Nicknamed the Emerald Isle, Ireland is well known for its beautiful landscape. Countless people visit Ireland to admire the vast greenery and the beauty of the country.
In addition to having one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Ireland is also famous for its frightening paranormal activity. In fact, it is known as Europe’s most haunted country. While there are many places throughout Ireland that are known to be haunted, today we’re going to look at 10 that reportedly host the highest level of spooky phenomena.
10. Bishop Higgins’ Grave At St. Columb’s Cathedral
Alright, so to get this out of the way: this one is in Northern Ireland, not Ireland. But given it’s part of the same island – if not the same country – we’re going to include it anyway. The friendly ghost of former Bishop William Higgins has been seen many times at the St. Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry. The bishop was originally buried outside of the cathedral, but after renovations occurred in 1867, his remains were moved inside. Since his resting place was disturbed, many believe that his spirit is currently haunting the cathedral.
One morning before the power had been turned on inside the church, noises were heard coming from the electronic organ. Another time, people heard footsteps on the wooden floor of the gallery, but the door was locked so nobody could have been in there. There have also been ghostly apparitions that have appeared in pictures.
9. Bloody Chapel At Leap Castle
In 1532, a power struggle took place between two brothers. When one brother, who was a priest, was performing mass, his brother came in and plunged a sword into his heart right on the altar where he stood, ultimately giving the location its nickname of the “Bloody Chapel.”
The priest has been seen numerous times on the stairs in the chapel, and he has even been seen leaving the location. Several people have seen bright lights coming from the upper windows of the chapel late at night when nobody was inside. Some visitors have also claimed to have smelled rubber in the upper hall.
What’s even more frightening is that an oubliette (or a small chamber) in the chapel was allegedly used as a small dungeon, where prisoners were thrown in and forgotten about. When renovations were being done at the castle, apparently three cartloads of skeletons were taken out of the oubliette. It’s not surprising that the spirits of these tortured souls have been seen wandering around the chapel, as well as on the lower levels of the castle.
8. Seafield House In Sligo
In 1798, William Phibbs built a house that overlooked Ballisodare Bay in Sligo. Another member of the Phibbs family, Owen, traveled the world as an archaeologist and excavated many ancient artifacts during his trips. When he returned home, he displayed many of his findings in a gallery on the first floor of the house. And that’s when weird things started happening.
A cold draft in the air was felt by people who slept in the house, as well as hearing odd noises coming from the ceiling and walls. They had also seen a dark figure on the stairway as well as outside running toward the water. The furniture in the house had also been moved to different areas. One terrifying night, the entire house shook as if an earthquake had rattled the area.
Many years later, Jesuit priests attempted to exorcise the house by performing daily masses there, but after several weeks of trying and failing to remove whatever was haunting the home, the priests gave up and left the location.
The Seafield House is now just an empty shell, only its outer walls remaining with trees and vines growing in and around it.
7. Ballygally Castle
Ballygally Castle is located on the Antrim Coast, and is said to house several ghosts. The most popular ghost is that of Lady Isabella Shaw, who was the wife of Lord James Shaw.
As the story goes, Lord Shaw wanted a son as his heir and when his wife Isabella finally delivered a baby boy, her husband took the child from her and locked her away in a room at the top of the castle. While it is widely believed that she fell to her death while trying to escape through a window, another common theory is that her husband actually threw her.
The castle is now a hotel, and many people have claimed to see the friendly ghost of Isabella wandering around the corridors. Several guests have said that they felt a presence in the room, as well as hearing unexplained sounds at night. There is even a “ghost room” dedicated to Isabella. Some visitors have also seen a green mist hovering over the castle.
6. Charles Fort
Charles Fort is located in County Cork, and is where the famous “white lady” is said to reside. She is said to have been the beautiful daughter of the fort’s commander, and fell in love with and married a soldier who was stationed there.
After their wedding, the soldier was on watch duty that night but fell asleep at his post. Military protocol dictated that if a soldier fell asleep at his post, he was to be shot immediately. That’s exactly what happened to the newlywed soldier. Some honeymoon.
When his new bride found out that her husband had been shot dead, she couldn’t take the pain and threw herself onto the rocks below the fort, killing herself. The bride has been seen by several people around the fort over the years, especially children. One day, the daughter of a sergeant asked who the “white lady” was that was smiling at her, but her father didn’t see anyone there. Another story is that of a nurse, who saw a lady in white leaning over the bed of a child who was sleeping.
She isn’t always friendly, though, as several soldiers over the years have reported being thrown down the stairs at the fort by an unseen entity.
5. Malahide Castle
Located near Dublin, Malahide Castle is one of the oldest inhabited castles in the country and is said to have at least five spirits haunting the location.
Among the ghosts haunting the castle is a court jester named Puck, who lived in the early 16th century. While there are several legends as to what happened to Puck, the most famous story is that he fell in love with Lady Elenora Fitzgerald who was a young woman that was being detained at the castle. When it was revealed that he has in love with the prisoner, he was stabbed in the heart and just before he died he vowed to haunt the castle.
