Status: Historical Village; Abandoned
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Archeologists have found remains here dating back to tombs from the Neolithic Era – 5,000 years ago. Humans have inhabited this area since the medieval period.
The stone cottages – no mortar between the stone just stacked stones – number approximately 80-100 and are built along a mile long stretch. They have not been occupied year-round since the famine of 1845.
However, until the 1940’s the village was used as a booley village. Meaning during the summer boys and girls in their teenage years brought cattle to graze here and lived in the cottages.
The village has been completely deserted since the since then.
The deserted village is still used by people camping on the island although numbers have dropped with the many stories of paranormal activity after dark.
Apparitions of the former residents are seen walking through the abandoned cottages. Shadow figures are even more common with one story saying a shadow picked up a dog and threw it at a group of girls.
Disembodied voices are heard including full conversations. Objects are known to disappear and reappear in different places as well as move on their own. Phantom footsteps have been heard as well as light anomalies; electrical disturbances; touches by unseen entities and feelings of being watched by something unseen.
Status: Historical Battlefield
This was the decisive battle in the Williamite War in Ireland between James II (Catholic) and William III (Protestant). It ended with a victory by the Williamites (opposing Catholics were known as Jacobites) and ended effectively James II’s fight for the throne of England, Ireland and Scotland.
The battle took place on July 12, 1691 (July 22 on the modern calendar) and was the bloodiest battle in the history of the British Isles with 5,000 to 7,000 dying. Most of the bodies were left to spoil on the blood soaked battlefield.
Goderk de Ginkel (Dutch) led William’s forces and was moving his army cautiously up the main Limerick-Galway Road when he found his way blocked by Charles Chalmont de Saint-Ruhle’s (French) army in the early morning hours of July 12. Both armies contained about 20,000 men.
The Jacobites occupied a strong defensive line almost 2 miles long with bogs guarding both their flanks. The Williamites did not move until 2pm and then it was just a probe into the Jacobite’s right flank. It was not meant to start a full scale battle as Ginkel wanted to wait until the next day.
An assault in the centre led to numerous Williamite casualties and the attack on the right was forced into the bog where many men drowned. They next attacked on the left and found the enemy falling back and made it all way to Aughrim town.
Near 8 pm Saint-Ruhle was attempting to direct his cannon fire when he was decapitated by a Williamite cannon ball leaving the Jacobite army without a senior leader.
The Jacobite army collapsed quickly with most of the cavalry and dragoons leaving the battlefield – these were, by far, the most well trained and experienced troops. The left flank collapsed completely and the Williamites drove hard into the centre.
Unaware of their senior commander’s death the right flank counterattacked and fought the Williamites to a standstill in an area now known as the “Bloody Hollow”. They say the ground and water flowed with the blood of men here.
With the left flank and centre collapsing the right flank had no choice but to fall back. The retreat became disorganized and Jacobite soldiers were slaughtered in the 100’s by the Williamite calvary. Many of the Jacobites had dropped their weapons in their hurry to escape. Witnesses said Jacobite soldiers and officers were killed in cold blood after they surrendered and were promised no harm.
The next day the hill that had been the Jacobites defensive line was now 4 square miles of bodies. Most of the prisoners were sent to the Tower of London and an island prison were all but a few died prematurely.
Witnesses say the bodies of the Jacobites were left on the field of battle to rot.
There is now an Interpretive Centre in Aughrim itself to teach the history of the battle and save artifacts taken from the battlefield.
The apparitions of Jacobite soldiers are frequently seen standing on the former field of battle just staring off into the distance. They will disappear if approached.
The phantom sounds of battle coupled with the screams of the dying men still echo over the battlefield all these centuries later.
In the “Bloody Hollow”, which was covered in blood as well as the dead and the dying, people experience an intense feeling of fear. People are also touched by unseen entities here. It is thought the injured men who cried for help that never came here reach eternally into the ether still hoping someone will help them.
The apparition of a dog so loyal to his master that he followed him into battle is seen in the spot where he slain.
There is an overpowering intense sadness that hangs over the battlefield. Perhaps in memory of the thousands who died here and were left to rot in the Irish mist.
(Caisleán Léim Uí Bhánáin)
Status: Famous Haunted Castle
The Castle has a Long and Gruesome History and the Paranormal Activity Reflects That. Reader Discretion is Advised.
