As a country with a rich history, Ireland is home to more than a few places that might make a shiver run down your spine. With recent breakout horror film successes emerging from the country, and as Halloween is fast approaching, we wanted to explore some of Ireland’s most haunting, sinister and spooky spots. Many are closely linked to Irish folklore, dark tales passed down through the generations. Indeed, Halloween has it’s origins in ancient Irish festivals and ceremonies, with many traditions (including carving Jack O Lanterns) able to be traced back hundred of years.
With this in mind, let’s explore some of Ireland’s incredible spooky locations including those that you may wish to rent for a variety of occasions. Let us know if you can picture your gothic wedding reception, a private dining Halloween banquet, or a Halloween party to rival the Monster Mash in any of these amazing places.
On Montpelier Hill, looking over Dublin sits a mysterious ruin known as the ‘Hellfire Club’. Originally owned by Speaker Conolly, one of the wealthiest men in Ireland, reports of vengeful spirits soon resulted in him fleeing the area. The building was then purchased by Richard Parsons, a man known for practicing dark magic, where he founded the Hellfire Club in 1735. According to legend, the club welcomed members from all over Dublin to practice satanic rituals and witchcraft. A seat would be left open at each club meeting for the Devil, and ceremony leaders dressed as demons with horns and hooves. Rumors of animal and human sacrifices also circulated.
Today the former Hellfire Club is an abandoned ruin, though locals still report unusual smells and sounds in the area.
Ghost stories have been part of the legacy of Ballygally Castle for centuries. In fact, the owners of the hotel claim there may be as many as three spooks roaming the ancient hallways. The most well known tale is the tragic death of Lady Isabella Shaw, wife of Lord James Shaw. She is said to have either jumped, or was perhaps pushed from a high window over four hundred years ago. She is reportedly a ‘friendly ghost’, though visitors have still been alarmed by sudden temperature changes and a mysterious green mist when visiting the castle.
The current owners have a ghost room dedicated to their resident spirit, which visitors can book tours of.
Grace Neill’s Bar, situated in Donaghadee is officially the oldest pub in Ireland – as certified it’s Guinness World Record. Established in 1611, the pub is named after it’s most famous landlady Grace Neil, a well known individual to the many locals. She was said to be a friendly, kind woman who greeted her customers warmly and made everyone welcome in the establishment.
Customers regularly report seeing a strange woman in Victorian era clothing around the building, as well as sudden gusts of cold air, the sound of a broom sweeping the floors, and smashing of glasses without explanation. The pub has attracted high profile investigations from shows including Most Haunted.
We are sure you will agree that Ireland is home to some fascinating historical and cultural locations with extensive histories. Would you be brave enough to visit or even book a special event in any of these spooky places?