In Coolderry, Ireland there resides a haunted castle called Leap Caste (it is pronounced ‘Lep’). It’s not fully known as to when the castle was built as there are varied estimates anyway from the 13th century to the 15th century, though more than likely around 1250 C.E. Either way, it’s a pretty old structure.
Though unsure of the construction date, it was built by the O’Bannon clan on the same grounds as another ancient structure, possibly a ceremonial one. Also, it is highly likely the land has consistently been used since 500 B.C.E
An important Irish document called the Annals of the Four Masters talks about significant events of Leap Castle. Earl Of Kildare, Gerald Fitzgerald lunged at what he thought was an opportunity to overthrow the castle for himself in 1513 but was unsuccessful. He attempted to seize again three years later, only managing to destroy a portion of the castle. Though, the O’Carrols managed to regain ownership by 1557, for the O’Brannon clan was secondary to the O’Carrol clan.
With every castle’s history, a fight for power paired with jealousy are embedded into the walls, as this next story is a shining example – a popular story of sibling rivalry that reigned dark and tragic. In 1532, after the death of Mulrooney O’Carrol, a clash for leadership lead to a battle between these two brothers. One of the brothers was a priest and while he was hosting mass for his family members, the other brother discharged into the chapel and drove a sword through the priest’s torso, dying in front of their family. This chapel is now commonly referred to as the “Bloody Chapel.”
Over a hundred years later in 1659, ownership of the castle was passed on through marriage to the Darby family. With the tenure of Jonathan Darby, his wife named Mildred Darby – author of gothic novels – hosted seances within the castle, which helped to publicize the hauntings and the spirits that caused them. Below are a couple of the known ghosts said to inhabit the castle.
- A malevolent elemental spirit who people call ‘it’
- A ‘lady in red,’ roaming with a dagger in hand
The Ghost Adventures visited the castle for a Halloween special. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS/Ghost Hunters) also investigated here. The castle was featured on ABC Family’s Scariest Places on Earth and on Living TV’s Most Haunted.
After going through numerous owners, in 1991, musician Sean Ryan took possession of the castle and is still pursuing renovations today.
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