To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and simply due to the fact that I love discussing Ireland, it’s haunted castles, and the enriched history behind them, I have compiled a list of Ireland’s most paranormally active/abandoned castles! Now enjoy some Irish history and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!
Ballygally Castle in County Antrim
This 17th century castle is now used as a hotel in Northern Ireland. It was constructed in 1625 by a Scottish James Shaw who had migrated to the area, renting the land for 24 Euro a year. (If only it was still that cheap!) It was previously owned by the Shaw family and was passed down to William Shaw in 1799. Today, it is owned and run by Hastings Hotel Group.
It has charm, a historic Scottish design, and well, it also has ghosts. The most active and popular being former resident, Lady Isobel Shaw, who is suspected to knock on different doors. Allegedly, she fell to her death from one of the windows after she was trapped and starved by her husband. Another entity is that of Madame Nixon who resided at the hotel in the 19th century and today she is said to walk around in her silk dress. Mediums have stated that there are more spirits at the hotel than there are guests…
Clifden Castle in Clifden
This Gothic castle was built in 1818 for a man named John D’Arcy. It later fell into despair, but in 1935 it was claimed by a group of tenants and it swiftly became a ruin.
John (landowner and founder of Clifden) had this castle constructed for his family and they inhabited it for many decades. After John passed, his son inherited the castle, though he felt to be unfit to run it along with its tenants and once the famine of 1845 hit, their income plummeted and the D’Arcy family went bankrupt. The Eyre family then bought it and used it as their family home for holidays but after 1894, there was no owner and the estate was left to agents. Going through another owner, it was later deemed to then belong to the people of Clifden. Today, it is owned by many families and cattle, horses, and other livestock roam the property. Though spirits area also said to have claimed the castle as they can be seen and heard by visitors.
Castle Leslie in County Monaghan
In 1870, this beautifully historic estate was designed in a Scottish Baronial style by the Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon firm for Sir John Leslie. It stands where a previous castle once did and it didn’t serve any specific purpose. Today, the castle is open as a hotel to paying visitors as there have been many additions such as a spa, a bar and restaurant, and a culinary school. To learn how to cook in an old, haunted, Irish castle is my new dream!
Speaking of haunted, time to refer to the present day hauntings of the castle as there are two main rooms fuming with paranormal activity. One being the Red Room, home to the ghost of Norman Leslie (one of the former owners) where he is said to manifest. The other is the Mauve Room, said to be inhabited by Lady Constance. Other chilling activity reported at the castle is the sound of a crying baby, the appearance of a monk, and the sound of unexplained bells that ring on their own.
Leamaneh Castle in County Clare
This castle was originally built as an Irish, five-story tower house built in approximately 1480-90, likely by one of the members of the O’Brien family – Toirdhealbhach Donn O’Briain. I know, I can’t pronounce his name either but it was a name that was greatly respected, given that he was one of the last High Kings of Ireland.
Later in the 1630’s, it became occupied by Conor O’Brien and his wife, Maire ni Mahon, who gained a place as one of the most famous women in Irish Folklore due to her ‘flaming’ red hair and earned the name ‘Red Mary.” But she was also widely known for her short and aggressive temper as it’s rumored she had several servants hung from the windows for displeasing her. Just to add little more about her disciplinary ways, women would get hung by their hair apart from the men getting hung by their necks and would cut off the breasts of her maids if she was unsatisfied. And her cruelty didn’t end there for she it’s said that she married three men (potentially more) and was responsible for one of their deaths. She then met her fate as she was tied to a tree and left to starve to death.
It’s not a real shocker that because of the violence and death that occurred within these now ruined walls, distressed spirits remain. Most spotted and heard is the ghost of Maire herself, wondering the halls and to this day, no one is aware of where her remains lay.
Kinitty Castle in County Offaly
Also known as Castle Bernard, this is a 19th-century Gothic revival castle that has quite the history. The castle that stood before the current one was torn down 1209 and another was put in it’s place in 1213 by the Normans. Later, the family was replaced by the O’Carrolls of Ely and in 1630, William O’Carroll purchased another castle close to the old abbey but only to be taken eleven years later. Today, the castle is now a hotel where visitors can come and explore.
The castle/hotel is home to at least a couple of spirits that explore as well. One of the most known ghosts is that of the Phantom Monk of Kinitty and he is commonly mistaken for a real person for he sometimes appears solid. Two of the haunted rooms include the Geraldine Room and the Elizabeth room, where the paranormal is very active and people get eerie and unsettling feelings.
Thanks so much for all of the support! And thank you for reading and as always, you can comment your experiences down below!
Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.