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Dublin: 20 °C Saturday 30 May, 2020

7 of the spookiest places around Ireland for a Halloween road trip

Buckle up for some spine tingling drives across the Emerald Isle.

The night sky near Loftus Hall on Hook Head Source: Michael McGrath

IF YOU ARE looking for an alternative to trick or treating this Halloween, why not pack up the car, hit the road and get spooked at one of these scary places.

1. Leap Castle, Offaly

Source: Shutterstock/Dontsu

The drive to Leap Castle is very scenic indeed and takes you through a very beautiful part of the country. There are loads of great places to stop and have a picnic along the way, so make sure you keep some of that trick or treat candy for your road trip.

Back in the day, Leap Castle was home to some brutal atrocities, many of which centred around the O’Carroll clan who occupied the castle for years. It is now reputed to be the most haunted castle in Europe.

Leap Castle has a whole host of supernatural spirits spooking the guests. Lurking about Leap Castle are a menacing monk, a rogue red lady and a ghoul going by the name The Elemental. The latter is said to be the spirit of an ancient O’Carroll who died in the castle from leprosy… which explains its decomposing facial features, and the appalling stench that accompanies the presence of the spirit.

The Ryan family live in the castle so if you want to arrange a visit you should first make contact with them via the Leap Castle website.

2. Aughrim Battlefield, Galway

Source: By John Mulvany (c. 1839 – 1906)

The Aughrim Battlefield is located between Ballinasloe and Loughrea and the drive here takes in some wonderful countryside and pretty villages with loads of places to stop for food and photos along the way.

In 1691 one of the bloodiest battles in Irish history took place in Aughrim with over 7,000 people killed. There is a ditch in this field where pools of blood reputedly collected. Known as “The Bloody Hollow”, it is said to be haunted by those who died in the battle.

People have reported seeing the apparitions of the soldiers, as well as feeling phantom touches and intense feelings of fear. Sounds like the perfect place to scare yourself silly on Halloween.

3. Ballygally Castle, Antrim

Source: By Kenneth Allen, CC BY-SA 2.0

This 17th-century castle is said to be haunted by Lady Isabella Shaw who likes to pace up and down the corridors and knock on the doors as she goes by. There is even a room dedicated to Lady Isabella – the Ghost Room – which you can enter and wait to see if her ghost pays you a visit.

A road trip to the castle brings motorists along the breathtaking Causeway Coastal Route in Antrim which also takes you to the Giant’s Causeway.

4. Captain Boyd’s grave, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

Source: By SylviaStanley - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

It’s a case of real life pet cemetery here in St Patrick’s Cathedral: the place is reputedly visited by the ghost of Captain Boyd’s loyal dog.

When Captain Boyd died his faithful companion, a  black Newfoundland dog, chose to starve to death rather than leave the graveside of his master. Visitors have reported seeing the ghost of the black dog sitting at the foot of the life-sized marble statue of the Captain and lying on his grave outside.

From this city centre location you can then continue your road trip south towards the Hellfire Club where the devil is said to have appeared during a card game.

5. Charleville Castle, Offaly

Source: Shutterstock/Dontsu

Nestled in the spooky dark dense woods outside of Tullamore, Charleville Castle is one of the most haunted places in Ireland. Even the drive up to the castle is spooky.

Charleville Castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of the daughter of the third Earl of Charleville. The little girl tragically died in 1861 when she slipped down some stairs. Her ghost now haunts those stairs and visitors to the castle claim they have heard a little girl singing and skipping through the corridors late at night.

6. Loftus Hall, Wexford

Source: By - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Loftus Hall is known as the most haunted house in Ireland so it is a must visit for fans of paranormal activity. It is located on the stunning Hook Peninsula in County Wexford which is a wonderful drive in itself but add an abandoned house haunted by the devil and a young women and you have the makings of a perfect Halloween road trip.

According to the story, a stranger to the house turned out to be the devil in disguise. The young daughter of the family was so traumatised she was locked away in the Tapestry Room until she died. She haunts the house from here. Many people have attempted exorcisms but none have succeeded as ghostly events are still experienced at Loftus Hall. Visit if you dare. You have been warned.

7. St Katherine’s Abbey, Limerick

Source: Wikipedia

The ruins of this medieval abbey lie about 3km east of Shanagolden and a road trip to this part of County Limerick will reward you with some stunning countryside views with plenty of photo opportunities along the route.

The ruins of St Katherine Abbey are haunted by the Countess of Desmond, who was wounded by an arrow during battle and was mistakenly buried alive under the altar by her husband. Her shadowy figure waits for him to come back to realise his mistake and her blood curdling screams can be heard in the ruins. And how do we know this? Apparently when her body was examined, her finger bones were worn out from clawing.

Not only that, the last abbess of St Katherine’s was rumoured to dabble in the black arts in a room south of the church called The Black Hag’s Cell – so named because of the colour her face turned when she died. Sounds like the perfect place to hold a Halloween get-together.

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