Ireland is a land of ancient mysticism and great legends. You don’t have to wander far to stumble across spiritual forces beyond earthly reasoning. These are the ten most spooky sights in Ireland to discover.
Ireland is a hotbed of supernatural sightings and paranormal activity. Only further hammered home by our love of storytelling and native folklore, there’s nowhere more spooky to explore than Ireland in the autumn and wintertime.
Whether you’re seeking to soak up the atmosphere of an abandoned asylum or want to delve deep into the dark history of one of Ireland’s great houses, you’ve come to the right place. These are the most haunted places in Ireland to discover.
1. Belvelly Castle, County Cork
Lady Margaret was a vein beauty courted by many men. She, however, wouldn’t settle. Margaret eventually lost her looks when starved into submission for an entire year by Clon de Courcy.
She finally decided to give in to Courcy, but on seeing her unfavourable appearance after a year of imprisonment, he rejected her, and in a fit of anger she smashed all of her mirrors. Today, she can still be found roaming the halls in search of her lost love and looks.
2. Ballinagarde House, County Limerick
Ballinagarde House was once a house of great significance. Built by John Croker in 1774, the home housed a family, who, due to bankruptcy, was not able to retain its impressive upkeep. Today, it is a shell of its former self.
According to legend, however, a mysterious man on horseback was once welcomed into the home on a dark wintry night for a warm meal and some Irish hospitality. When he fell into a deep slumber, it is said that a servant kindly removed his boots only to find the Devil’s hooves!
3. Charles Fort, County Cork
Charles Fort is a well preserved seventeenth-century military fort that is haunted by the ghost of The White Lady – a tragic soul who committed suicide on the night of her wedding after the husband was found murdered.
The site, which is open to visitors today as a heritage attraction hosts guided tours and interactive exhibitions, and if you’re lucky you may even spot her ghost.
4. Ballyheighue Castle, County Kerry
Although surrounded today by a golf course, Ballyheighue Castle is, in fact, the home of some of Ireland’s most supernatural sightings. The spooky stories consist that of a lost treasure and a sailor.
In the 18th-century, Golden Lyon – a Danish ship – was shipwrecked off the coast of Kerry and with it carried a treasure worth €2 million! In 1962, a collection of photos of Ballyheighue Castle were developed to reveal in the background a sailor wearing 18th-century garb. Other sightings of this sailor and supernatural beings are not common in this area after dark.
5. Coolbawn House, County Wexford
The derelict shell of Coolbawn House hides a sinister story that may just make it one of the most haunted places in Ireland.
It is said a servant girl was struck by lighting when standing close to a window one fateful evening during the 19th-century when the house was in its heyday. Sighting of her still standing there, staring out at the world pass by, are common for locals and visitors alike.
6. The Hellfire Club, County Dublin
The Hellfire Club is a deserted hunting lodge that was founded by Irish freemasons in 1735. Known as a place of debauchery, animal sacrifice and sex, many disturbing stories are akin to this site.
Much like the tale of Ballinagarde House, a mysterious traveller is said to have been welcomed in on one snowy night in winter, only to be later exposed as the Devil himself. The Hellfire crowd attracts occultists, so steer clear after dark!
7. Cork District Mental Hospital, County Cork
Cork District Mental Hospital is undoubtedly one of the places to ensure a scare when exploring County Cork. It evolved and grew over time and other names including Our Lady’s Hospital, Eglinton Lunatic Asylum and St. Kevin’s Hospital are synonymous with it.
Following deinstitutionalisation, the asylum closed and transformed into a residential area, but tales of apparitions, disturbing sounds and ungodly atmospheres exist to this day.
8. St. Michan’s Church, County Dublin
On the surface, St. Michan’s Church seems to be commonplace. What you may not know though is that this is one of the most haunted places in Ireland.
In its underground vaults are the Mummies of St. Michan – incredibly preserved corpses that lay for all to see. Whispers and strange disturbances are not uncommon here.
9. Loftus Hall, County Wexford
Loftus Hall is arguably one of the most haunted places in Ireland. It was open to guests to explore until 2020 when it was put on sale. While its current status is ‘temporarily closed’, the future of Loftus Hall is still yet to be decided.
What we do know is the house is haunted by the ghost of Anne Tottenham, who was left deeply disturbed after hosting a houseguest who she believed to be the devil. Her traumatised spectre can still be seen wandering the halls today.
10. Kilmainham Gaol, County Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol (jail) is one of Dublin’s top attractions. Home to an impressive museum that explores the site’s evolution in Irish history, it must also be noted that Kilmainham Gaol saw such plight, death and decay in its time.
14 men were executed here, not to mention those who died of its poor conditions. Today, you wouldn’t want to be alone at night for fear of the eerie noises, strange whispers and footsteps that seem to follow you.
If you’re interested in experiencing a bespoke tour of some of the most haunted places in Ireland, get in touch today and we can help you map out the trip of a lifetime.