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Curious Eye

Paranormal activity and a 900-year-old omen: The haunted history of Charleville Castle

Do you dare read about the spooky tales of wandering ghosts and a deathly Oak tree synonymous with a famous Tullamore estate?

ARE YOU BRAVE enough to step foot in a haunted house? 

In the quaint town of Tullamore, Co Offaly, nestled in an ancient Oak forest is a stately castle constructed in 1798. It took 14 years for the castle’s completion, and its eerie architecture is considered to be one of the most striking examples of Gothic design in Ireland. The grounds upon which the structure was built were gifted to the Moore family, who founded Tullamore village, by Queen Elizabeth I in 1577.

charlevillecastlecooffalyireland Shutterstock / Dontsu Shutterstock / Dontsu / Dontsu

The Moore family were responsible for the creation of the Earl Of Charleville peerage, dating back to the mid-18th century with Charles Moore. Over the years, the family struggled to maintain the title as no male heir was produced to continue the lineage. Therefore, it went to Charles William Bury, a second cousin of the last count, in 1764. At the time of inheritance, Charles William Bury was only 6 months old. 

All of the legends and stories surrounding Charleville Castle have all of the hallmarks of a classic horror film from the 1970s. From the sacred grounds which were canonised by Druids in the 6th century and facilitated paranormal activity to King Oak, – a tree in the garden that is thought to be over 900 years old and had a close relationship with the Bury family, the first inhabitants of the dwelling – the tragedies and tales of Charleville Castle certainly warrant its title as one of the most haunted sites in Europe. 

Amongst the most harrowing accounts from the castle include the tragic death of the Third Earl of Charleville’s young daughter, Harriet fell to her death from the winding staircase in the castle. Since the 8-year-old’s death in 1861, she has continued to roam the interior and even helped to protect the child of a former owner of Charleville Castle who claimed that a little girl helped him make his way safely down the staircase. There was, however, no trace or evidence of her presence. 

tullamoreco-offalyireland08-26-2019-charlevillecastleisagothic-style Shutterstock / Bo Scheeringa Photography Shutterstock / Bo Scheeringa Photography / Bo Scheeringa Photography

Elsewhere, there have also been accounts of gatherings of spectral monks and malevolent spirits that reside in a room that has since been closed off to the public. While King Oak, the towering tree, is thought to have some supernatural powers. It has been said that a member of the Bury family would die shortly after one of its branches would fall off the body of the tree. 

In the 20th century, Charleville Castle was impacted by economic strife and the War of Independence. Throughout that century, the estate was uninhabited for significant periods and thus leading to the site entering a state of ruin. In the 1970s, locals came together to work on the restoration of the premises and have overseen its rejuvenation. 

Today, Charleville Castle has provided the setting for the beloved independent music festival Castlepalooza and has also been used as a location for films such as The Green Knight starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Barry Keoghan, and the 2019 Irish horror comedy, Extra Ordinary

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