Cindy, Sandy, Gloria, Conor, Susie, Shiela, Trisha, and I—all Arizona ghost hunters—recently returned from our Ghost Tour of Ireland presented by GHOSTours. For the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing these Celtic ghost adventures with you. These tales may inspire you leave Arizona and take your own Ireland adventure.
The eight of us left Phoenix, Arizona on flights heading directly to Dublin, Ireland. We met up with the rest of the tour group at the Dublin airport the following morning. Our tour guide, Danny, led the pack while Kelley in the dungeon took on additional duties when our fearless leader, Charles, had to stay behind because of his unexpected eye injury. For most of the Tours of Terror regulars, this has become a gathering of friends, or a sort of a “family reunion” among travel acquaintances.
Day 1: Malahide Castle, Newgrange, Trim Castle, Clarion Hotel Sligo aka Old Insane Asylum
Our tour host, Most Haunted’s Richard Felix, was at the Dublin airport to meet the 48 arriving guests on the tour. Richard had recently broken his arm so his son, Edd Felix, came along to assist his father. We walked out to the bus loading zone where we met our driver, David. After loading our many heavy pieces of luggage, and the acquired wheelchair, we climbed on board the bus and awaited our first adventure.
The tour began at Malahide Castle. Malahide Castle and Gardens is one of the oldest castles in Ireland, set on 260 acres, this magnificent & historic 12th century castle has been home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. We explored the history of Malahide Castle and Gardens by looking at the lives, experiences and adventures of the Talbot Family on a guided tour.
Malahide Castle is loaded with ghosts. The ghost of young Lord Galtrim, Sir Walter Hussey, son of the Baron of Galtrim, was killed in battle on his wedding day in the 15th Century. Lord Galtrim wanders through the Castle at night pointing to the spear wound in his side and dreadful groans are heard. It’s said he haunts the Castle to show his resentment towards his young bride, who married his rival immediately after he had given up his life in defense of her honor and happiness.
The second ghost is Lady Maud Plunkett who does not appear as she did on the day of her marriage to Lord Galtrim, but as she looked when she married her third husband, a Lord Chief Justice. At this time she had become notorious in her ghostly appearances for chasing her husband through the corridors of the Castle.
The third ghost is more interesting, especially historically speaking. His name is Miles Corbett, the Roundhead to whom Cromwell gave the Castle and property during his protectorate. He was deprived of his property and made to pay the penalty of crimes he committed during his occupancy, which included the desecration of the chapel of the old abbey near the Castle. He was hanged, drawn and quartered and when his ghost first appears it seems to be a perfectly whole soldier in armor, but then falls into four pieces before the eyes of anyone who has the unpleasant experience of meeting it.
In the 16th Century the Talbots always had a jester among their retinue of attendants. One of these jesters, “Puck” by name, fell in love with a kinswoman of Lady Elenora Fitzgerald, who was detained at the Castle by Henry VIII because of her rebel traits. One snowy December night the jester was found close to the walls of the Castle stabbed through the heart, a tragic figure in his gay jester suit and cap and bells. Before he died he swore an oath that he would haunt the Castle until a master reigned who choose a bride from the people, but would harm no one if a male Talbot slept under the roof. Poor little Puck and his last appearance were reported during the sale of the contents of the Castle in May 1976. His little dwarf figure makes its appearance in many photographs in the Castle and there is one outstanding photograph which shows his old bewitching and wrinkled face peering out of the ivy on the wall.
And of course there is the “white lady”. For many years, the painting of a very beautiful anonymous lady, in a flowing white dress, hung in the Great Hall of the Castle. Nobody appeared to know her identity or the identity of the artist who portrayed her. It had been recorded that from time to time she would leave her painting and wander through the Castle in the quiet of the night. Reputed to have been seen by a number of people, over a period of many years, she has become known as the White Lady.
The group paid a much too short visit to Newgrange. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago thus making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the furtile lands of the Boyne Valley. Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb. However, Newgrange is now recognized to be an ancient temple—a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest. Newgrange is a large kidney shaped mound covering an area of over one acre, retained at the base by 97 stones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. The amount of time and labor invested in construction of Newgrange suggests a well-organized society with specialized groups responsible for different aspects of construction.
The group’s last stop of the day was at Trim Castle. Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, was constructed over a thirty-year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter. Hugh de Lacy was granted the Liberty of Meath by King Henry II in 1172 in an attempt to curb the expansionist policies of Richard de Clare. Construction of the massive three storied Keep, the central stronghold of the castle, was begun around 1176 on the site of an earlier wooden fortress. This massive twenty-sided tower, which is cruciform in shape, was protected by a ditch, curtain wall and moat. Trim Castle is what movies are made of. Movie makers of ‘Braveheart’ chose Trim in County Meath as the shooting location for their epic saga. A view of Trim Castle’s stony outline against a dramatic Irish sky relates times of valiant warriors and timid monks protecting the land. Monks have been seen wandering throughout the ruins and guests in the Trim Castle Hotel across the road have seen nuns playing in their rooms. The hotel sits on the grounds of an old Cemetery for nuns.
We then were whisked away to Sligo for our stay at the Clarion Hotel Sligo—or what is known to be the old Insane Asylum! What happened during the night? What happened to the wheel chair stowed in the bus?
Check back for MORE tales of Arizona Ghost Hunter Travels: Ireland Tour in the next couple of weeks!
For More information: Arizona Haunted Sites Examiner: Debe Branning: Nazanaza@aol.com