Warning: contains topics that may cause an uneasy feeling. Advised to not read at night or rather with someone when easily feeling unsettled.
Ireland has many buildings that behold ghost stories, or well, paranormal ones. I’ve always been interested in such stories, including abandoned buildings. Sure, the question will always be the same: are such stories true? Multiple buildings have been visited by paranormal scientists, and they said it was true. In several parts, I’ll be telling all paranormal stories and the history of Ireland’s buildings! Today: part 4!
1. Grace Neill’s Bar
This pub in County Down is one of the oldest ones in Ireland. Built in 1611, the pub was originally known as The King’s Arms. But then the pub was renamed after Grace Neill, the woman who ran the inn for many years until her death in 1918, at the age of 98. A ghost of an old woman in Victorian clothing has been spotted in dark corners of the inn. She can be seen at the front bar, straightening glasses and furniture, switching lights on and off. A strange shuffling can often be heard coming from the second floor, some even felt an invisible presence pass through them while standing near the building’s staircase.
2. Dobbins Inn Hotel
The hotel was a tower house built by Reginald d’Aubin in the 13th century. By the 15th century the name had been changed to Dobbins. In the late 1500s/early 1600s, Elizabeth Dobbins (wife of then-owner Hugh Dobbins) fell in love with a soldier who was stationed at a nearby castle. The two began an affair, for which Elizabeth crawled through a secret tunnel behind the huge stone fireplace (in what’s now the reception area of the hotel) as she met her soldier called Buttoncap. But her husband discovered them and murdered them both with his sword. In 1946, the building turned into the Dobbins Inn Hotel, inhabited by Elizabeth’s ghost. Ghosts have been woken from their sleep by the touch of an invisible hand caressing their faces. Many others saw a ghostly figure flying across the reception area, disappearing into the chimney of the stone fireplace. A waiter who worked in the hotel’s restaurant, was struck in the back of the leg by a coin once. But when he turned around, there was no one there.
The name of this specific location is Irish for Black Nuns’ Abbey (also called the Abbey of St Catherine de O’Conyl or simply Old Abbey) is a ruined Augustinian abbey in County Limerick. It’s hidden in a secluded valley southeast of Shanagolden. What it is? The remains of a medieval convent where the prioress (a lady of the FitzGeralds from Shanid Castle) terrified the local population as she used her black arts and sexual practices. The sacristy where she’s buried, is called Black Hag’s Cell (called after the blackness of her face when she died). Other reported ghosts include the Countess of Desmond who was buried alive in the Abbey. A mistake that came to light when her menacing ghostly figure prompted an investigation of her makeshift grave. There, they found her finger bones, completely worn out and ragged from clawing. Today, her screams are heard throughout the ruins.
The Battle of Aughrim was the decisive battle of the Williamite War in Ireland. It was fought between the largely Irish Jacobite army loyal to James II and the forces of William III on 12 July 1691, near the village of Aughrim, County Galway. The battlefield is a vast cemetery still haunted by the screams of the Jacobite army that got killed, massacred even. It counts thousands of bloody, mutilated bodies and immortalised. In 1691, the cold-blooded Williamites’ made Jacobean blood run down the hillside in thick oozing streams and the bodies of soldiers lay for more than a year there, until only their bones were left. One point in the field, where blood is gathered in large pools, is still known as The Bloody Hollow.
5. Belvelly Castle
Belvelly Castle is a 14th or 15th-century tower house in County Cork. It’s situated next to the small village of Belvelly, opposite and overlooking the only road bridge connecting Fota Island to Great Island. Those who have seen the apparition of poor vain Lady Margaret (one of several ghosts that haunt the tower house) disagree over whether or not she has a face. In the 17th century, Lady Margaret Hodnett was like a Jezebel (having a number of suitors and an extensive collection of mirrors. Tired of being kept dangling, one of her men (Clon de Courcy) decided to starve her and her family into submission. After a year of this, the Hodnetts surrendered. Lady Margaret however was found surrounded by unburied corpses and skeletal beings. Rejected then by Clon, she smashed all her mirrors and to this day, is seen wandering around the castle. She has a dark, misty sphere around her shoulders, constantly rubbing at patches of the wall until they gleam like mirrors.
That’s it for part 4! Which story had you heard before? And which one seems the most ‘creepy’ to you?
Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