Haunted Dublin: It’s Halloween season so what better place to hunt for spooks and monsters then the capital city of the nation that invented the ancient horror holiday. Rob Buchanan has some spooky suggestions for us.
Castles are a great place to feel the spooky vibes. Here are Dublin’s finest!
Haunted Dublin: Drimnagh Castle
Drimnagh Castle was built approx. 1216 by Sir Hugh de Bernival. It is the only remaining castle in Ireland with a flooded Norman moat.
The reputedly haunted location boasts a 15th-century great hall and a 16th-century tower. The castle stayed in the same family for centuries till it was sold to a dairy farmer in the 1900s when its first restoration was attempted.
The castle stayed in this family until it was sold to the Christian Brothers in 1953 who built a school on the land. It fell into ruin again and risked demolition in the 1970s.
It was then partially taken over by An Caisleán GAA who restored the coach house. In 1986 artist Peter Pearson and a local committee got FÁS to restore it and the adjoining 17th century garden to its former glory.
The venue, which featured in The Tudors, can be hired as a wedding and party venue. Ghosts are not included in the bill!
Haunted Dublin: Puck’s Castle
The mysterious Puck’s Castle is an easily overlooked, overgrown ruin in a cow field in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. What it lacks in size it makes up for in mythology.
“Púca” as Gaeilge means a spirit. And this name was Anglicised to Puck, denoting the possible haunted history of the little citadel.
Built around the early 16th century, legend says it was constructed using cursed materials stolen from a nearby ancient magical ringfort called Bearna Dhearg. To defend “The Pale” it was not unusual then to cannibalise sacred Celtic sites for stone, no matter how severe the curses were.
The castle is the site of a verified story, sadly, that occurred in 1867. An English girl who lived locally, called Jane Eleanor Sherrard, vanished whilst picking wildflowers near the castle, never to be seen again. In this case, it seems some monsters are sadly all too human!
Haunted Dublin: Dunsoghly Castle
Dunsoghly Castle in Finglas is located on private land near the end of a runway, at Dublin airport. The four-storey medieval tower house was built in 1450 and its 500-year-old roof is the last surviving original wooden roof on an Irish castle.
The same family lived there for centuries until it was abandoned in the 1870s. It contains a haunted chapel dating from 1573, defensive slits in its towers and a barrel-vaulted ground floor.
Saint Oliver Plunkett reported stayed there. Dunsoglhy Castle was featured in Braveheart, standing in for Edinburgh Castle – the home of Robert the Bruce.
Haunted Dublin: Malahide Castle
800 years of continuous occupation, births deaths and battles means Malahide Castle is haunted by several spirits, the most famous of which is Puck.
Puck was the creepy Court jester who lived in the turret room. He was notorious for falling in love with female visitors but sadly his affections were never returned. He took his own life, but his diminutive apparition is seen about the castle – mainly near Puck’s Door in the main hall. There is also the Lady in White, a female spirit who haunts the corridors and gardens.
So… which haunted castle will you be braving this Halloween?
Rob Buchanan was one of the winners of 2015 Poetry Ireland Introductions series. His debut poetry collection “The Cost of Living” sold out. He has won national and international awards for his writing, and has been published in a number of poetry journals and magazines including The Stinging Fly, Flare, Live Encounters and Pendemic. Rob was a winner of the Young Ireland Award in Glasgow for his lectures on the Dangers of Democracy. He has written popular current affairs columns for, and been published, in DublinLive, The Outmost, Eile, An Phoblacht , Rukkle, Headspace and The Journal. Rob lives in Dublin and is working on his first novel and a Dublin history anthology.