In the country that began the tradition of Halloween, it’s no surprise that there’s such a bounty of terrifying areas with histories of spectral sightings.
This article will outline the top 10 most supernatural areas and buildings in Ireland that are a must-see if you’re looking to be spooked out!
10. Kinnitty Castle, County Offaly
Kinnitty is said to be haunted by a spirit that goes by the name of Hugh. Many visitors to the castle and staff are both convinced of his existence.
He has been known to communicate with the staff and even appear in solid form!
The castle has now been transformed into a 37 roomed hotel, quite the environment you’d want to spend the night in!
It’s said that the ghost Hugh was a monk, and his presence suggests that he wants to make sure his fellow monks are okay.
Apparently, one of the staff members is in constant communication with him and believes that he is a friendly spectre. Whether or not that’s true, you can find out for yourself.
9. Ballygally Castle, County Antrim
This castle was built in the 1600s and is reputed to have plenty of ghosts. One of the most famous is called Lady Isobel Shaw, who had lived in the castle.
Apparently, her husband locked her in her room and starved her. She then either threw herself out her window or else accidentally fell, who can know for sure?
But what is certain is that her spirit haunts the castle, which is now a hotel, and even knocks on guests doors!
There are countless tales of presences, and bizarre happenings that couldn’t be explained, and even a strange green fog that settled over the castle.
Why not stay in this castle yourself to see if you can hear Lady Isobel knocking on your door!
8. Cork City Gaol, County Cork
The present gaol was built to be a replacement for the old gaol that was in the middle of the city.
When it first opened it housed both male and female prisoners, but in the 1870s it was changed to a prison only for females.
One of the punishments they were given was the Treadmill. This is where five prisoners would operate a treadwheel for over twenty minutes.
It would be used to grind flour and raise water. You are allowed to tour around inside the gaol, and you can even see the old graffiti by the prisoners kept in this place in horrific conditions.
One of the most famous individuals that was kept in this gaol was the famous Cork writer Frank O’Connor.
This gaol is well worth a visit to educate yourself about the hardships that the inmates faced. There are also some interactive features within the tour that are interesting to watch.
7. The Magic Road, County Waterford
This place is not a castle, or a fort, or a mansion like so many of the others already mentioned.
On the way to the Mahon Falls in the Comeragh mountains, there’s a part of the road going uphill.
If you turn off your engine, your car will still move on up the slope, seemingly by itself.
It’s quite an unusual experience, to say the least. According to legend, the road is built right through a fairy fort, which annoys the fairies that are there.
Supposedly they’re the ones that push your car up the hill and away from their home.
This area ties in with other Irish myths and legends of fairy forts and fairy rings.
Most Irish people won’t step inside a fairy ring for fear of what the fairies would do to them!
6. Charles Fort, County Cork
A star-shaped military fort based in Cork. Constructed in the 17th century, its aim was to protect Kinsale town and its harbour. It was in use by the British army until the 1920s.
There are reenactments of battles by actors quite frequently here. This is a wonderful place for a day out as there’s so much to see.
There’s one story, in particular, that’s famous about this fort: the legend of The White Lady of Kinsale.
According to myth, a local girl married one of the soldiers in the fort, and they stayed there on their wedding night. Unfortunately, the soldier had the night watch, and he had fallen asleep due to his tiring day of celebration with his new wife.
Another soldier had found him the next day, asleep, and as was custom for soldiers who fell asleep on their watch, he shot him.
When his bride heard of his death, she threw herself from the wall of the fort.
There have been some sightings of a woman in a wedding dress wandering around the fort, and there were even stories of soldiers being pushed down staircases by an invisible force.
5. Aughrim Battlefield, County Galway
This is a small village in Galway. It is said to be one of the bloodiest battles in Irish history.
In 1691, 40,000 men were involved in a battle between James the second, and William of orange in which 7000 people were killed in the fight that only lasted one day.
One area where their blood began to pool was called the Bloody Hollow.
Their corpses were left on the battlefield for a year, unburied. Over the years, many people have reported sightings of the Jacobite soldiers in their uniform, staring into the distance, looking dazed.
There is one particular story of a soldier who was accompanied by his dog into the battle, and when he died there, his dog remained with him until he died also.
There are also several reports of the dog’s spirit sighted in the area.
4. Crom Estate, County Fermanagh
If you’re anywhere in the area of Fermanagh, and you fancy a walk in the dark, why not go on the Crom ghost walk, which roughly lasts an hour.
You’ll be led around the ruins of the old Crom Castle and told about the spectral lights that were spotted above the water from the early 1700s onwards.
There are other stories, one about a visitor who had laid down for a rest on what he didn’t realise was a sacred place for the celts.
He was woken by bare-chested men with a lot of weapons, but as quickly as they appeared, they vanished into nothing.
This would be a place to visit and fall asleep in if you wanted to be woken up by angry Celts!
3. Loftus Hall, County Wexford
Loftus Hall is a huge mansion, located at the east side of the three sister rivers, the Nore, the Suir, and the Barrow.
It is said to be haunted by the devil, and the spirit of a young girl. Apparently, the youngest child of the family who lived there at the time, Anne, had an encounter with an evil entity.
The family then locked her in a room until she died. There have been some sightings of shadowy figures in the mansion over the years. If you visit, you can check out the rumours for yourself.
On your visit, you can take an interactive tour of the mansion and hear all about its grim past. It’s well worth the trip down to Wexford…if you can handle it.
2. Spike Island, County Cork
Just off of the coast of Cobh harbour in County Cork, dwells a small island with a long, dark and treacherous history.
Jump into the past and discover what horrors lie off the coast of the mainland.
This modest piece of land had a monastery built on it in the 1500s.
At the present, it’s home to a 200-year-old, 24-acre star-shaped fortress by the name of Fort Mitchell. This was the largest convict depot in the world in Victorian times, which held over 2,300 prisoners.
This fort was founded as a prison during the height of the Irish famine in 1847, where Irish people, convicted of repeated petty crimes or minor offences, were sent to depots like this one.
Sentences in this place included labour, but many prisoners were too malnourished to work, and death rates were high during the first few years.
There are many interesting stories of cellmates who were punished by the system and how they ended up, and a visit should definitely be on the list if you’re down this side of the country.
1. Leap Castle, County Offaly
Leap Castle is said to be the most haunted castle in the whole of Europe, with many sightings of eerie spectres, and a horrific past.
It was built in the 13th century. When it was owned by the Darby family, there was a part of the castle that they executed their foes in.
In the 20th century, a room was discovered containing a dungeon with a trap floor.
The floor was covered in spikes to pierce and destroy the people who were thrown in.
When this place was found, three cartloads of human bones were brought away from there.
This area is also home to the “Bloody chapel”.
It’s called this because of the gruesome past it has. Inside the chapel, while a priest was saying mass, his brother, Teige O’Carroll murdered him, following the death of their father.
There have been countless sightings of spectres in this place, so it’s one to look out for if you’re in the middle of the country.