No one is 100% sure when the main keep was first constructed but the date agreed to by the majority is 1250. It was built by the O’Bannon clan who were secondary chieftains to the O’Carroll clan.
There is evidence the castle was built on a prehistoric site with a stone structure – possibly ceremonial – dating back to the Iron Age (500 BCE).
In 1513 the Earl of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald, attempted to seize castle and failed. He returned in 1516 and managed to take by partially destroying it. In 1557 the O’Carroll clan regained possession of the castle.
However, at that time the O’Carrolls were undergoing a civil war for leadership of the clan. This led to the legend of the Bloody Chapel at the castle when one brother broke into the chapel and slayed another brother – who was a priest – with a sword on the altar of the chapel.
In the 17th century the castle was passed to the Darby family. Seances were held in the castle at this time which first brought public attention to castle and it’s alleged haunting. Many believe Mildred Darby may have woken up many of the castle’s ghosts especially the Elemental (see below).
The castle was burned in the Irish Civil War in 1922 and there were stories of an attempted insurance scam afterwards.
In 1974 the then abandoned castle was purchased an Australian historian Peter Barlett who began a restoration which lasted until his death in 1989.
In 1991 the castle was bought by Sean Ryan – a musician – and his wife Anne who are still the owners today. Tours can be arranged by contacting the Ryans personally.
The Ryans have continued the renovations.
This location calls itself “the world’s most haunted castle”.
The most famous ghost of Leap Castle is “The Red Lady”.
She is said to be either a woman captured by the O’Carrolls who was then raped and became pregnant. When her baby was born it was immediately slain with a knife – as in still attached the umbilical cord - at which point the woman grabbed the knife and ended her own life as well. The other story is that two O’Carroll men were fighting over the same woman who attempted to escape – she probably wanted neither man – and was stabbed to death.
She now roams the castle in a long red dress. She is said to be quite tall and lean with long chestnut hair and she always has a dagger held above her head as if she about to stab someone.
After The Red Lady the Elemental is most famous spirit inhabiting the castle.
The so-called Elemental may date back to when Druids called magical beings to protect the land but many believe it is Gerald Fitzgerald – rumoured to be a powerful magic-user – who occupied the castle after invading it. Either way the Elemental is a powerful spirit that will generally leave witnesses alone unless it is provoked.
The Elemental is described as in a semi-decomposed state with dead rotting eyes and an overwhelming stench of sulphur and decaying flesh. Usually, it is referred to simply as “It” and is said not to be trifled with.
The Bloody Chapel is a burned out ruin today but echoes of a legendary horrible murder are still here.
The apparition of a priest – said to be the murdered brother is seen on the staircase. Unexplained light streaming out of the ruins is very commonly reported. The phantom smell of rubber burning is also reported both in and near the chapel.
In 1922 the Priest’s House – with it’s long history of apparition sights – was burned out. Previous to this the house was habitable but people sleeping there reported someone and invisible getting into bed with them. Whoever it is then goes to sleep and snores.
The Priest’s House is also where multiple shadow figures were seen. As well the apparition the large man rolling a barrel up to the house before disappearing is seen.
The apparition of a large bodied monk in a cowl is often seen here today walking through the building using windows as an entrance and exit as if there were doors there.
The ghosts of 2 little girls – Emily and Charlotte – who lived in the castle in the 16th century. They have been seen playing in the main hall of the castle. Charlotte is known as having died due to a fall from the battlements and her ghost is seen dragging her deformed leg.
Occasionally the girls are seen with a ghost called the Governess or the Nanny. The Governess is also seen in the castle on her own. She is described as a tall severe looking woman.
The apparition of an old man is seen sitting in a chair seemingly enjoying the heat from the main hall’s fireplace.
A woman is said to have been murdered – by her own family member – also in the 16th century. Her ghost is seen in very little clothing; she is said to scream twice loudly before vanishing into thin air.
(Rock of Cashel)
History and Paranormal Activity
The Devil’s Bit is 480 metres (1,570 feet) high and takes 90 minutes to climb.
According to legend this mountain got its name because the Devil took a bite out of it while being chased by St Patrick out of Ireland (there’s another version of this legend we’ll get to in a bit). When the Devil bit the mountain, he lost a tooth which he spat out and it became the Rock of Cashel – more on that later.
