If you’re looking for a spooky destination to spend your Halloween staycation in, why not pick Ireland, which gave birth to Halloween itself? The much-anticipated season can be traced back to the Celtic harvest festivals, particularly Samhain, a Gaelic festival. The pagan festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year.
More than a thousand years forward, Ireland continues to take pride in the spooktacular event they’ve brought to the world. Expect festivals and events left and right, including parades, pumpkin carvings, food festivals, scary attractions, ghost pub crawls, and farms and parks converted into Halloween trails for family day outs. Aside from these fun Halloween activities, here’s one spine-tingling vacation idea that you might not resist: spending a night or two in a haunted accommodation in Ireland.
How long can you last in a haunted castle with a frightening history of torture and murder? How about a modern hotel with sightings of a woman in a 17th-century dress, wailing in the middle of the night? Well, you can always choose to stay in a beautiful hotel in Waterford Ireland and sleep soundly. But if you fancy an overnight stay with a supernatural twist, check out our list of haunted accommodation properties in Ireland.
1. Ballyseede Castle | County Kerry
Let’s start off with a classic story of beheading and bloodshed, shall we? Ballyseede Castle saw that first when Gerald Fitzerald, the Earl of Desmond and its first owner, was decapitated on the grounds of the castle. Rumour has it that his spirit still wanders around the premises.
Another ghost story is that of Hilda, the last remaining of the Blennerhasset family which occupied the castle until 1966. She appears only on the 24th of March every year to scare the guests away. Well, you might want to schedule your trip in March to see her for yourself.
2. Cabra Castle | County Cavan
In 2010, Cabra Castle was ranked as the second scariest hotel in the world by Trip Advisor. The hair-raising, bloody story behind this innocent-looking luxury hotel is the reason why.
Back in the 1780s, the son of the owners of Cabra Castle fell in love with Sarah, a servant girl. She became pregnant. When their secret love was exposed, Sarah was reportedly dragged from the house and was killed by hanging under a bridge. Up to this day, visitors still report feeling a presence near the “hanging tree” and hear haunting cries of Sarah’s unborn child.
3. Ballygally Castle | County Antrim
Ballygally Castle is believed to be haunted by the friendly resident ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw. Out of anger because she produced a female heir, she was locked in the tower by her husband, Lord James Shaw. In an attempt to escape, she fell through the window and died.
This castle-turned-hotel has a “ghost room” dedicated to her, which travellers can also visit.
4. The Shelbourne Hotel | County Dublin
The upscale hotel might be popular for its glamour but it also carries a haunted legacy. In fact, even some celebrities who stayed here have shared their first-hand encounters.
The hotel’s most prominent ghost is Mary Masters, a little mischievous girl, about 7 of age. Guests would hear sounds and feel an eerie presence in their suites. Others claimed to have seen her wandering around the corridors.
5. Castle Leslie | County Monaghan
This castle, now a four-star hotel, is one of the haunted places in Ireland. Two of its rooms, the Red Room and the Mauve Room, are known to have frequent sightings of eternal beings. These rooms were frequented by deceased Leslie family members Norman and Constance, who have been known to appear at the bedside.
Guests would report sounds of shuffling papers and bells ringing on their own. Others saw nocturnal visits for the members of the Leslie clan, and even bed levitations. So do yourself a favor and keep your lights on!
6. Ross Castle | County Meath
Who knows that this picturesque castle has a Romeo and Juliet story to tell?
Sabina, the daughter of the notoriously cruel English Lord Richard Nugent (a.k.a Black Baron) fell in love with the son of an enemy Irish chieftain. When they tried to elope, her lover met a tragic death. How far can she go for love? She couldn’t accept his loss so she starved herself to death and now wanders the castle grounds in search of her lost love.
The Black Baron can also be seen haunting the castle, so keep an eye out.
7. Kinnitty Castle | County Offaly
Kinnitty Castle is located in Offaly, the most haunted county in Ireland. And like its home county, this castle built in 1209 has its fair share of paranormal history.
Kinnitty Castle was once home to druids and bards. So don’t be surprised if you see this monk roaming in the hallways. Its most popular ghost is Hugh (monk of Kinnitty), who is said to appear as a solid form. Sometimes, he even communicates with both visitors and the staff.
The castle has two haunted rooms too: Geraldine and Elizabeth. In these spooky rooms, guests would claim seeing televisions switching on and off and hearing child-like laughter and footsteps in the hallways. Others would feel celestial breathing within the rooms.
8. Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara | County Galway
Renvyle House is a historic country house hotel, overlooking the picturesque Wild Atlantic Way. But step inside the beautiful four-star hotel and you might feel an eerie and dark aura. Guests would report hearing disembodied footsteps in the corridors, seeing bedsheets and furniture moving on their own, and witnessing the ghost of a man hiding in mirrors.
9. Maldron Hotel Shandon | County Cork
Now, let’s move on to a hospital-turned-hotel for a different kind of spook. Maldron Hotel was established in 2008 but the building used to be the North Infirmary Hospital in 1730. The site was later used to treat the wounded soldiers from the war secretly.
Guests claimed to have seen the presence of a woman, who is believed to have died while giving birth. There were reports of broken mirrors and equipment too, which scared the hell out of guests and staff. There’s a “forbidden” room too, namely 325, which was closed off due to a plethora of paranormal activity.
Stay at your own risk!
Aside from the ones in our list, there’s still a wide array of haunted hotels dotted all over Ireland. These include:
- Blackwater Castle, Co. Cork
- Commodore Hotel, Cobh | Co. Cork
- Markree Castle, Co. Sligo
- Dobbin’s Inn, Co Antrim
- Clontarf Castle, Co. Dublin
- Kilkea Castle, Co. County Kildare
- Wilton Castle, Co. Wexford
If you’re brave enough, you can spend a night in one of these haunted locations and see if the ghost stories are true. Just don’t blame us for nightmares and trauma that might keep you up at night afterwards!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a free-spirited damsel who loves documenting her adventures. Her fondness for travel, food, and cultural appreciation makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content about them. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Viking Hotel Waterford.