With our castles’ bloody histories, it is little wonder that many of us believe the spirits of unsettled souls reside in them.
ELEANOR FITZSIMONStakes a tour of Ireland’s spookiest spots ANCIENT DOORS slam shut without warning as a chill wind whips up where all was calm before.
Some have been reduced to ruins, frequently falling victim to fire as our predecessors sought their freedom.
Others, restored to magnificence, welcome wandering ghost-hunters into their well-stocked gift shops and chichi cafes. Why not mark the occasion by touring some of Ireland’s spookiest castles?
Malahide Castle With the exception of the period from 1649 to 1660, when Oliver Cromwell granted it to Miles Corbett, the Talbot family continuously occupied Malahide Castle from the 12th century right up until 1973.
The castle, now open to the public, is said to be haunted by a series of ghosts.
A deadly power struggle in the 1600s resulted in one of the clan, a priest, being run through and fatally wounded by his brother as he said Mass in what is now known as the Bloody Chapel.
Many poor souls were imprisoned and executed in the castle.
In 1900 workers discovered an oubliette, or hidden dungeon, next to the chapel, its floor replete with treacherous spikes.
Three cartloads of human bones were finally removed from this hellhole.
The magnificent Great Hall, built in 1475, is home to Puck, a negligent 15th-century castle sentry with a fondness for a tipple who fell asleep at his post.
Distraught, he hanged himself from the minstrel’s gallery.
Puck, whose spectre has reportedly materialised in several photographs, was most recently sighted in 1976, when the castle’s contents were being auctioned.