The problem with the St Patrick version of the legend is that the mountain has been around a lot longer than St Patrick himself. The “original” legend was that an Irish Hero – Fion Mac Cumhaill - was chasing a creature called The Cratnoch – a very ancient evil being – out of Ireland who had given birth to number of other evil creatures – including The Devil – out of Ireland. In hopes of slowing Fion down the creature bit a chunk out of the mountain and threw it at Fion.
Either way the chunk of stone/tooth is what we now know as the Rock of Cashel. Either way the scar in the mountain was created by an ancient Evil so let’s give thanks for the cross that is now on the top of the mountain; and lit every night.
The Book of Dimma was found in 1789 in a cave on this mountain after being lost in the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th Century. The Book of Dimma is an illustrated manuscript containing a copy of the 4 gospels. It was written at the monastery of St Cronan in Roscrea during the 8th Century in a miraculous time created by Cronan when the sun did not set for 40 days. He had instructed his scribe Dimma to complete the manuscript before the next sunset. The Book of Dimma is now housed in Trinity College in Dublin.
Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel is said to have been created when a chunk of rock was removed from the Devil’s Bit – either a tooth of the Devil or a piece of mountain thrown by an ancient Evil (see above). It is also the legendary spot that St Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th Century through baptism.
It was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster until the Norman Invasion of Ireland in the 12th Century. The 1101 the ruling King of Munster donated the fortress to the Church.
In 1647 the fortress was sacked by the English Army in the Irish Confederate Wars and all the Irish troops, and the Catholic Clergy, on site were slaughtered. The English soldiers piled turf around the building and set fire to it – 800 people were burned to death. As well, many religious artifacts were either destroyed or stolen.
The site is now a tourist attraction and only the round tower, Cormac’s Chapel and the Cathedral remain on the site.
The site said to hold tremendous amounts of energy in it – likely due to its long history of human habitation – that many people feel as soon as they enter. Some people have also developed physical symptoms such as headaches and tight throats.
There is also said to be a cloud of sadness that hangs over this location.
In 2022 a group captured a photo of what may be a ghost. The photo was published in the Irish Mirror.
Other Activity: misty apparitions of people in medieval clothing, light anomalies, electrical disturbances, disembodied voices and feelings of not being alone and not being wanted.
Testimonial By Mary
The Devil's Bit overlooks my grandads house he help plant the trees around the mountain to keep the evil in xxx
Status: Former Gaol; Museum
This prison was opened in 1796 and housed and executed some of the worst criminals in the history in the United Kingdom previous to Irish Independence. This included many Irish Revolutionaries who fought for Ireland’s independence.
The 28 square meter cells were filled with up to 5 people and were not segregated. Men, women and children – as young as 7 – were all housed together in the same cells. Prisoners were jailed for everything from petty theft to murder and revolt.
In 1840 a women’s wing was built but it was constantly overcrowded.
In 1924 the Irish Free State Government decommissioned the gaol after the end of the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War that followed. The gaol was seen as representative of the oppression Ireland suffered under English (UK) rule.
In 1936 the government considered demolishing the prison but found it not to be cost effective.
Instead, turning it into a museum – especially to memorialize the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising who the English executed at the prison – was brought up but tabled with the onset of World War II.
Work didn’t commence until 1960 when ownership was turned over to a Board of Trustees make up of the government and the public. The museum opened in 1966 but it took until 1971 to fully clean up the buildings and grounds.
The museum is owned by the Department of Public Works.
Many visitors have reported seeing people in period clothing and assume they are re-enactors before they discover they are acting seeing apparitions of the prison’s former inhabitants.
Visitors and staff report a very menacing presence near the chapel balcony. Mediums have confirmed the presence of an evil entity in the chapel.
One of the restorers saw the chapel lights on after he turned them off. He returned and seeing the chapel was empty he turned the lights back off. After leaving the lights turned back on again. This went on for while until the living person gave up.
Another restorer was in the dungeon area when a sudden wind with no source pinned him against the wall. He had to fight the force in order to escape the dungeon. He never returned to the gaol.
Phantom footsteps have been heard that often follow people on site – even to the pointing of stopping and starting with the witness.
Other Activity: disembodied voices; cell doors slamming shut on their own; electrical disturbances; cold spots; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; light anomalies and feelings of being watched and not being wanted.