Ireland's haunted castles are intriguing places and home to many a ghost story.
Ireland has a long and sometimes tragic history, much of which centers around the many castles scattered across the countryside.
Discover Ireland's Haunted Castles
Ireland's castles and great houses were home to many embattled families and their bloody histories have left their ghostly mark on many on their fortified homes. Some stand intact while some are only ruins. But many of these castles share a long and bloody history.
So is it any wonder that many of them are rumored to be haunted? These are some of the most haunted castles in Ireland, many of which you can visit today.
Today, let's take a look at some of the most haunted castles in the Emerald Isle.
Tully Castle, Fermanagh
On Christmas Day in 1641, during an Irish rebellion Tully Castle in County Fermanagh was burned to the ground, killing 60 women and children as well as 15 men.
Ever since then it has been said that the spirits of those who died return to the castle on Christmas Day.
This eerie place is preserved as one of Northern Ireland's historic monuments and can be visited by tourists.
Grannagh Castle, Kilkenny
Grannagh Castle’s troubled past is said to have started with the very mortar holding it together as it was mixed with blood, but the ghastly storiees do not end there.
The Countess of Grannagh who ruled over this castle in County Kilkenny was said to have trapped her enemies in the tunnels and left them to die.
Local stories also say that she would hang local peasants using the Butler Knot in her family crest. She was some crazy woman.
With such brutality surrounding Grannagh Castle, it’s easy to see why it might be haunted.
Dunluce Castle, Antrim
Today Dunlace Castle in County Antrim is possibly better known as Pyke from Game of Thrones, but before the show was filmed there it suffered through repeated raids over the years.
One English captain was captured and sentenced to death by hanging and to this day he still roams the tower he was killed in.
Clifden Castle, Galway
Clifden Castle was one of the many places where victims of the famine took shelter, hoping to find some relief, but there was none to be had.
County Galway where this castle is located was devastated by the Great Irish Famine.
Today the castle grounds are haunted by those who lost their lives thinking they would be safe there but sadly perished.
Dunguaire Castle, Galway
Dunguaire castle was built in 1520 and stands on the shores of Galway Bay.
The magnificent tower house has been restored, but stories of ghosts and hauntings are closely associated with this 16th-century building just outside the quaint village of Kinvara.
Guaire was the Hight King of Connacht and the castle still bears his name. He was renowned for throwing generous feasts for his men.
One local story tells how a local hermit, now known as Saint Cólman, had just finished fasting. He prayed to God to send him some food and the angels brought him the feast laid out for the King's men.
Guaire shared his feast with the holy man, and to this day friendly spirits are said to abide in this ancient castle
Today, medieval banquets are served here, and tourists can visit to see if they might spot a friendly ghost.
Loftus Hall, Wexford
Loftus Hall on the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford was the home to the Loftus family.
During a storm in 1775 a ship came ashore on the Hook peninsula. A strange young man arrived at the door of the mansion and he was welcomed inside. He stayed with the family and Anne Loftus, a daughter of the owner, became very close with the visitor.
While playing cards one night, Anne bent down to pick up a card she dropped on the floor and noticed their visitor had a cloven foot.
Anne exclaimed in horror, and their visitor disappeared through the roof, leaving a large hole in the ceiling.
Anne's mind deteriorated and she was locked away in the Tapestry Room where she died. Her ghost is said to roam the corridors and rooms of Loftus Hall.
Killua Castle, Westmeath
Killua Castle has a connection to the infamous Lawrence of Arabia, but you have to look further back in his family tree to find out why Killua Castle is haunted.
The castle is said to be haunted by a former land steward who was suspected of stealing from the Chapman family who inherited the castle and then mysteriously was discovered drowned in the pond.
Leamaneh Castle, County Clare
Just 30 minutes from the world-famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare is Leamaneh Castle, home of the spirit of Red Mary, a woman said to have had 20 husbands, most of whom had an untimely death.
It is said that Red Mary was then sealed in a hollow tree trunk by locals and that her cackles can still be heard to this day as she haunts her castle grounds.
Castle Leslie, Monaghan
Castle Leslie in County Monaghan is one of the most famous luxury hotels in Ireland, but that doesn’t stop it from having a haunting history.
It is said to be haunted by Norman Leslie who died during the First World War. He is said to haunt the Red Room which is one of the main attractions of the hotel.
Castle Leslie’s hauntings come in many different varieties and forms. Bells ring around the castle and strange figures can be spotted roaming the corridors of this expansive mansion.
Lady Constance passed away in 1925 and she likes to return to The Mauve Room. A strange monk has been spotted by visitors and some report hearing a baby cry at night.
Malahide Castle, Dublin
Thanks to its proximity to Dublin, Malahide Castle is perhaps one of the most visited haunted castles in all of Ireland.
But few would know it is haunted as the ghosts, who include The Lady in White and the Court Jester Puck only haunts the castle’s halls at night.
But stories of the castle grounds being haunted go all the way back to the 12th century so you never know what you might see when you visit.
Tours of the castle are open to the public.
Ballygally Castle, Antrim
Ballygally Castle is a hotel that knows how to play up the stories of hauntings.
They have a Ghost Room that is dedicated to Lady Isabella Shaw who is said to wander the castle’s halls.
She is said to wander the tower and even knock on doors, leaving you to wonder was that room service or was that Lady Isabella?
Leap Castle, Offaly
If you’re looking for the most haunted castle in Ireland then look no further than Leap Castle.
Legend says that the O’Carroll clan who lived there for centuries tortured and brutally killed people in the castle over the years and that the victims have never really left.
One, in particular, The Red Lady is said to haunt the halls holding a knife, hoping to avenge a child that was stolen from her.
Sadly Leap Castle is privately owned so you won’t get an invitation inside.
If you’re interested in reading more about some of the must see castles of Ireland I’ve got an entire article to help you plan your trip.
Ireland's castles tell the story of Ireland's tumultuous past. Have you ever visited one of the haunted ones? Let us know in the comments below.