Haunted Irish Castles

Leap Castle

Leap Castle was built in 1250 in County Offaly by the O’Bannon family. Just like many Irish castles Leap Castle is steeped in rich bloody history with it being at the centre of many battles and has even had its fare share of murders. One of these massacres took place in 1532 during a feud between the O’Carroll family, who lived in the castle at the time and another neighboring clan. This feud caused two brothers within the family to turn against each other. One of these brothers was a priest. One night the priest was hold mass for the family in the castle chapel. While he was praying his brother walked up the alter and plunged his sword into his brothers chest. the priest fell to the floor before dying in front of the his own family. It was not only family members who died in Leap Castle; many people were imprisoned and executed in the castle and within the castle grounds.

During a reconstruction of the castle grounds workers discovered an oubliette; a dungeon that was used to lock people away in order to forget about them. At the bottom of the shaft was a wall of spikes with such a large collection of human bones that it took three cartloads to carry out all of the bodies. But one of the most chilling things found amongst the bones at the bottom of the shaft was a pocket-watch dating to the 1840’s, which rose the question; was the oubliette in use right up until the 19th century?

Leap Castle is reported to be haunted by several ghosts and spirits.  Most of which were brought to light by the misuse of magic by some of the castle’s inhabitants. The most prominent of these ghosts is known as the Elemental. It appears as a small hunched creature and is followed by the stench of a decomposing corpse and the sickening scent of sulphur. The Elemental is a malevolent spirit and is often unpredictable and terrifying.

Charleville Forest Castle

Charleville Castle is a picturesque castle built in the 6th century and it grew further in the 18th century from designs created by the Earl of Charleville. In total it took fourteen years to create the beautiful gothic castle that stands today. Over the centuries the castle has been many battles and wars, most of which were in the protection of Dublin city.

Over the years the owners of the castle have succeeded in awakening the spirits within the castle. Some of these ghosts include invisible children; often heard playing together in what was once the nursery. But they are more than playful noises as they have locked living children into the cupboards of the nursery. People who have spent the night in the castle have been kept awake during the night by the voices of drunken English men who spoke in a form of English which is long lost. The ghost of the Blue Lady is one of the most beautiful yet tragic ghosts that are seen in the castle walls. Her real name was Harriet. She had gone upstairs wearing a blue dress and on the way back down she was playing with one of the children who dared her to slide down the castle banister but she failed and fell to her death. Many visitors to the castle have seen Harriet’s blue ghost sliding on the banister just like she did when she was alive.

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle was built in the 13th century by the Earl of Ulster and continued to be passed through out generations for hundreds of years. It’s steep protective cliffs and rocks below even claimed one of the ships of the Spanish Armada, the Girona, after it wreaked upon the rocks near the castle. The inhabitants installed one of the cannons from the Girona in the gatehouse before selling the rest of the ships cargo. It was not until the kitchen of the castle collapsed into the sea during a storm that the wife of the owner refused to live there any longer and they left. According to legend only one kitchen servant survived the night which the kitchen collapsed into the sea and that was a small kitchen boy who was hiding in the only corner of the kitchen which did not fall into the ocean.

 The white lady is said to still wander the roofless halls and rooms of Dunluce castle. She is believed to be the daughter of the family that lived in the castle. She fell in love with a young man but her father refused to allow her to marry him so he locked her away in her room. But the couple still made plans to elope, so the girl made herself a wedding dress from her bed sheets, telling anyone who asked that she was making a funeral shroud. When the long awaited night finally came she climbed out of her bed room window but tripped on the hem of her wedding dress and fell to her death.

Another ghost is that of Peter Carey who was the constable of the castle before the job was returned to Sorely Boy by Sir John Perrot. To celebrate his return Sorely Boy hung the misfortunate Carey from the South East Tower.  Peter Carey’s ghost is still seen in the tower in a flowing purple cloak and long dark ponytail.  

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle was founded in 1185 by Norman adventurers exploring Ireland. One of these adventurers was John de Courcy who had heard a prophecy the Ulster would be conquered by a white knight, riding a white horse and with two golden birds of prey upon his shield. De Courcy was convinced that the prophecy was speaking of him he banded together an army and led a bloody campaign to capture Ulster. Eventually the castle was taken over by King John who made it an English government building for several centuries.

The story of the unlucky ghost of Carrickfergus Castle is unusual. Robert Rainy was a soldier that was stationed at the castle in the 1700’s. he was a man with a wild and bad reputation until he fell in love with a woman called Betsy Baird. He vowed to her that he would give up in restless wild ways if she married him and she accepted his proposal. What Rainy did not know was that Betsy was involved with the brother of his commanding officer. When Rainy discovered that Betsy was unfaithful he flew into an uncontrollable rage and when he ran into his fiancées lover he ran him through with his sword. After the murder Rainy simply re-sheathed his weapon before returning to his quarters and washing the blood from his sword. Stationed at the same castle was a soldier called Timothy Lavery who looked almost identical to Robert Rainey. Before the soldier that Rainy murdered died he was able to tell his brother what happened but he insisted that Lavery, not Rainy was his attacker. Unlucky for Lavery he was tried and sentenced to death for the murder of the commander, despite his pleas of innocence. It is rumoured that as the noose was put around Lavery’s neck that he vowed to haunt the castle forever. Rainey confessed to the truth many years later but still Timothy Lavery’s ghost continues to hover around the old well inside the castle grounds.