Visit the most haunted castles in the birthplace of Halloween, Ireland
Posted on 31/10/2020
Did you know that Halloween is actually an Irish holiday? What we know today as Halloween, used to be called Samhain and it was a Celtic festival that celebrated the end of the harvest season. According to ancient Irish mythology, this is the day when the veil between the living and dead was lifted. Once the veil was off, the dead souls could easily cross over to the living world and this is where all the creepy stories began. So, if you're looking to get spooked on Halloween, then these haunted Irish castles will give you the fright of your life.
Around 16 kilometres away from Dublin lies a small village in Country Fingal called Malahide. This is an alluring place to visit because it has maintained its medieval structures till today. Unlike the mysteries of the village, the residents are very warm and love to tell a good scary story. There is one other attraction that visitors come here for, and that is the grandiose Malahide castle that dominates the city.
This castle dates back to the 12th century and it is known to be one of the most haunted castles in Ireland. What's even more surprising is that this castle was transformed into a hotel, which means that you can stay here overnight! The rumours of its terrible past has not deterred guests from visiting, but a few of them have left with a few spine-chilling experiences. Some guests claim to have heard a woman crying and screaming for her daughter in the middle of the night, but no one has seen them till date.
In the County of Offaly, there is an archaic castle with a troubled history, the Leap Castle. This castle has been visited by many ghost hunters who have wanted to confirm the stories they've been hearing throughout the years. It is believed that two little girls have been roaming around the building for centuries. If you listen closely, you might be able to hear them running up and down the spiral staircase.
Leap Castle was built around 1250 AD and it has had quite a tumultuous past. It was built on top of a place of worship and later in 1513 the Count of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald wanted to take it for himself. He attempted to seize the grounds but failed, and so he tried again three years later. In his second attempt he managed to partially demolish the structure, but he still failed at gaining control of the castle and the first keepers, the O'Carrolls managed to get it back.
Inside this castle is a room that has garnered a lot of attention. It was used as a church but it is now known as Bloody Chapel. This is where the famous ghost of the victim priest is hiding. While priest O'Carroll was holding a mass for his family, his brother broke into the chapel and stabbed the priest. The wound was so fatal that the priest died instantly. His brother killed him out of hatred, and now O'Carroll's ghost forever haunts the chamber in which he died.
It is not only this story that makes this place scary. When the castle was being restored, there was a chilling discovery that was made. Inside the castle, there was a secret prison filled with hundreds of human bones. No one knows the history behind this prison, and no one will ever be able to find out either.
The Leamaneh Castle was the most beautiful castle that was found in County Clare. It was built in the 15th century and was repurposed into a manor house in 1648. Now all that remains is a ruined structure and a scary story to accompany it.
Just like many other haunted castles, there is a leading lady that presides over this property as well and her name is Red Mary. Legend has it that when Red Mary's husband was killed, this castle was about to be confiscated by the army. In order to keep her house, Red Mary offered to marry one of the officers incharge. A few days later there was a heated argument between the newly wed couple and the husband fell out of a window on the third floor. All eyes were on Red Mary and this is where her story began. There were rumours that Mary had married and killed twenty-five men. When the people got a hold of her, they sealed her alive in a hollow tree and when she died her ghost returned back to the place where everything began, Leamaneh Castle.
This picturesque castle is on top of the village of Ballygally and it overlooks the sea. The castle was built in 1625 and now it has been converted into a hotel. Although it's described as a living postcard, there are things about this castle that are not quite perfect.
One particular story that has been the talk of the town is about Lady Isobel Shaw. She used to live in the castle with her husband and one day he locked her up in one of the towers of the castle because she was unable to give him a male heir. Lady Isobel Shaw could not stay locked up forever, and she decided the only way to get out of the tower was by committing suicide. Due to stories like this, the village of Ballygally is frequented by mediums from all around the world who want to get a closer look at the paranormal activities of the castle.