Have you ever wondered what the most haunted castles in Ireland are?
Ireland is well known for its castles. Some of the biggest and most historic castles in the world are in Ireland, but they might also be the most haunted. Some are in mint condition, some are in ruins, and some are even being used as hotels. Everyone loves a good castle, and these are the top ten most haunted castles in Ireland.
10. Leap Castle, Offaly – beware The Red Lady
Leap Castle in County Offaly is well known as being one of the most haunted castle in Ireland. The Ryan family privately own the castle, and even though access is very restricted, Leap Castle still attracts thousands of tourists every year trying to get a spook.
The O’Carroll clan who occupied this castle for many years are the reason for most of the stories and tales. Legend says that the O’Carroll clan tortured, raped, and brutally killed dozens of people here over the years. It is said that the spirits of these victims remain in the castle and have been interfering with the Ryan family ever since.
Rumour has it, The Red Lady walks the castle at night, holding a knife in the hopes of avenging the child that was stolen from her. It would give you shivers just thinking about it. This is definitely one of the most haunted castles in Ireland.
9. Clifden Castle, Galway – keep an eye out for famine ghosts
Clifden is one of the main towns in Connemara and the home of this haunted castle. The castle was built in 1818 for John D’Arcy, the local landowner, but went into decline during the great famine.
The castle is said to be haunted by the spirits of the poor and dying who took shelter in the grounds of the castle during this time. Every October there is a spooky offering in the castle which attracts lots of tourists to come and see it for themselves, or you can otherwise visit the ruins of Clifden Castle for yourself any time of year.
8. Malahide Castle, Dublin – The Lady in White haunts this spot
Malahide Castle and Gardens is a popular destination for people to go on walks or guided tours and is one of the best castles in Dublin, but not everyone knows about its haunted history. Stories of the castle, the castle dating back to the 12th century, say that the ghosts are just as much a part of the estate as the ancient woodlands and the elegant rooms.
The Lady in White and the court jester, Puck, are said to be two of the main culprits who can be found wandering the halls of the castle at night time.
7. Grannagh Castle, Kilkenny – The Countess of Granny ruled this keep
The troubled history of Grannagh Castle goes so far back that legend says the mortar used to build the castle was mixed with blood. Another legend of the castle says that the Countess of Granny, who ruled the castle, would imprison her enemies in the tunnels of the castle and let them perish.
Apparently, she also used the “Butler Knot” in their family crest to hang several local peasants purely for amusement. It isn’t hard to see why this castle could very well be haunted.
6. Tully Castle, Fermanagh – a brutal massacre stained this fortress
Tully Castle was built in the 17th century near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. Legend has it that on Christmas Day, 1641, during the Irish rebellion, the castle was burned to the ground with many people inside including women and children. If this brutal massacre did happen, then it would explain the spooky feeling many people report feeling at the castle.
5. Leamaneh Castle, Clare – Red Mary haunts these walls
Leamaneh Castle is located in the famous Burren region of County Clare. Legend has it that the ghost of Red Mary haunts the castle. It is believed that locals sealed Red Mary alive inside of a hollow tree trunk and that her spirit still haunts the grounds.
Red Mary is rumoured to have had over twenty husbands, all of which she had killed. It is easy to see why they didn’t want her around any longer.
4. Castle Leslie, Monaghan – the Red Room holds a dark history
Castle Leslie was built in the 17th century for the Leslie family but has since been converted into a luxury hotel. The Red Room is the main attraction of the castle as it is said to be haunted by Norman Leslie who died during the first world war.
Even though the Red Room has stunning views of the lake and castle grounds, it still has a spooky feeling to it because of its dark history.
3. Dunluce Castle, Antrim – these ruins hold sinister secrets
Dunluce Castle in Antrim is famous for its appearance in Game of Thrones where they renamed it to Pyke. Legend has it that the castle was repeatedly raided and attacked by bandits over the years until one English captain was captured and sentenced to death by hanging. Apparently, his spirit is still roaming the tower in which he died until this day.
2. Killua Castle, Westmeath – the Chapmans abandoned this keep in fear
Killua Castle was built in the 17th century for the Chapman family. Legend has it that the former land steward of Champan was suspected of stealing money from the Chapmans before he suspiciously drowned in a nearby lake.
The castle must have been very haunted after this as the last Chapman to live in the castle left his wife and family to move to England, change his name, and start a new life.
1. Ballygally Castle, Antrim – Lady Isabella is the ghost bound to this castle
Ballygally Castle was built in the 17th century but has since been turned into a highly sought after hotel. The owners of the hotel make the most of its haunted history and even have a specific Ghost Room.
The Ghost Room is dedicated to Lady Isabella, who is said to walk the corridors of the hotel and even knock on doors. Ballygally is definitely one of the most haunted castles in Ireland.