Ireland has a long and bloody history, which means that naturally, haunted places can be found all over the country.
From castles visited by murdered spirits, to pubs run by friendly ghosts, Ireland is home to an array of specters, perfect to give you goosebumps in the run up to Halloween.
We’ve done our research here at IrishCentral and come up with what we think are the 10 most haunted places in all of the Emerald Isle.
So light a fire, curl up to your computer and get ready to learn all about the Ireland’s scariest ghouls and ghosts.
1. St. Michan’s Church, Dublin
St. Michan’s in Dublin is famous for many reasons. The church, built in 1095, contains the death mask of the Irish patriot Wolfe Tone and the organ on which Handel practiced his masterpiece “Messiah” before his first performance in Dublin.
The renowned Anglo-Irish philosopher Edmund Burke was christened here, while legendary nationalist political leader Charles Stewart Parnell’s funeral took place here.
But St. Michan’s is well-known for being haunted as well as the home of the Mummies of St. Michan.
The dark church vaults contain remarkably preserved corpses, including those of a 400-year-old nun, brothers and leaders of the 1798 Irish rebellion John and Henry Sheares and a body with severed hands and feet.
Though the cadavers in the crypt are cold and clammy, the air in the space is oddly warm, which makes it strange that many visitors report having felt icy cold fingers run down their necks as they stoop to examine the corpses.
Others say they’ve heard disembodied whispering voices around them, while others simply have felt a strange, cold presence.
2. Kilmainham Gaol, Kilmainham, County Dublin
Prisons are famously haunted buildings, and Ireland’s most famous prison is no exception.
Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin opened in 1796, and is the place where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were held and subsequently executed by firing squad. The building was shut down in 1924.
Today, the large and eerie jail is Ireland’s largest unoccupied prison. It was restored in the 1960s, and is now a museum that’s said to be haunted by both former inmates and evil wardens.
Several ghostly tales have been told about Kilmainham Gaol. During its restoration, caretaker Dan McGill reported lights mysteriously turning on and off in the prison chapel.
During the same time period, a man who was painting the dungeon area of the prison experienced a powerful gust of wind, which blew him against a wall. The man managed to fight his way out of the dungeon, and emerged with an ashen face and shaking hands. He refused to work in, or ever enter, the jail again.
Another worker was decorating the 1916 memorial corridor when he heard heavy footsteps climbing the stone stairs and walking up behind him. When he turned, no one was in the corridor, despite the fact that the footsteps continued right past him.
Several children who went to tour the prison have stopped at its threshold and refused to go a step further onto the grounds.
According to Dan McGill, the threatening spirits at the prison do not belong to the inmates, because they are happy that their stories are being told. But, “The soldiers and the guards?” he would say. “Now they’re a different matter.”
3. Charles Fort, Kinsale, County Cork
Military forts join theatres and jails in being the most haunted areas in many countries.
Charles Fort is Ireland’s resident military haunted sight.
The fort, which was built in the 1670s, is often visited by the “White Lady of Kinsale.”
The legend goes like this: In the 1870s, Wilful Warrender was a young woman married to an officer named Sir Trevor Ashurst.
One day, Ashurst swapped places with a sentry, who he sent to fetch flowers on his wedding day.
Wilful’s father, the commander of the fort, saw the “sentry” asleep, and shot him, only realizing afterwards that he had actually killed his new son-in-law.
When Wilful discovered what had happened, she leapt to her death from the battlements, prompting Commander Warrender to shoot himself.
Ever since, Wilful, the “White Lady of Kinsale,” has roamed the grounds of Charles Fort, and has been seen walking through locked doors.