There are many haunted locations in the beautiful land of the Emerald Isle. However, it seems to be a general consensus on every source you check that without a doubt that Leap Castle comes in at number one.
Have you visited the castle? Do you have any personal experiences from the castle that you can share as a comment to this article?
Leap Castle is located in County Offaly, near the East Coast and Midlands Region, north of Roscrea on R421. It’s actually considered one of the most haunted places in Europe. Leap Castle’s bloody history includes murder and massacre of guests and of inhabitants.
Here are some of the ghosts captured at the location:
No matter the theory it all seems to fall back to someone who practiced dark magic creating the Elemental. The encounters with it continued and were last reported in 2006. Whatever the entity is, it seems to make its presence known when people begin to provoke it.
One of the most gruesome murders to take place in the castle occurred in 1532, in a room above the main hall of the castle. This room is now known as “The Bloody Chapel”. The original castle is thought to have been built around 1250, being the principal seat of the fearsome Ely O’Carroll clan. In the aftermath of the death of Chieftain Mulrooney O’Carroll in 1532, a bitter succession dispute arose over the leadership of the clan. The dispute came to an abrupt end when ‘one-eyed Teige O’Carroll’, who as mass was being celebrated in the room, stormed in chanting holy rites and drove a sword into the back of the priest (who was also his older brother), Thaddeus. Breathing his last, the fatally wounded priest fell in front of his family onto the altar.
The priest’s spirit is said to haunt the Bloody Chapel and is thought to be one of Leap’s earliest ghosts. Even centuries later as the castle lay in a state of ruin, passers-by have seen the window of the room light up suddenly late into the night.
Remember the three cart loads of skeletons that were located? This is where the discovery was made, in the Bloody Chapel. In 1922 workers found an oubliette in a secret dungeon hidden behind a wall in the corner of the chapel. During exploration of this dark hole, they made a horrific discovery. Human skeletons were amassed on top of wooden spikes. Possibly either prisoners or unsuspected guests of the O’Carroll’s would have been dropped down through the hidden trap door above the oubliette where they would have had their lungs punctured by the wooden spikes below. They would be left to die a horrific death within earshot of their “gracious” hosts.
One of the most infamous but most treacherous killings involved 40 members of the northern McMahon clan, who had been hired by the O’Carroll’s to train them in new methods of warfare. The McMahon men attended a feast at the castle in celebration of a victory of a rival clan of the O’Carroll’s. What the mercenaries didn’t know is that their ruthless employers had poisoned their food to avoid paying their bill. The ghosts of the McMahon clan are said to haunt Leap Castle to this day.
In the 1600’s ownership passed to the Darby family when the daughter of the O’Carroll chieftain fell in love with an English Captain Darby. Their son, Jonathan (“Aka Mad Captain Darby”), hid vast treasures in the grounds of the castle during the English Civil War. The two servants who helped him hide the treasures were later murdered to assure their silence. Darby was later imprisoned for treason. Years later when he was released, due to the turmoil of his time in captivity, he was unable to locate his treasure.
While the Darby’s were living in England in 1922, Leap Castle was burnt out and destroyed by the IRA. The castle lay in ruins until it was purchased by the now current owners, Sean & Anne Ryan, in 1991. Sean restored the castle and has experienced frequent sightings of the numerous spirits of Leap. They, however, (thankfully), have never encountered the Elemental.
Some of the other ghosts reported there are of two little girls named Emily & Charlotte. For some reason, it is hard to find any information about them. Then there is the one of the murdered women. She has been seen and heard since the time of the Darbys living there. She is believed to have been murdered by an O’Carroll. She is described by Mildred Darby as wearing very few clothes, having a red cloth over her face and screaming loudly twice before disappearing. Sean Ryan, the present owner has also heard a woman screaming.
Then there is the Governess and the Old Man. The governess (or nanny) is seen in the main hall and often with the two ghost girls, Emily & Charlotte. She is described as wearing Victorian-era attire. No information as to whether they interact with people or just going through their life motions (aka residual hauntings as opposed to intelligent hauntings).
The old man is described as wearing a green cut-away coat, knee breeches and having bright shoe buckles. He holds a leather bag in his hand and often times is seen with a little old woman with skinny hands, long black mitts, wearing an old fashioned dress. Both are sometimes seen with an old man dressed like a priest.
Tours are offered. For information contact Sean Ryan at phone 0868690547 or email email@example.com. The castle website is leapcastle.net