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Haunted Ireland

The Most Haunted Castles in Ireland

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
Ross Castle in Oldcastle photo

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.

Leslie Castle haunted castles in Ireland
Castle Leslie in Glaslough

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 haunted castles in Ireland
Charleville Castle in Tullamore
Charleville Castle haunted castles in Ireland
Charleville Castle by Sebastian Dooris under the Creative Commons License (also in feature photo)

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 haunted castles in Ireland
Wicklow Gaol Wicklow Town

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 haunted castles in ireland
Athcarne Castle in Co Meath by my friend Ed of Visions of the Past

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 haunted castles in ireland
Dunluce Castle in Co Antrim Northern Ireland

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 haunted castles in ireland
Malahide Castle Malahide Ireland

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 haunted castles in ireland
Leap Castle in Roscrea

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 themOriginally 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

Planning a trip to Ireland I can recommend these fine hotels .

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.

pinning pleasure

Haunted Castles in Ireland
These haunted castles in Ireland will scare your pants off. Some you can even stay the night at! All but one of these are public. The private residence can be visited by appointment.

Which haunted castles in Ireland have you explored? Do you have a haunted tale to tell? Share your story with us in the comments below!

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

2 thoughts on “The Most Haunted Castles in Ireland

  1. Hi! The picture you have for Ross Castle is not the Ross Castle that is a bed and breakfast. There are two Ross Castle’s, My friend and I stayed at the B&B, I think it is in County Meath, but the scariest thing we saw was all the spiders behind the bed!
    Also visited Wicklow Gaol. And have been to Leap to visit Sean Ryan twice. We also stayed at Cabra Castle, it is suppose to be haunted to.

    1. Thank you, this is a common mistake apparently, two Ross Castles, who would’ve guessed. Cabra is nice, I’ve been there as well. I think Dromoland is one of my favorites. Ballyseede as well is lovely. I love haunted castles!!!

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