Ireland has one of the most haunted areas in the world, three castles close to each other in County Offaly, says an expert.

Irish Ghost Hunters chief Tim Kelly said paranormal activity is particularly strong in the three ancient castles which make up the county's famous “'haunted triangle,” namely, Kinnitty, Leap and Charleville.

The Dublin-based spook detector said: "There's no doubt in my mind that Co. Offaly is the most haunted county in Ireland, indeed probably one of the most haunted areas in Europe.

"Over the years we've conducted hundreds and hundreds of paranormal investigations and there's something about Offaly, particularly the energy around that haunted triangle."

Recalling an overnight poltergeist probe in Kinnitty Castle - which is a popular four-star hotel - a number of years ago, the 49-year-old said: "It was a pretty spooky experience. The eeriest part of it was when I was leaving one of the big old rooms there and I suddenly heard my name, 'Tim' being whispered.

"There was only one other investigator with me at the time and before I had chance to say anything, he turned round to me and said, 'I've just heard your name being called.'"

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Kelly - whose six-man team use hi-tech gadgetry, including thermal-imaging cameras and powerful audio equipment for their investigations - said he's encountered similarly creepy experiences at nearby Leap and Charleville.

But he also singled the remote Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountains and Wicklow Gaol as two other locations his team had noted for their paranormal activity.

He said: "Over the years we've probably done over 100 investigations at Wicklow Gaol, and probably every second or third visit we'd pick up something, which is not surprising given all the cruelty, suffering and death that took place in the gaol.

"I don't like the atmosphere in the Hellfire Club. We've done about five or six investigations there, and it's not somewhere I particularly want to return to. There's a very cold and negative vibe there."

Meanwhile, Kelly, who when not ghoul-busting works as a radio presenter, and his crack team said they hope to conduct their first-ever paranormal investigation at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel.

One of the rooms in the luxury five-star retreat is said to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Masters, a mischievous seven-year-old girl who died of cholera in 1791.

Where's the spookis plae you've ever been in Ireland?

One of the most haunted places in the word: Kinnity Castle in Co. Offaly.