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Sunset at Dunluce Castle, County AntrimBallygally Castle, County Antrim

Haunted Heritage

You will not believe the many places across Northern Ireland which are said to be haunted! To help you get into the Halloween spirit, here are just a few well known places where the living and the non-living mix together on a regular basis, starting with some haunted hotels. 

Ballygally Castle Hotel in County Antrim is one of the most famous haunted hotels. It is said to be haunted by Isabel Shaw who wanders the corridors at night dressed in a silk dress, amusing herself by knocking on guests’ doors. Those who are particularly brave can request to stay in the ghost room!

The White Horse Hotel in Londonderry/Derry is said to be haunted by a mail stage coach complete with portly driver, who pulls up and enters the hotel only to mysteriously disappear.

Tollymore Forest Park - courtesy Newcastle TICTollymore Forest Park: The Blue Lady is a wistful spectre who formerly resided in the seat of the Roden family, at Tollymore House, but since the destruction of the house in the post war years, she now wanders restlessly throughthe forest park and has been seen on many a dark night walking the tree lined avenue.

Newcastle Harbour is home of many a legend and story - a banshee has been seen walking silently among the tied up boats and lobster pots, her name came from the Irish meaning fairy woman and her appearance is said to herald a death, described by locals as a small woman with a high pitched voice.

Bogey Hill, overlooking Newcastle Harbour, is said to be haunted. Ever since a local fishing disaster in 1843 when so many of the local men drowned, there has been many a sighting of a grieving woman dressed all in black standing on Bogey Hill sobbing and looking out to sea hoping for the return of her lost husband, son or father. There have also been recent sightings of a male ghost dressed in a black suit - perhaps the husband of the grieving woman, still searching for his widow. (Story courtesy of John Leneghan)

St John's Church, Newcastle - courtesy Newcastle TICSt John's Church, Newcastle: Sightings of a huge black dog have been seen in this area; this hound is said to have eyes of blazing fire and gleaming white teeth.

If you're wandering in the Mourne Mountains beware of the Slieve Binnian light, which has been known to block the path of unsuspected walkers, and steer them
away from the haunted trees near Spelga Dam where it is claimed an Irish Chieftain is buried.

Most people have heard of headless horsemen, but in Mullanakill in north County Armagh there is said to be a ghost of a headless horse.  Sir William Verner took his trusty steed Constantine to battle in the Napoleonic Wars.  Its head fell off and he brought the horse home to bury him in the family graveyard. You never know what you might see when you hear horses hooves in the night.. (story courtesy Hannah Rodgers)

Old houses are often associated with hauntings, and these include some well known National Trust properties:

Springhill, an early plantation house situated outside Moneymore, County Londonderry, is haunted by the friendly ghost of Olivia Lenox Conyngham. She is said to float around the gardens and house and loves to see visitors to her home!

Mussenden Temple, situated on the Downhill estate on the North Coast, is said to have blood appear on the floor only to mysteriously disappear within minutes.

Castles are another popular venue for our non-living friends:

A few centuries ago the kitchens of Dunluce Castle, outside Portrush, County Antrim, slipped into the sea below taking the staff with them. On certain nights you can still hear the screams of the people as they fell to their watery graves.

Carrickfergus Castle is said to be haunted by Button Cap who carries his head under his arms as he walks the battlements and Dobbin’s Inn, also in Carrickfergus, is supposedly haunted by Button Cap’s girlfriend.


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