Haunted Castles of Ireland
There's no better place to go ghost-hunting than an ancient castle and,
perhaps, no better place to actually find one than an ancient castle in Ireland.
When I started searching for Irish ghosts, I wondered if I would be able to find
enough castles that were rumored to be haunted to fill a page.  But it didn't take
long to realize that my problem would be deciding which to choose from the
hundreds of purported hauntings I discovered.
Whether it's from visitors to lonely castle ruins, private residents of castles
or guests and staff of castles-turned-hotels, there have been enough reported
ghost sightings in Ireland to fill, not only a page, but very nearly an
encyclopedia.  (In one castle hotel, there's a ghostly chambermaid who's
so faithful in turning down the bed covers for guests that the hotel lists
her by name in its staff directory!)
Are Ireland's castle ghosts real?  I don't know.  But, if you ever find yourself
spending the night in one, before dozing off, it might not be a bad idea to
recite that famous old entreaty . . .
"From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggety beasties
and things that go bump in the night, good Lord, deliver us!"
After reading so many castle ghost stories, it wouldn't surprise me to learn
that those words were first uttered in an ancient Irish castle.   -- Nancy
Kinnitty Castle, County Offaly, Midlands Region - Now used as a hotel, Kinnitty Castle is
home to a friendly (and very communicative) phantom monk, who's been seen
numerous times by staff and guests alike.  The monk seems to favor the great Banquet
Hall, but has reportedly been observed in several other areas of the castle, as well.
Huntington Castle, Clonegal, County Carlow - Built on the site of an ancient
Druid temple, Huntington has its own resident ghostly monk, as well as a man
dressed in a soldier's uniform and a spirit believed to be that of Lady Esmond,
the lady of the castle in the 17th century.
Clonony Castle, County Offaly - Two of Ann Boleyn's cousins are buried
beneath this castle.  The luminous ghost of a man is regularly seen by
passing motorists at night; he's usually standing on top of the tower.
Castle Daly, County Galway, Border Region - The echoes of a lively party are
said to be frequently heard in the middle of the night at Castle Daly.
Castle Leslie, County Monaghan - A spirit of a more recent vintage is said to
inhabit Castle Leslie, a member of the family who was killed in World War I.
Ross Castle, Killarney, County Kerry - For centuries, a medieval knight has
been seen riding his horse across Lough Leane next to Ross Castle.  There's
a 19th century painting dedicated to this phenomenon in the National Gallery
of Ireland.
Charleville Castle, County Offaly - Known as one of Ireland's most haunted
castles, Charleville stands in the middle of the oldest oak forest in Ireland.  
Some people believe the paranormal activity results from the castle's location,
known to have once been a sacred ritual site and, also, a burial ground of the
Druids.  But it's the builder of the castle who is said to be frequently seen,
making his way through the castle's catacombs, dungeons and towers.
Lisheen Castle, Northern Tipperary - Like many old castles in Ireland,
Lisheen Castle has a long and turbulent history.  Unexplained sounds have
been reported in the restored section of the castle, but phenomena of a more
dramatic, frightening nature is associated with the rath, a wooded area nearby
that includes some of the original castle's ruins.
Glenarm Castle, County Antrim - One story about Glenarm Castle relates that
there was so much paranormal activity there that the lady of the castle had
every room exorcised except the attic - to which, the story continues, all
the ghosts immediately retreated!
Fanningstown Castle, County Limerick - Guests of Fanningstown Castle,
now used as a hotel, speak of a friendly, helpful ghost in residence there,
who, on one occasion, is credited with helping a visitor find his lost wallet.
Malahide Castle, Eastern Coast - A court jester at Malahide Castle once fell
in love with a noblewoman.  There's no word as to whether or not his feelings
were reciprocated, but, apparently, they were not appreciated by someone at
the castle, because one night the jester was murdered just outside the castle
walls.  Before he died, he announced that he would haunt the castle
forevermore.  There have been visitors who have seen evidence to
suggest that he has been true to his word.
Leap Castle, County Offaly - Leap Castle is widely regarded as Ireland's most
haunted castle.  Many paranormal investigators have studied the castle,
while generations of locals have told stories of their run-ins with the resident spirits.
The castle has a violent history of murder and mayhem and most people attribute
its high level of paranormal activity to this history.  The current owners have made
peace with the castle's past, as well as, its phantoms, and claim to coexist quite
peacefully with them.
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