The Irish had a hand in popularizing these terrifying Halloween characters.
The scariest of Halloween monsters and ghouls have the Irish to thank for their terrifying origins. We look at some of the best and most terrifying creations that the Irish unleashed upon the unsuspecting world on the Night of the Living Dead.
"Dracula" the novel was written by Dublin native Bram Stoker, a lifetime lover of the darker elements of Irish folklore and mythology that inspired his most famous blood-sucking creation. A spirit you can sink your teeth into.
Not the cuddly one, or the pesky ones running off with their pots of gold, but the one from the 1993 movie "Leprechaun" who almost knocked off Jennifer Aniston in one of her first roles.
A sheet with eyeholes will do for anybody wishing to copy this iconic Irish Halloween terror on October 31. She is heard only when a loved one is dying. The word comes from the Irish "Bean Sí," literally meaning female fairy.
The Devil is often referred to as Darby O’Gill, not the sanitized Walt Disney movie but a mythological figure who is a much more wicked character than Walt's tame version. In Ireland, he usually appears as an attractive man at a dance, but if any lady smitten with him looks down she will see his cloven hoof feet.
Werewolves of Tipperary
Ancient texts refer to the half-man, half-wolf who inhabited this area. Old Gaelic chieftains used to visit and pray for their support before a battle.
The Undead Priest
This is an old priest from the Dublin Mountains who locals swear appeared to them after his death in the 1920s. Many independent verifications were received, so best be wary of any priest on Halloween night just to be safe.
A much-hated ruler in ancient Ireland, Abhartach was said to have many evil and dark powers. After he was slain, legend has it he rose from the dead to drink the blood of his subjects. His grave is thought to be in Errigal, Derry.
Jack O’Lantern is where the modern pumpkin came from. Jack O'Lantern is said to be a ghostly spirit who trapped Satan in a cross-shaped tree hollow. When Jack died, he was barred from Heaven and Hell, suspended in a black abyss with only an ember in a carved-out turnip, the Devil's flashlight, to help him navigate.
The Meredith Monster
In the Parish Church of Ardtrea, near Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, there is a marble monument and inscription in memory of Thomas Meredith, D.D., who had been a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and for six years rector of the parish. He died, according to the words of the inscription, on May 2, 1819, as a result of "a sudden and awful visitation." A local legend explains this "visitation," stating that a ghost haunted the rectory and it could often be seen afterward cackling over the death of Meredith.
We hope you're not too spooked after reading about these scary Irish characters!
* Originally published in October 2010. Updated in October 2022.
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