Many people have said to have seen the jester’s ghost around the castle, especially in the turret room where he had lived. One story from the 19th century involves a naval officer was confronted by a man dressed in a fool’s costume, but when the officer’s hand went through the figure he realized it was a ghost. The jester has also been seen staring at visitors, and his ghost has supposedly been caught in pictures.
There are several other ghosts that are said to haunt the castle, such as Walter Hussey, who was killed on his wedding day in 1429. His wife, Lady Maud, is also said to be a bad-tempered spirit. And because Charles Fort is far from the only place to have a beautiful “white lady,” Malahide Castle supposedly has its own, sometimes seen wearing a flowing white dress and wandering the corridors and rooms in the castle.
4. Several Ghosts Of Kilkenny
There has been a lot of tragedy and paranormal activity around Kilkenny over the years.
There was a huge flood in 1763 that caused a crowd of people to cross John’s Bridge when it collapsed, and a total of 16 people drowned in the River Nore that day. Visitors to the location have seen apparitions in the river that are said to be scratching at the banks, trying to escape their the torrent.
Another hot spot of activity in the area is Kilkenny Castle (pictured above), where people have seen a white lady (there she is again!) wandering around the gardens and river banks, as well as inside of the castle in the staircases and corridors.
The first witch trial in Ireland was that of a servant named Petronella, who was burned at the stake in 1324. There is now a pub and restaurant that sits on the location where Petronella was burned to death, and there have been many reports of people seeing a female apparition there, as well as at St. Canice’s Cathedral, along with some alleyways and in the nearby streets.
3. Loftus Hall
Loftus Hall is a huge mansion on the Hook Peninsula and is said to be the most haunted house in Ireland. The hall was originally built in the year 1350 by the Redmond family, and was later owned by the Loftus family in the 1650s and became known as Loftus Hall.
Many people believe that Loftus Hall has been visited by the Devil himself. As the story goes, one stormy night a stranger knocked on the door of the mansion seeking shelter. Sir Charles Tottenham and his family were playing cards when his daughter Anne dropped one of her cards on the floor. When she reached down to grab it, she noticed that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of normal feet. When the stranger realized that his true identity had been revealed, he shot straight through the roof and it is said that he has been haunting the location ever since.
The young woman, who never recovered from what she saw, entered into a state of shock and was locked up in the tapestry room. She died just a few years later. Even after her death, her family and the servants reported seeing her apparition roaming around the mansion at night. The family had a local priest perform an exorcism on the house, but he was unable exorcise the tapestry room where the woman was kept.
Visitors to Loftus Hall have felt uneasy in certain areas of the mansion. Many people have seen and heard unexplained things throughout the house. There was even a picture that was taken by a man who was taking a tour of the location that captured two ghostly figures in a window, which are believed to be Anne and her mother.
2. The Hell Fire Club In Dublin
The Hell Fire Club was originally the site of a Neolithic passage tomb located in the mountains. In 1725, William Connolly – who was one of the richest men in Ireland – built a house on that location and used it as a hunting lodge.
After Connolly passed away, the lodge stayed vacant for several years until it was purchased by the Hell Fire Club. The members of the Hell Fire Club were known for their barbaric behavior and heavy drinking. It is said that the president of the club would even dress up like Satan. There are also several stories involving a black cat who sat at the club’s table (in the chair that was reserved for Satan himself) and had ears so pointy that they looked like devil horns.
With Satanic worship taking place at that location, it’s no surprise that people have experienced a (perceived) demonic presence while visiting the area. Some people have reported their necklaces and bracelets being pulled and sometimes even snapping in half. Others have seen the apparition of a black cat. Those who have visited the location at night have heard a woman screaming. No matter what the truth is regarding the location, one thing is certain: it’s got the most badass name on our list, hands down.
1. Crumlin Road Gaol
We started with Northern Ireland, and we’re going to end with Northern Ireland.
Crumlin Road Gaol is an old Victorian-era prison that was home to many violent criminals in Belfast and is also one of Northern Ireland’s most haunted locations.
The prison, which closed in 1996, held a total of 17 executions. In C-Wing there’s a cell called the “Condemned Man’s Cell” where a noose is still hanging, and of the 17 inmates who died there the remains of 15 are said to rest inside the prison’s walls to this day. In fact, many people have seen the ghostly apparition of a man walking around that wing.
The padded cell in B-Wing is the most terrifying spot in the entire prison, where people have been pushed and touched, as well as hearing the footsteps of a former warden walking around. D-Wing has a ghost who stands in the doorways watching visitors. This wing also has doors that slam, as well as objects being thrown.
All throughout the entire prison doors have been heard slamming, as well as countless reports of unexplained sounds. A grey figure has also been seen in the tunnels under the prison.