Updated: Sep 27, 2020
As it drifts into winter, Ireland often becomes a place of twilight and mystery, with its quickly shortening days and long dark nights. The low sunlight, when it does appear through pale and clouded skies tends to cast long and ominous shadows across the blue-green grass and gray stones of the Irish moors. The ever-darkening atmosphere has its creepy fingers in influencing everything from folk superstitions and ghost stories to many famous Irish Gothic artists and writers, revealing tales of vampires, images of malevolent ghosts, and oral stories of paranormal occurrences. These Spirits roam the void between the nether realm and our own world and have been haunting the nightmares of the Irish people for as long as there have been stories of life after death. So today we will visit three of Ireland's most haunted locations.
The Murdered Jester of Malahide Castle, Dublin.
King Henry II of England had Malahide castle built in the 1100s and since its completion, it has seen many a haunting. In its early days, opulent and magnificent medieval feasts were regularly held at Malahide, and such events would not be complete without the presence of minstrels and jesters to provide entertainment.
One of these jesters, whose nickname was Puck, is thought to still haunt the castle to this day. It is said one night while performing at a feast, he gazed upon an enchanting female prisoner and fell madly in love with her at first sight. the legend goes, that while trying to help her escape, he was stabbed to death outside the castle walls, and in the arms of his beloved and with his dying breath vowed to haunt the halls of Malahide Castle forever.
There have been many sightings of the Murdered Jester, with accounts going hundreds of years back. even to this day, many visitors say they have seen or photographed him while visiting or taking a tour. it is even rumored that his spectral features appear in the thick ivy that grows on the walls right where he was murdered.
Places such as Malahide Castle seem to be magnets for strange and paranormal activity, as this particular location has had many other supernatural occurrences and ghost sightings over the castle's long and interesting history.
In more recent years, a portrait of a beautiful and sad woman dressed in white had hung in the great hall. Reports from both staff and visitors claim that at night her ghostly figure leaves its portrait to wander through the hollow halls of Malahide, although her reason for this is unknown.
The Derry Vampire, Derry.
In a district known as Slaughtaverty, is a grassy mound known as O’Cathain’s Dolmen. It is marked by a single thorn-tree. According to the locals, buried beneath is gnarled branches lies the grave of a vampire.
In 5th Century Derry, a chieftain known as Abhartach was notorious for his vindictiveness and cruelty towards his own tribe. He was mean and ugly with a strange deformed appearance. His features where so horrendous that rumors abounded that he was a dark and evil wizard.
When he died his relieved people had him buried in a manner befitting a chieftain of their clan. However, the day after his burial his corpse, seemingly alive, arose and reappeared in his home village, demanding a bowl of fresh human blood. further threatening that if he did not receive what he demanded there would be terrible retribution for those that lived in the village. He terrified his former subjects who turned to another local chieftain, Cathain, and asked that he kill Abhartach and keep them safe.
Cathain accepted and went on to kill Abhartach three times, but after each murder, Abhartach’s gruesome corpse came creeping back to his old village demanding his fresh bowl of blood.
Finally, Cathain consulted a holy Christian hermit for guidance. He directed that Abhartach be killed using a wooden sword made from the wood of the yew tree; he then must be buried inverted, and weighted with heavy stones. Finally, thorn bushes should be planted tightly in a circle around the burial site to discourage all who wish to disturb Abhartach's final resting place.
On following these instructions Cathain had at last confined Abhartach to his grave and kept his promise to the villagers. To this day, the locals there avoid the mound at all costs, especially after dark less Abhartach appear and request his bowl of blood.
The Haunted Cottage of Cooneen, Cooneen
Near the Fermanagh/Tyrone border, In the area of Cooneen sits an isolated and abandoned cottage. In 1911 this cottage was the home of the Murphy family, who were apparently victims of poltergeist activity. Mrs. Murphy was a widow who, along with her children, began to hear mysterious sounds in the night. there were knocks on the door, footsteps in the empty loft and unexplained creaks and groans bellowing from the cottage.
It wasn't too long after that, that other strange occurrences began plaguing the Murphy family. Plates traveled across tables seemingly on their own and bedclothes laid out for the children would move around in empty beds. Soon, more extreme, and violent paranormal activity began to occur. Pots and pans were thrown about slamming forcefully against the walls of the kitchen and heavy furniture would elevate from the ground only to drop unexpectedly and shatter upon the cottage floor. A coldness permeated throughout the cottage as mysterious shapes appeared and disappeared through its walls. The house became the talk of the village and drew many a spectator. Neighbors, clergymen, and even a local MP visited the cottage, and all were shocked by the strange events they witnessed.
The Haunted Cottage of Cooneen still stands today, with many of its visitors describing feelings of illness or unease while walking its grounds.
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