The ghost hunters from Arizona and the rest of the crew on the Haunted Tour of Ireland are heading back on the bus after a good night’s sleep in haunted Kinnitty Castle. They are heading to the most haunted Leap Castle and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park for another day of adventures. Come along for the ride on the ghostly tour presented by GHOSTours.com.
Day 5 Leap Castle, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Durty Nelly’s, Dublin Ghost Tour
After breakfast, Richard Felix took the group on a quick tour of the castle grounds and told them about some of the ghosts of Kinnitty Castle. The Gothic Revival Kinnitty Castle is located in the heart of Ireland in County Offaly, and has a long history. The first stronghold was destroyed in 1209 and rebuilt by the Normans around 1213 on a spot once inhabited by druids and bards. The castle changed owners many times. Lady Catherine Hutchinson became the owner of the castle in 1811. It was burned down by the Republican forces in 1922. The castle was restored and transformed into a wonderful hotel with dark hallways and sweeping staircases. The grounds feature the remains of an Augustinian Abbey and an ancient Celtic High Cross. The cross is carved with biblical scenes and located in the gardens.
The castle has its own resident ghosts. A ghost of one of the departed monks from the abbey is said to find the ambiance of the castle quite inviting and is seen wandering the darker corners of the Banquet Hall. He stands very tall and is always dressed in black. He is able to predict and foresee the future and passes messages though staff members. Allegedly, everything that he predicts comes true. He has also been known to haunt the dungeon bar of the hotel.
Richard and Edd Felix tried to make contact with the spirit in the balcony of the banquet room with a séance that included table tipping, communications with a wine glass, and using Debe Branning as a human pendulum.
There is also a ghost in the Geraldine Bedroom where many people have sensed a presence of a spirit of a whimpering child. There is also a circle of Celtic stones near the Con Ryan cottage in the back of the castle. The cottage looks like something out of an old fashion storybook.
But, just a little further down the road, another castle was awaiting the tour’s arrival—the notorious, and most haunted, Leap Castle. This castle is also located in County Offaly—about four miles north of the town of Roscrea. It is believed the structure was built around 1250 AD. It too, has had many owners including a bitter fight for power of the O’Carroll brothers. One of the brothers was a priest. The O’Carroll priest was holding mass for members of the family in what now is called the “Bloody Chapel” when his rival brother burst into the chapel and plunged a sword into his brother and killed him.
The Ireland ghost gang was honored to have renowned flutist, Sean Ryan—the owner of Leap Castle since 1991 as our host and guide at the castle. Ryan, who is continuously restoring parts of the castle, graciously invited the tour into his home and told ghost stories that he and many friends had witnessed. TV programs such as “Most Haunted” and “Ghost Hunters” have filmed at Leap Castle and investigated these haunted tales.
Sean Ryan spoke to the group and declared he does not fear the ghosts at Leap Castle. They hear a lot of strange sounds in the castle late at night (and occasionally a few screams) but for the most part, the most active ghosts are two young girls they call Catherine and Emily. Every time Sean mentioned the playful young girls, the front door would open slightly on its own. There is also a ghostly women often seen called the Governess. Many visitors have witnessed an older man just sitting in a chair near the entry engaged in the happenings of another realm. Often he is seen sitting in the same spot for several hours.
Sean Ryan was knowledgeable of Irish history and its legends. Before we left he told us the story of a blind musician of the O’Cahan (O’Kahane) Clan and how he created the haunting melody of today’s “Danny Boy.” Sean proceeded to entertain us with the song. It was quite fitting considering one of the members on the tour was a descendant of the O’Cahan (O’Kahane) Clan. (Kane). He too is a budding musician.
The group was a little late traveling to its next destination—but that was one time they did not fret. It was on to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park in County Clare. Before entering the castle grounds, many of the tour members had lunch in Durty Nelly’s. Durty Nelly’s was established in the 1620’s. Nelly always found a way to make ends meet and was the keeper of the toll bridge over the river Owengraney which flowed outside her window on its way to join the Shannon. She was known for her generously hospitality to weary travelers. It was one of these rogues who stole her savings—all the gold coins she had collected at the bridge. She created a magic brew of whisky from her distillery in the woods that healed feeble dogs, made childless couples virile and strong, and relieved aches and pains. Travelers came from miles to have a drink and soothe their woes.
Across the road was Bunratty Castle. The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendor and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. Today, the castle stands peacefully in delightful grounds. The houses and cottages of the folk park spread out at the foot of its massive walls, much in the way that the cottages and crofts of old would have clustered around its base. You can wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of the Medieval past.
There is a story about two friends were standing in the upper level of the Bunratty Castle hallway when one of them became aware a dog was scratching at the door and whining to get in. “Listen to that dog.” One of the friends could not hear it. “It’s in here.” She opened the door to a small room which had been a huntsman’s living quarters—but there were no dogs in sight.
Soon everyone was back on the bus and ready for a long drive back into Dublin. On the way back the Irish skies were lined with rainbows, double rainbows, with the pots of gold looking to be just an arm’s reach from their seat on the bus.
Once in Dublin, the bus driver, Daithi, helped the tour guests find their bearings by given a short tour of some of the well-known historic and tourist areas of the city. After quickly checking into the Ballsbridge Hotel many members of the tour grabbed taxi cabs and headed to the city center for a haunted walking tour of Dublin.
Our guide with Hidden Dublin Walks took the group to several historic locations and told grizzly ghost tales about the buildings. The highlight of the tour was the last stop which happened to be the eerie grounds of St. Audoens Church. It is said the ghost of Darky Kelly wanders the gates to the catacombs known as “Hell” due to its whorehouses and drug dens. Upon entering the grassy park area to the side of the church after the guide locked the gates behind the tour, and you could almost feel an eerie presence keeping its watch. Be sure and take lots of photos as you descent the 40 steps down to the gate of “Hell” as Darky Kelly is said to haunt the steps.
How does the haunted tour of Ireland end? Who will have the best costume at the famous spooky masquerade party? Check back for part six coming very soon!
Be sure to Click on slideshow and check out Haunted Tour of Ireland part 1, 2, 3 & 4 at the end of this story.
Watch the video below of Sean Ryan playing his flute at Leap Castle.
For more information:
Arizona Haunted Sites Examiner: Debe Branning firstname.lastname@example.org