Ireland’s Haunted Triangle
This area in County Offaly has three very haunted locations: Leap Castle, Charleville Castle, and Kinnitty Castle Hotel.
Leap Castle is a name familiar to those who watch ghost hunting shows and videos. Did you know how it got its name? Two O’Bannon brothers in the 13th century had a challenge to decide who would lead their clan: whoever jumped off the high rock where their castle would be built and survived the leap would be clan chief. Hence the castle, when constructed, was called “the Leap of the Bannons”. So the castle’s beginnings were not auspicious.
The property soon was taken over by the O’Carrolls and a clan leadership dispute led to murder, this time of a priest during Mass in the castle’s chapel, now known as the Bloody Chapel. An oubliette* was found in a hidden dungeon behind the chapel walls in 1922. Bones of upwards of 150 persons were removed and disturbing proof (a pocket watch) dated one of the last persons to die there could have been in the mid 19th century. There’s two wee girls who haunt the Main Hall and a ghostly monk appears in the Priest’s House. More terrifying is the Elemental† thought to be from the time of the Druids. It was last seen about twenty years ago by a practitioner of black magic who was also a castle resident. It is said that this inhuman specter will not appear unless challenged (really not a good idea even if you scoff at the supernatural). And there are more ghosts, not surprisingly, with its gory history. The castle is currently privately owned and occupied.
Charleville Castle, the original family seat of the Bury family, is a place where you can visit or attend an event. The trust in charge hosts musical concerts, private gatherings, festivals, and importantly for this subject, paranormal investigations. Short tours are also available at times.
This castle was built in a grove of ancient oaks (think the Druids again) and on top of ley lines‡. It is supposedly haunted by 8-year old Harriet, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Charleville, who broke her neck falling off the staircase railing, by numerous monks, a creepy old man, screams and unembodied conversations. A room has been closed off due to a malevolent presence. Even the centuries-old oak tree at the front of the castle has its own creepy legend.
Kinnitty Castle Hotel is the third point in this this triangle. There have been numerous castles on the site since the 1200’s, the latest rendition built in 1928 and now open to the public as a luxury stay. There’s a thousand years (or more) of tragedy and bloodshed on the land to contribute to the hauntings but its most famous ghost is the Phantom Monk, “Hugh”, who by times converses with visitors and staff, and may appear in as solid a form as you or I. If you want to overnight in a haunted room, ask for the Elizabeth or Geraldine room. Overall this castle has a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere some attribute to “Hugh’s” presence.