6 spooky buildings in Ireland
1. Coolbawn House, County Wexford
It’s easy to imagine the splendour of County Wexford’s Coolbawn House in its heyday. This beautiful Tudor revival manor was built by politician Francis Bruen in the 1820s but has since fallen into ruin.
Today, it is an ivy-shrouded shell and the family who lived here is long gone. But the house is far from empty. In fact, it’s said to be haunted by a ghostly servant girl.
The girl was tragically struck by lightning when standing close to a window one stormy evening. The outline of her stricken figure was said to have been burned onto the windowpane, and her spirit can still be seen standing beside the window to this day.
2. Lissan House, County Tyrone
Home to the Staples family for over 400 years, Lissan House is set in the heart of a 267-acre estate at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone. You can book a guided tour of this grand house but be warned… the family was known to hold seances to contact the dead and some of those spirits are said to haunt the halls of Lissan to this day.
Hazel Radclyffe Dolling was the last Staples descendent to live here and she experienced many spooky events over the years. She was regularly woken by the sounds of footsteps on the grand staircase, only to find no one there.
Her guests were invited to stay in Lady Staples’ bedroom, always much colder than the rest of the house and said to be haunted. One unfortunate visitor woke up to the sight of a ghost with a candelabra setting the bed on fire! Not your typical tale of Irish hospitality…
3. Charleville Castle, County Offaly
Situated in County Offaly within Ireland's most ancient primordial oak woods, Charleville Castle is one of Ireland’s finest Gothic strongholds. Built by the Earl of Charleville Charles William Bury in 1814 on the site of an ancient Druid settlement, it’s no wonder that spirits still call the place home.
Charleville’s most notorious ghost is a child named Harriet, the third Earl’s daughter, who fell to her death while sliding down the banister in 1861. People often see her playing on the staircase, dressed in blue and white.
At the entrance to the castle grounds, you’ll spot the legendary 400-year-old King Oak tree. As fate would have it, many of the male members of the Bury family died in tragic circumstances, and each time they passed away, a branch would fall from the tree. Coincidence or curse? We’ll let you decide…
4. Blackwater Castle, County Cork
You can rent rustic Blackwater Castle in County Cork for a group stay or even a wedding, but be warned – it’s not for the fainthearted…
Lady Ellen Roche led the defence of the castle (then Roche Castle) in 1650 when it came under siege by Cromwellian forces.
After a valiant effort, the castle was seized and several of Lady Roche’s soldiers were executed and tossed into the river below. Many claim to see them still wandering outside the castle…
Lady Roche was imprisoned and eventually falsely accused of murder and executed, ending 400 years of ownership. Some guests who have stayed the night claim to have seen her spirit wandering the halls and even perched at the end of their bed!
5. Ross Castle, County Meath
Before there was Romeo and Juliet, there was Orwin and Sabina, daughter of the notoriously cruel “Black Baron”, the 12th Lord of Delvin and owner of County Meath’s Ross Castle.The pair met one day near the castle and soon fell in love. However, Orwin was the son of a local chieftain who was at war with the Black Baron and so he and Sabina decided to elope.
As they sailed away on Lough Sheelin, a terrible storm appeared and overturned their boat. Sabina was saved and awoke three days later to the heartbreaking news that Orwin had drowned. Wracked with grief, she locked herself in her room and eventually died of a broken heart.
To this day, Sabina haunts the castle, desperate to be reunited with her lost love. There have also been sightings of the Black Baron in the castle grounds – his soul so tarnished by his cruel acts in life that he is doomed to roam the earth forever.
If you're up for some ghost sightings, you can book a group stay in this beautifully renovated castle.
6. Kilkea Castle, County Kildare
If you’d love the chance to stay the night in a haunted castle, you’re in luck – Kilkea Castle in County Kildare welcomes guests for a minimum of three nights, but you better have your wits about you…
Built in the late 12th century, the fortress is home to several apparitions, including the eccentric 11th Earl of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald. He became known as the Wizard Earl due to his interest in black magic. Many claim to see him roaming the castle today.
If you go for a leisurely stroll outside, keep your eyes peeled for the Woman in White who wanders the courtyard and vanishes through stone walls nearby the garden gate.