Ah, Ireland. There may be no more fabled place in all the world. Lush green hills, stark cliffs, and a people who seem to have music and stories written into their DNA. It’s a land of legends and more than its fair share of hauntings.
Journey with me through some of these fantastic haunted locations, and hear their stories.
#1 The Abbey of the Black Hag
In a secluded valley southeast of Shanagolden, there was once an Abbey, and that Abbey came under the leadership of an evil woman involved in black magic and dark rituals. She terrorized the countryside until she was finally taken prisoner, or so the stories were told at the time. (The fact that this was all happening during King Henry VIII’s dissolution of Catholic monasteries and convents does make one wonder whether those stories were true.) Whatever the case, the woman, after being taken prisoner, was summarily executed and buried in what we has become known as the Black Hag’s Cell.
But that isn’t the only haunting associated with the ruins. It is said that Count and Countess of Desmond were attempting to flee the Abbey when the Countess was shot through with an arrow. Believing his wife was dead, the Count buried her, but it is said, she woke up buried alive and her screams filled the Abbey as she suffocated in her grave. To this day, visitors report hearing her screams.
Blogger Tracy Fahey chronicled her attempts to reach the ruins of the Abbey, and the increasing bad luck she had the closer she got on her blog 30 Creative Days….
#2 The HellFire Club in County Dublin
Near the summit of Mount Pelier overlooking Dublin stands an abandoned hunting lodge known as The Hell Fire Club, and it seems the place was cursed from its very foundation up.
The lodge was built by a speaker of the Irish Parliament named William Connolly in the early 1700s. He chose the spot for its seclusion and its view, but also because of what rested on the site already. An ancient Neolithic passage tomb had stood on the location for centuries, and Connolly destroyed the burial mound to form the hunting lodge’s foundation.
After his death in 1729, the lodge remained unused for a number of years until it was acquired by the infamous Hellfire Club. The clubs were associated with excessive drinking and every kind of depravity imaginable. The presidents of these clubs were called The King of Hell and were dressed as Satan during their meetings. The vice chair was always left empty so that Satan would have a place to sit during their congregation.
In fact, stories and legends abound concerning the lodge often include stories of Satan’s multiple appearances in various forms at the club. To this day, it is considered a cursed site associated with the darkest evils.
#3 Leamaneh Castle in County Clare
If you ever travel to County Clare and find yourself at old Leamaneh Castle, keep your eyes peeled for the psychotic ghost of Red Mary.
In life, she was a black widow. She collected and disposed of around 25 husbands, several of whom had mysterious accidents that caused them to fall from the castles heights. In other stories, it was told that Mary kept a whole group of young men in a sort of harem. She would dress them as her handmaidens to hide their being there. And all the while, she would torture her actual maids, cutting off their breasts and hanging them by their own hair.
When she was finally exposed, the local villagers attacked, sealing her in a hollow tree, leaving her to starve to death. Visitors today have reported sighting the apparition of a red haired woman and hearing her maniacal laughter and screams.
#4 Cork District Lunatic Asylum
Built in 1798 by William Saunders Hallaran, the Cork District Lunatic Asylum was a marvel in its day, but by today’s standards, a nightmare. Hallaran broke new ground in the treatment of psychotics in his day, developing what he called the Hallaran’s Chair which would spin patients at a speed of up to 100 rpm. He observed that it had an ameliorative affect on some of the patients and so began prescribing the treatment regularly.
Today, people will tell you a whole host of former patients haunt the derelict portions of the building. It’s not uncommon to hear them screaming and moaning to be released from their prison.
#5 Glenullin in County Derry
In County Derry, there is a grave thought marked by a thorny tree that is said to be the final resting place of the very first vampire. His name was Abhartach, meaning “dwarf” because of his short stature. He was sad to be an evil being who practice black magic and blood magics. The ancient Druids battled this evil being and pronounced that the only way he could be stopped was by running him through with a sword made of yew wood and burying him head down in the ground.
And that, is exactly what they did.
The locals have steered clear of the grave site for centuries. No one builds near it. No one even walks near it if they can help it. Some have said that there is actually more evidence that Bram Stoker based his famed Count Dracula on Abhartach than on the infamous Vlad III.
These five locations barely begin to scratch the surface the many hauntings of Ireland, but they are a very good start! What are you favorites?