malahide Near Dublin, Ireland
This castle is haunted by resident jester Huck who fell in love with a noblewoman. One night he was murdered, but vowed to haunt the castle forever. The castle was involved in much of the conflict between England and Ireland. During the time Cromwell had evicted the Talbot family, Miles Corbett committed multiple atrocities at the castle, including desecrating the abbey. He was hung, drawn and quartered for his crimes. His ghost appears in full suit of armor, then falls into four pieces.
Leap Castle “The Most Haunted Place in Ireland” in Roscrea
I had to save the best for last. Leap Castle is an interesting place with a very, very interesting story. But more interesting that that, is its owner Mr. Sean Ryan, world traveler and famous Irish whistle player. Of all my experiences in Ireland, meeting Mr. Ryan is one of the most authentic and memorable. He sat us down and told us the tales of his haunted castle while playing his whistle by an open fire. He was kind in letting us explore his family home of over twenty years, and all its haunted creepiness.
There are many spirits which haunt Leap Castle. Here is a great site which tells you about all of them. Originally built as a tower fortress to guard a strategic pass in the Slieve Bloom Mountain range, this castle was the site of many family fights of the O’Carroll family. These fights pitted brother against brother. One brother was killed as he held Mass in the chapel. Even to the general public, the O’Carroll family was a threat. One story tells of a banquet held at the castle – as soon as all were seated, the hosted slaughtered them all.
Special thanks to Killarney Hotels for sending us this way cool map
Of all the ghost encounters Mr. Ryan shared with us, the one which stuck out the most was of the child spectors who played in the castle. He told us how his daughter would get very upset that the children wouldn’t play with her. But these children were long dead. There is no doubt in my mind that of all the haunted castles in Ireland, Leap Castle is by far filled with the most restless spirits.