8 Haunted Castles In Ireland That You Can Actually Stay In!

haunted castles Ireland
Photo via Hastings Hotels

Yes, there are a number of supposedly haunted castles in Ireland where you can spend the night if that’s your thing!

Ireland has proved to be a big attraction over the years for ghost hunters and people fascinated by the supernatural world.

Places like Loftus Hall (the most haunted house in Ireland) and Leap Castle (the most haunted castle in Ireland) attract tourists by the boat-load each year.

However, those in search of a unique experience can take things a step further, by spending a night in a haunted Irish castle.

Haunted castles in Ireland that you can stay in

There are plenty of haunted Irish castles strewn across our island with histories dating back centuries that you can visit during the day.

There are few, however, where you can kick-back for a night. Below, you’ll find 8 castle hotels in Ireland that are supposedly haunted.

1. Kinnitty Castle

castle hotel offaly
Photo via Kinnitty Castle Hotel

You’ll find Kinnitty Castle in the countryside of Birr in County Offaly where it has left past guests feeling a little spooked after a stay in certain rooms.

In fact, this supposedly haunted castle in Ireland attracted the attention of the TV show ‘Most Haunted’, who filmed here back in 2004.

The castle was first built in 1209 but was rebuilt to its current state in 1928. The High Cross and Abbey walls are the only part of the original structure that remains.

It’s believed that several ghosts haunt the castle grounds. The most famous ghost is the Monk of Kinnitty, who has been spotted by both staff and guests alike.

2. Ballyseede Castle

Ballyseede irish castle hotel
Photo via Ballyseede

If you’re up for a weekend away with the chance sighting of a ghost, a night at this stunning castle outside of Tralee is a must.

The Ballyseede Castle estate dates back to the late 18th century and it has a history that is packed full of legends and stories of spirits.

The castle’s most popular ghost is former resident Hilda Blennerhassett, who is often seen around the upper floors of the castle and main staircase.

Even the current proprietors have encountered a ghost running down the stairs and slamming doors in the middle of the night.

3. Kilkea Castle

kilkea castle kildare
Photo by the Irish Road Trip

Kilkea Castle in Kildare is often referred to as one of the most haunted castles in Ireland, and for good reason, as a stay at this estate can include a ‘special’ night-time supernatural tour.

The guided post-sunset walk takes visitors through the history of the castle, while also offering a chance to spot some of the more well-known Kilkea ghosts.

There are stories of a little girl playing in the hallways and tugging at bedcovers at night and a woman in white who crosses the courtyard and passes through the stone walls. 

Note from the editor: I stayed in Kilkea a few years back and it was class. Thankfully, there were no encounters with any ghosts or ghouls…

4. Cabra Castle

afternoon tea cabra castle
Photo via Cabra Castle

Cabra Castle in Cavan was once voted the second scariest hotel in the world. The ghosts of this castle are tied to a forbidden relationship that took place in the 1780s.

A relationship began between the son of the then-owner of the castle and a servant girl. The story goes that when the girl fell pregnant, she was taken from the castle and tragically hung from a bridge.

Guests have reported hearing the spine-tingling sounds of a crying baby in the dead of the night and a strange feeling of a presence in the courtyard.

Note from the editor: I stayed in this one, too, a good while ago – class hotel and, thankfully, no mad experiences.

5. Ross Castle

ross castle meath
Photo via Ross Castle

You have a pretty high chance of encountering the supernatural world at Ross Castle in County Meath, by all accounts.

This 16th-century castle turned B&B, was originally built by the famously cruel, English Lord Richard Nugent. Although his presence has been reported within the grounds, it’s his daughter, Sabina, who most often haunts guests.

It is said that after her lover died in a storm as they rowed across Lake Sheelin, she locked herself in the castle tower and starved to death.

She is often seen throughout the castle with doors heard slamming into the night. You can rent this place through Airbnb here.

Note: If you book a night through the link above, we’ll make a tiny commission that helps us keep this website ticking over.

6. Markree Castle

Markree Castle room
Photo by Markree Castle

Don’t be fooled by the incredibly stunning Markree Castle in Sligo. This beautiful Gothic-style estate has a little girl called Pippa who has spooked guests in the past.

She has been known to play tricks on people by locking them in their rooms, as well as, chatting with other children who come with their family to stay.

However, it is said that she is also open to gifts in exchange for leaving you alone. On a number of occasions, people who brought along a present for Pippa claim to have had a completely ghost-free stay at the castle.

7. Blackwater Castle

castle airbnb with pub
Photos via Airbnb

Castles boasting 9,000 years+ of history often have a story or two of ghost sightings, and Blackwater Castle in Cork is no different.

It’s believed that this castle is haunted by the spirit of Lady Roche, a brave woman who led the defence of the castle in 1650 until it eventually fell to Lord Broghill.

Lady Roche was kept imprisoned in the castle tower and later was executed. It is said that her restless soul still roams the castle grounds wearing a dark hooded cloak with sightings reported by both guests and employees

8. Ballygally Castle

haunted castles Ireland
Photo via Hastings Hotels

Ballygally Castle is one of a number of haunted castles in Northern Ireland. You’ll find it perched on the Antrim Coast where it’s said to have a friendly resident ghost.

It is said that Lady Isabella Shaw, the wife of Lord James Shaw, still walks the corridors of the castle at night.

According to legend, the cruel Lord locked her in a room at the top of the castle after she couldn’t produce a male heir.

As she tried to escape, she tragically fell from the tower to her death. Guests hoping to catch a glimpse of her ghost stay in Lady Isabella’s room near the top of the castle.

Other Haunted Places in Ireland

most haunted castle in ireland
Photo left by Brian Morrisson (via Tourism Ireland). Right via Shutterstock

There are several other haunted places in Ireland that are well worth a poke around if you get the chance.

From haunted houses, like Loftus Hall, to haunted castles in Ireland, like Leap Castle in Offaly, there are plenty of creepy places to explore.

1. Loftus Hall

loftus hall old
Photo via Loftus Hall

This large mansion on the Hook Peninsula is considered Ireland’s most haunted house. The legend goes that a dark stranger was welcomed into the house by the Tottenham family during a terrible storm.

One night while they were playing cards, Anne Tottenham noticed that the man had cloven hoofs. The stranger then shot through the roof in a ball of flames and has continued to haunt the walls ever since.

People go to the house for tours in the hope that they will encounter the devil himself. Learn more about this Irish myth right here

2. Leap Castle

leap castle county offaly
Photo by Brian Morrison via Ireland’s Content Pool

Leap Castle in County Offaly is considered one of the most haunted in Ireland with a history stained with bloodshed. Many ghosts are said to wander the castle’s corridors and the place has been featured on various TV shows related to paranormal activity.

One of the most well-known parts of the castle is the Bloody Chapel, which is now an eery burnt-out shell.

It is said that one of the O’Carroll sons killed his brother, a priest, during mass and his spirit remains lurking in the stairwell. The estate is privately owned and open for pre-arranged tours.

3. Malahide Castle

castles in dublin ireland
Photo by neuartelena (Shutterstock)

This 800-year-old medieval structure is one of the most popular castles in Dublin and it was home to generations of the Talbot family until 1973.

It’s since been sold to the Irish State and is open for visitors. But be warned there is a legend of a murdered jester, Puck, who swore he’d haunt the castle with his last breath.

There have been sightings of the spirit around the grounds, as well as, other past residents from time to time.

Elisha is an Australian freelance writer, content creator and blogger, having written for Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.

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