A grand mansion on 63-acres of land, in County Wexford, is on the market, the only catch... it's the most haunted property in Ireland.
Loftus Hall, an imposing 19th-century mansion with nine bays, 22 bedrooms, a footprint of some 27,124 sq ft, on 63-acres of land, with its own private beach has gone on the market for $2.87 million (€2.5m).
Supposedly the most haunted house in Ireland, its owners Shane and Aidan Quigley had cashed in on its folklore in recent years and provided tours of the grand house to visitors. Among the various legends connected to the house is that the devil visited for a card game and shot through the roof having been found out.
The house was empty for close to 20 years before the Quigleys bought and restored it in 2011. Their work included a new roof and repairing structural damage. The efforts they put into the house meant spending $288k (€250k) per year on their historic building and their business. In 2019, Loftus Heritage reported a loss of $14.4k (€12,500).
Ghost stories at Loftus Hall
The legend of Loftus Hall begins during the 18th century when a man called Charles Tottenham lived at the Wexford mansion. The story goes that a stranger came to the Hall looking for a place to stay on a stormy night. He was invited in by the Tottenhams and they all sat down to play cards.
During the game, one of the ladies bent down to pick up a card. She was shocked when she saw, underneath the table, a cloven foot. All at once, the stranger vanished through the ceiling with a puff of smoke.
Loftus Hall was then exorcized by Father Thomas Broaders whose powers worked. Fr Boarders went on to become Parish Priest of the parishes of the Hook and Ramsgrange for almost 50 years.
The building in which the legend is associated was leveled to the ground in 1870 and the present-day mansion was erected.
History of Loftus Hall
The 22-bedroom house we see today was built on Hook Peninsula between 1865 and 1875.
It was built by the Marquis of Ely, on the ruins of Redmond Hall, which was in existence since 1350, and was purchased by the Loftus family in the 1600s.
A local historian, Liam Ryan, told the Sunday Times, the Loftus family were English planters who left their mark on the area.
“There are no monuments erected to them because they were landed in and put out the Redmonds, who were Catholics, but you can see their impact in the lovely stone walls in the area,” he said. “Loftus Hall is one of the most recognized buildings in the country.”
Over the years Loftus Hall has been run as a country hotel and a convent run by the Benedictine or Sisters of Providence order of nuns in the 20th century.
In fact, Loftus Hall is featured in Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books as Fowl Manor. The Wexford author worked at Loftus Hall when it was a hotel, as a teenager and it left its mark.
Selling Ireland's most haunted house
The Quigley's bought Loftus Hall for just $719k (€625k) in 2011. The house had previously sold for $1.95 million (€1.7m) in October 2008. Now the Quigley's have chosen to move on putting the grand old house on the market for $2.87 million (€2.5m).
Aidan told the Times he plans to move on an focus on a new restaurant and pub business in the town of Campile, closeby. However, he said he doesn't plan on selling Loftus Hall to just anyone.
“I’m not just going to sell it to anyone: I’ll be interviewing potential buyers. If a state body comes in, that’s an option. If an American owner wants to live here, I’d be keen to work with them to restore it,” he said.
His vigilance is appreciated by the Irish Georgian Society. Donough Cahill, the group's director, told the Times he also hopes the future owners are sympathetic to Loftus Hall’s history.
“As always with a big house, you want to find a sympathetic new owner who will be committed to developing a good conservation strategy,” he said. “The challenge is finding someone who is willing to take it on.”
For now, Loftus Hall has reopened to the public as the COVID restrictions are eased. However, pre-booking is essential and face-masks indoors are compulsory.
For more visit www.loftushall.ie.
* Originally published July 2020.