Ireland is an ancient land ripe with history, local legends, folklore, myths, and tales as tall as the trees. Indeed, there is a lot to learn about this sacred land.
Although most people visit Ireland because of its natural wonders, buzzing social scene, and sites of interest, what is often left untold is Ireland’s relationship with the supernatural world.
In fact, Irish history is rich with ghost sightings and otherworldly encounters. Here are the top five spooky and mysterious ghost stories from Ireland today!
5. Hell Fire Club, Co. Dublin
Anyone from the Dublin or Wicklow locale will sure as hell know this story. The site in question is the old hunting lodge of 18th-century William Speaker Connolly. When he passed, it became the Hell Fire Club, a gentlemen’s club associated with frivolity and debauchery.
Today the ruin stands strong still on Montpelier Hill. The question of what happened to it, however, remains. It is said one night, a stranger in passing knocked into the lodge, asking for refuge from the winter’s storm outside.
Obliging, the gentlemen at the lodge asked the nomad to join them in a game of cards. During the game, one player dropped a card on the floor. Upon retrieving it, he realised the wanderer’s feet were in fact hooves—those of the Devil.
The next morning, when only an ashy shell of the building remained, it is said the only tracks leading to or from the entrance of the building were, in fact, hooves.
4. The Cooneen Poltergeist, Co. Fermanagh
One of the spookiest ghost stories from Ireland is that of this poltergeist, which is well documented in Irish history. In fact, the story is so embedded in the Irish psyche that people still do not step foot near the site in question.
The story starts back in a forest cottage located in County Fermanagh. Mrs Bridget Murphy, her son James, and her six daughters occupied the home. On one dreary evening in the autumn of 1914, a poltergeist entered the home.
Causing horror and distress to the young children and mother, this menacing spirit spat, hissed, threw things about, and aggressively terrorised the family. Not even the local priests who tried to offer their Godly assistance could explain or cease this erratic and unexplainable ghostly behaviour.
The family finally fled to America, fearing for their lives, and the two priests who assisted during the terror suffered serious plight, mental health breakdowns, and even permanent paralysis.
The house remains in ruins today, and no one dares step foot over its threshold.
3. Leap Castle, Co. Offaly
Leap Castle in Offaly is famous as one of Ireland’s most “haunted” castles. Factually, the castle experienced a tragic past. It was laden with sorrow and turmoil.
The ruthless and powerful O’Carroll clan in the 16th century headed the stately property. After the leading figure, Mulroney O’Carroll, died in 1532, a fight for the seat of power ensued for over a century.
With so many lives lost and bloodshed in these walls, today it is believed that supernatural presences live on. If you’re in doubt, look up current owner Sean Ryan and he’ll tell you all about voices down corridors, footsteps, and impish spirits who wish to remain known.
2. Hollywood Estate, Co. Cork
This is definitely one of the creepiest stories on our list. And seeing as it only happened in 2010, there is something a lot more visceral about this story.
A young family moved into a council estate in Cork, only to soon realise they were not the only tenants. What first began as slight intrusions soon became undisputed attacks on the family.
Items would be thrown. Religious iconography would be smashed. Screams would be heard. The young son was even thrown from his bed.
Although the media and neighbours corroborated the events, the council continually dismissed any suggestion that paranormal activity was at play. After some time, the family, no longer able to handle the weight of their living conditions, moved. Can you blame them?
1. Leamaneh Castle, Co. Clare
Topping our list of spooky and mysterious ghost stories from Ireland is that of Leamaneh Castle, which is said to be terrorised by the ghost of its previous resident: Red Mary. Tales of her legend go back generations.
This sadistic soul is said to have had 25 husbands, all of which found their peril in the most curious and sinister ways. She is said to be their murderer.
The story states that Red Mary would keep a tally of young men, who would be dressed disguised as young maids. Then, she would cut the breasts off her true maids and torture them endlessly.
It is said that eventually, the locals put this devil woman to rest by sealing her in a tree trunk and starving her to death.
Her demented cackle can still be heard in the halls of Leamaneh Castle today.