Read our last ten fun facts here.
1. Dunluce Castle, surrounded by water on all sides and only connected to main land Northern Ireland by only a wooden bridge, reports a ghostly woman in white who gazes out upon the sunset each night. While no one knows her origins for sure, the castle did once slide into the ocean in the 1600s, so we have a guess! (For our Game of Thrones fans, you’ll recognize the now ruined exterior as the Greyjoy’s seat!)
2. Wicklow Gaol is not only considered one of the most haunted places in Ireland, but one of the top ten most haunted places in world! Often compared to Alcatraz, it remains Wicklow’s biggest tourist attractions. You can even take a paranormal tour where you can learn about all the spooky occurrences—from the mysterious smell of roses in Cell 5 to the ghostly apparition that’s known to greet visitors in the dayroom.
3. While Egypt might be the country best known for mummies, Ireland has its fair share! Time and dry conditions transformed the bodies in the crypt under St. Michan’s church in Dublin into perfectly preserved mummies—even as their wooden coffins have decayed. And we can’t forget all the bog mummies on display at Dublin’s National Archaeology Museum!
4. Speaking of Egypt, another one of Ireland’s scariest hauntings is the now ruined building that was once Seafield (or Lisheen) House. Located on the Coolera Peninsula in Sligo, this mansion was built by a rich landowner named Phibbs during the height of the famine. Karma came back for one of Phibb’s decedents who filled the house with stolen Egyptian artifacts (including a mummy—there’s way more mummies in Ireland than we ever would have believed,) and apparently conjured a violent poltergeist! The family left suddenly in 1938, leaving the huge property to fall into disrepair.
5. On Saint Patrick’s Day in 1888, the front page of The Weekly Irish Times proclaimed to offer “Fireside Tales of Many Counties”—which it turns out meant ghost stories and creepy legends! While we don’t usually associate scary stories with Saint Patrick’s Day, this newspaper decided it was on the table that year and reported on everything from the haunted house of Bride Street to the Queen’s County ghost. Click here to read the stories in full!
6. Belvelly Castle (Ireland has even more castles than mummies) in Co. Cork is a 14th-15th century structure overlooking the bridge connecting Fota Island and Great Island, and is said to be haunted by a 17th century inhabitant (among others!) Lady Margaret Hodnett was known for her vanity and was said to keep innumerable mirrors around her. After a spurned suitor laid siege to the castle, Lady Margaret’s beauty faded as her health did and she smashed all her precious mirrors! Her spirit is said to wander the halls, rubbing at spots on the walls until they gleam so she might see her reflection again.
7. Marsh’s Library in Dublin is best known for being the oldest public library in Ireland (it’s been around since 1707!), but is also said to play host to the ghost of its founder, Archbishop Narcissus Marsh. It’s said that Marsh’s niece, whom he raised as a daughter before she ran off to elope, left a note for Marsh in one of the library’s many volumes—and his spirit is still searching for the letter!
8. You’ve heard of haunted houses, but how about a haunted river? Nore River in Kilkenny was the site of a great tragedy when John’s Bridge collapsed during an overwhelming flood in 1763. Today, residents of the area report eerie figures in the river, on the banks, and leaning up against the structure built to replace the collapsed bridge!
9. While St. Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin is said to contain multiple ghosts, perhaps the best boy of them all is Captain John Boyd’s faithful dog, whose spirit is said to still wait for his master after over 150 years. Captain Boyd was considered a hero after he passed on trying to save the lives of those on board 135 ships caught in a storm between Howth and Wicklow. A life-size statute was erected and his faithful black Newfoundland pup is still seen as his feet today. The good boy never left his side, no matter the time passed!
10. While vampires (though called the Abhartach) have long been lore in Ireland (that’s where Irishman Bram Stoker got it from!), Slaughtaverty in Co. Derry has it’s own, particular vampire lore. It’s said that under a grassy mound called O’Cathain’s Dolmen (marked only by a single thorn tree,) a brave man named Cathain was able to contain the Abhartach back in the 5th century. The locals still avoid the area at night!
This post is part of a series. Read our last batch of fun facts here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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