Beware! Here are 10 creepy places in Ireland we’d suggest you avoid after sunset.
Ireland is well known as the birthplace of Halloween, a time when the veils between the worlds of the living and the dead are said to be thinnest. Across the island, old tales of supernatural activity are retold, and even the most scenic places can take on an eerie feeling after sunset.
As the spookiest time of the year approaches once again, here are the top 10 creepy places in Ireland you should never go after dark.
10. The Grand Opera House – the Belfast Phantom of the Opera
Voted by Classic FM as one of the top 10 most haunted concert venues in the world, The Grand Opera House in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is somewhere that even the most avid theatre-lover will want to avoid after evening shows have finished.
First opening its doors in 1895, the striking theatre is famed for sightings of “The Grey Man,” a robed spectre who has been spotted roaming the stage area after the witching hour.
Address: 2-4 Great Victoria St, Belfast, Co. Antrim
9. Wicklow Gaol – jailhouse of horrors
Known as “the gates of hell,” the Wicklow Gaol is renowned for its grim history. Built in 1702, the inhospitable conditions of the institution led to the death of thousands of prisoners during the Great Famine, when disease ran ripe within its walls.
According to local legend, the tortured souls of the departed still roam the gaol today.
Address: 1 Kilmantin Hill, Corporation Lands, Co. Wicklow
8. The Hell Fire Club – a cult’s hideout
If you ever find yourself wandering the Wicklow Mountains after sunset, you may be unlucky enough to spot the desolate remains of an old hunting lodge. The lodge, built upon a Neolithic passage tomb in 1725, was once a meeting place for the infamous Hell Fire Club.
This cult, consisting of noblemen and lords, is said to have met here to practice “immoral acts” and devil-worshipping. The oppressive atmosphere of the site can still be felt today.
Address: Montpelier Hill, Co. Dublin
7. John’s Bridge – the sunken sixteen
A great flood struck Kilkenny in 1763, and John’s Bridge, which overhangs the River Nore, was fatally affected. Unable to withstand the rising current, the structure collapsed, plunging sixteen people to their deaths.
Locals still tell of eerie apparitions in the Nore at night, scratching at the banks for safety that never came.
Address: Droichead Eoin, Co. Kilkenny
6. Friar’s Bush Graveyard – an ancient burial site
Said to be Belfast’s oldest Christian burial ground (although potentially dating back to pre-Christian times), the arched Gothic gate of Friar’s Bush Graveyard is avoided by many Belfast residents at night.
Containing the mass grave of hundreds of victims of Belfast’s cholera epidemics, this walled cemetery is famed for the haunting cries many a passer-by has heard coming from behind the gate after dark.
Address: 12 Stranmillis Rd, Belfast, Co. Antrim
5. The Abbey of the Black Hag – a witch’s lair
Nestled deep within a valley, around two miles southeast of Shanagolden in County Limerick, lies the ruins of Saint Katherine’s Augustinian Abbey. The name “The Abbey of the Black Hag” is inspired by its prioress, who is said to have terrorised locals with her cruelty and practice of “black arts.”
Long after her death, most locals steer clear of the ruins.
Address: Shanagolden, Co. Limerick
4. Crumlin Road Gaol – a prison of spectres
This historical, Victorian-era jail is renowned as one of the North of Ireland’s most haunted places. Attracting thousands of visitors around Halloween, the gaol once housed some of Ulster’s most infamous criminals.
Visitors have long told tales of shadowy figures moving through the cells in the dark.
Address: 53-55 Crumlin Rd, Belfast, Co. Antrim
3. Glenuilin – a vampire’s grave
Forget Dracula; Glenuilin is said to be the final resting place of Abhartach, a “red blood sucker,” as described by druids. It was said that Abhartach could only be killed with a sword made of yew wood through the heart.
This eerie grave, where he is buried upright and upside down, is one of the top creepy places in Ireland you should never go after dark.
Address: Slaghtaverty Lane, Coleraine, Co. Derry
2. Duckett’s Grove – the banshee’s haunt
Built in 1830, this striking, gothic castle was the subject of a paranormal investigation TV show, Destination Truth. There have been numerous reports of the ‘Bean Si,’ or Banshee, being spotted in the former estate and grounds.
This ‘angel of death’ can be distinguished by her ghostly wail, which is said to reverberate throughout the ruins.
Address: Kneestown, Duckett’s Grove, Co. Carlow
1. Loftus Hall – cards with the devil
One stormy night, the lord of Loftus Hall, Sir Charles Tottenham, played cards with friends. A knock on the door interrupted the group, and Tottenham graciously invited a rain-soaked stranger inside to join.
A lady bent down to retrieve a dropped card and screamed as she caught sight of the stranger’s feet, which were cloven like that of a goat. The creature, widely believed to be the devil himself, flew upwards through the ceiling, leaving a hole that remains today.
Loftus Hall takes the cake when it comes to creepy places in Ireland you should never go after dark. However, you can still experience it without actually going there; a live stream of the infamous house is available on the hall’s website from 9 PM every night, giving anyone the opportunity to spot supernatural happenings from the safety of their home.
Address: Hook Head, New Ross, Co. Wexford
As you can see, Ireland has a rich history of supernatural folklore. Be warned, though: If you’re itching to explore these sites, we advise you to wait until the safety of daylight to do so!