Mid-term break is upon us, an entire week with nowhere to drop your kids in the morning and no freedom to forget about them for the first 6 hours of your day. Allowing them to be minded by Netflix for 10 days is tempting and it may seem like making plans for the grey, dark days of the Halloween break is pointless. It will probably rain anyway. However we’ve put together a list of the best, creepiest, most haunted, spookiest houses which are open to the public that will make the perfect day out or weekend away this Halloween. Even if you’re adamant you’re not setting foot outside, turn off the lights, curl up under a blanket and read on for some creepy stories.
Loftus Hall is a large mansion house in County Wexford that is said to have been haunted
by the devil and by the ghost of a young woman. The story goes that Charles Tottenham and his wife and daughter Anne came to the mansion in 1766. One stormy night a stranger arrived at the house seeking shelter and was welcomed by the family. Anne and
the mysterious gentleman became very close during his stay at Loftus Hall. One night while playing cards, Anne bent down to retrieve a dropped card and noticed beneath the table that the stranger had a cloven foot. Discovered, the man shot through the ceiling. Legend has it that this particular part of the ceiling could never be fully repaired. Anne spent the remainder of her days locked away in the Tapestry room of the house gazing through the window out across the sea, waiting for her mysterious gentleman to return. The ghost of Anne, and the mysterious stranger are rumoured to still haunt Loftus Hall and are reported to have made appearances to many tour groups.
If you feel like visiting, Loftus hall offers 60 minute interactive guided tours of the ground floor which features the key rooms of the house. The tour is deemed suitable for families, however it is a haunted house tour and children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
For information on opening times, visit the website http://www.loftushall.ie/
The Hellfire Club
The Hellfire club, on Montpelier Hill is the ruins of a former hunting lodge in the Dublin Mountains. Built in 1725 by William Connolly, the story goes that stones from a cairn were used to build Mount Pelier Lodge but shortly after completion, a storm destroyed the roof of the building. Locals attributed this to the work of the devil, out of revenge for disturbing the cairn. After Connolly’s death, the hunting lodge was acquired by the Hellfire Club who were associated with outrageous behaviour and depravity. The president of the Hellfire Club was named ‘The King of Hell’ and was dressed like Satan with horns, wings and cloven hooves. There are many stories of satanic rituals taking place and the devil himself is rumoured to have made several appearances. One particularly disturbing story tells of a young farmer, curious to see the activities of the Hellfire Club’s meetings climbed Mount Pelier one night while a meeting was taking place. He was discovered by members and forced to stay in the building overnight to witness the events. He was found the next morning wandering the area and was said to have spent the rest of this days deaf, dumb and unable to remember his name.
If you haven’t been put off and would still like to visit, Montpelier Hill can be accessed from the Hell Fire Wood car park along the R115 road between Rathfarnham and Glencullen. There are about 5km of forest trails and nature walks. If you are planning to make the trip in the evening time, the views of Dublin are phenomenal and certainly worth the nightmares.
Ardgillan Castle, County Dublin
This beautiful country house is set on 200 acres of parkland and offers superb panoramic views of the bay across North County Dublin. But of course, like all castles of this kind, there would have to be a resident ghost, and a tragic tale of lost love. Around 10pm every Halloween night, the ghost of a woman in white appears on the bridge that leads from the castle grounds to Barnageera Bay. The legend goes that the young woman’s husband never returned from his usual swim in the bay on the 31st of October. Every day until she died, she stood on the bridge waiting for him to return to her. Now, each year on the anniversary of his disappearance, her ghost returns to the bridge still waiting for her beloved.
Halloween tours of the castle are running during the midterm break, so if you’re interested in seeing what it’s like to live in a horror film or perhaps catch a glimpse of the young pining ghost on the bridge, Ardgillan Castle is the place to be. If you’re not the romantic type, the castle can also provide a fantastic day out for the family with a free and spacious children’s playground open every day to the public. Guided tours of the castle are also available.
More details of Ardgillian Castle's tours and opening hours can be found on their website. http://www.ardgillancastle.ie/
Ballygally Castle Hotel, Co. Antrim
Ballygally Castle Hotel, in the village of Ballygally in Antrim is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Ulster. The castle was built in 1625 and has a colourful history,
having come under attack several times during the rebellion of 1641. The castle now operates as a hotel and is rumoured to be home to a number of ghosts including former resident Lady Isobel Shaw. Lady Isobel who fell from a window after her husband locked her in one of the castle rooms is reputed to knock on doors and then disappear. Other ghosts wander the hallways at night and guests have reported to have heard children laughing in their rooms. Mediums that have stayed in the hotel have said that they felt the presence of more ghosts than guests!
Source: www.hastingshotels.com/ballygally-castle/If you’re planning a weekend away and are not particularly bothered about sleeping, Ballygally Castle hotel is the perfect trip away this mid-term with some spooktacular offers available for Halloween.
Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
Charleville Castle in Tullamore is located in Ireland’s most ancient primordial oak woods, once the haunting grounds of Ireland's druids. (Spooky!) The gothic style castle was designed by one of the leading architects of the 18th century and apart from being one of the finest examples of gothic revival architecture in the country, it is also very haunted. Not only has it been visited by numerous paranormal investigators, the castle has also been featured in a number of paranormal reality television series including Living TV’s Most Haunted and Fox’s Scariest Places on Earth. According to the website, the castle is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of an 8 year old girl named Harriet who died tragically on the main staircase in 1861. Her laughs, cries and screams have been reported to be heard by many visitors to the castle and some have even claimed to have seen a little girl in a blue and white dress with blonde curls and blue ribbons in her hair.
All the more reason to visit you might say, and if you are interested in taking a trip here, the castle is open to the public and guided tours are offered during the winter months between noon and 4.00pm at a cost of €8 per person, or you are free to wander around the grounds and take in the atmosphere free of charge.
We hope you enjoyed our spooky stories this Halloween. Like we mentioned, all of these haunted houses are open to the public so why not grab the kids, hop on a broomstick and take a thrilling trip away this weekend.