Ireland isn’t short of a ghost or three, and Halloween is the perfect time for eerie encounters.
Haunted houses, cursed castles and all manner of spooky spaces are to be found across the island of Ireland. Each with their own tale to tell, they attract lovers of the supernatural who are keen to glimpse a ghost or feel the chill of a spirit’s breath.
Loftus Hall in County Wexford in Ireland’s Ancient East, is said to be the most haunted building in Ireland, the place where the Devil himself came calling in disguise.
If you want to see what happens in Loftus Hall after dark you can view a live stream from six rooms every night. And on 10 October there will be a special live streaming event of a Halloween paranormal lockdown, when an experienced team of paranormal investigators will try to make contact with the spirits.
Built by the Shaw family in 1625, historic Ballygally Castle, located on the spectacular Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, is famous for the ghost that resides in its haunted tower. Lady Isobel Shaw was locked in the tower by her husband because she did not produce a male heir and, rather than starve, leapt to her death.
Today the castle is a luxury hotel and many guests claim to have seen her ghost and felt the presence of other spirits.
Tales of witchcraft, revenge, demonic rituals and betrayal abound in the beautiful medieval city of Kilkenny, which was named one of most haunted places in Europe by a travel magazine.
Haunted Tower, Ballygally Castle Hotel
At least two of its buildings are said to be haunted by the same ghost, the spirit of Alice Kyteler, who was accused of being a witch but fled the city, leaving her maid to be burned at the stake in her place.
Alice’s ghost, or some believe that of her maid, is often glimpsed in Kyteler’s Inn, Kilkenny’s oldest inn which was established by Alice around 1323. Her ghost also frequents St Canice’s Cathedral.
On Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, the echoes of those imprisoned by the sixteenth-century pirate queen Grace O’ Malley can seemingly be heard in the dungeons of Westport House in County Mayo. The stunning stately home is built upon the foundations of one of O’ Malley’s castles and offers self-guided tours.
Imposing Dublin Castle claims no ghosts but has strong links to one of the masters of the macabre, Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.
Born at the height of the Great Famine, Stoker worked in Dublin Castle and is said to have been inspired to write Dracula by the tales of the undead that his mother told him and references to Ireland’s starving people as the walking dead.
Every Halloween Dublin stages the Bram Stoker Festival, a vampire-themed horrorfest in his honour which this year will feature a series of both live and online events.