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Ireland is famous for its magnificent castles, some of which are century-old ruins, others dating from medieval times and transformed into luxurious hotels, along with the rare few authentic, medieval castles that offer the opportunity to feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. Not surprisingly, some of these castles have received countless reports of paranormal activity.
If you’re the adventurous type with a fascination for the haunted, there are few better places to stay than Ross Castle. Note there are two Ross Castles in Ireland, one in Killarney and this one, which is situated on the shores of Lough Sheelin, County Meath near Oldcastle. It’s not easy to find, but once you do, you’ll be in for a real adventure.
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Built in 1563, not much has changed over the years at Ross Castle, though it’s had the occasional remodel, with the latest thanks to host Jackie Moeran who arrived in 2015, using her interior design background to give it a good polishing while keeping the integrity of the castle and its history intact.
One thing that hasn’t changed at all is the numerous bizarre experiences that have been reported by guests and staff alike. Ross Castle is often referred to as a ghost hunter’s paradise.
Guests frequently mention waking up at various times during the night, hearing the sounds of doors shutting on their own and the whispering of voices, even when no one else is in the castle. A few have even felt the presence of someone or something sitting next to them in bed, though nothing harmful has ever occurred, at least in modern times.
While you’re there, ask the host to regale you with the tales of the purported ghosts: Richard Nugent AKA Black Baron, Myles Slasher O’Reilly, and of course, no ghost story would be complete without young lovers, in this case, Sabena and Orwen. You can also read about them on the castle website. Lonely Planet lists Ross Castle as one of the “Ten Lesser-Known Haunted Places in the World”. The sitting room with its roaring fire is a perfect place for a chat. If only those walls could talk.
While the castle is the main attraction in this area, you can view the series of some 30 tombs known as Loughcrew Cairns, which sit across a ridge of four hills just outside of town and date all the way back to 3000 BC.
Castlekieran, a monastic site located between Oldcastle and Kells, is home to a desolate church with a graveyard that’s covered by tall grass, as well as an Ogham stone and Kieran’s Well. Sir William Wilde, the father of the famous Irish writer and poet, described it as one of the most beautiful holy wells in Ireland. Tradition says the water offers curative powers, especially for headaches. Perhaps it’s the ultimate hangover cure after spending a little too much time in the pub?
Before you check out, don’t forget to sign the visitor’s book and be sure to read some of the previous entries to find out what some of the other guests have experienced while you’re there!