Summer is gone, and autumn is upon us, and that means only one thing – Halloween is coming, and the goose is getting fat!
As Halloween creeps around the corner, we are going to take a look at some of the scariest tales out of the Emerald Isle. As the birthplace of Halloween, otherwise known as Samhain, it’s no surprise that spooky stories are rife in Ireland.
With its deep roots in mythology and folklore, Ireland has a fascinating connection with all things fairytale and spooky alike.
Let’s say you find yourself gathered around a campfire or with the glimmering flame of a lighter held up to your face this Halloween. Well, now you have five spooky Irish ghost stories to delight your audience.
From the gut-wrenching screams of the banshee to tales of headless horsemen, buckle in for our top five spooky Irish ghost stories to tell this Halloween!
- Summer is gone, and autumn is upon us, and that means only one thing – Halloween is coming, and the goose is getting fat!
5. The Dullahan – Ireland’s headless horseman
Stemmed from Irish mythology, the Dullahan is a headless horseman who rides on a black horse through the night while carrying his own head under his arm.
Those who have spotted the Dullahan claim to hear him calling out names in the night, searching for souls to take with him.
As the story goes, if you hear your name called out by the Dullahan, you are destined for death.
4. The ghosts of Leap Castle – ghastly creatures stalk the halls
Leap Castle, County Offaly, is one of the most haunted buildings in Ireland. Once the site of numerous executions, the most terrifying creature that haunts the halls of Leap Castle is a being they call ‘It’.
‘It’ is a small creature around the size of a sheep, described as having a decaying face and an overbearing smell of death.
‘It’ isn’t the only creature to haunt this dilapidated spot, though. Other tenants include the Red Lady, a scorned mother who has been seen carrying a dagger menacingly in her hands.
Then there’s the ghost of Emily. Emily died in Leap Castle when she was 11 years old after falling from the battlements.
Many people have seen her fall from the castle before disappearing before she hits the ground. These are just a handful of the spooky accounts from Leap Castle.
3. The Dearg-Due (vampire) – vampirism in Ireland
There are many stories of vampirism in Ireland. However, the tragic legend of lost love and a female vampire, the Dearg-Due, is one of the most riveting.
The Dearg-Due, which translates to ‘red bloodsucker’, was driven to her malice when she was to marry a chieftain as a young girl.
When the chieftain turned out to be much less than pleasant, she became depressed beyond hope. After allowing the life to drain out of her, she returned to the world with vengeance on her mind.
Finding her husband surrounded by women before her body was even cold, the Dearg-Due pounced, sucking not only the air from his lungs but every ounce of blood from his body.
Once she got a taste for blood, she became thirstier for more, feasting on the blood of many men under the shadow of darkness.
2. The Hellfire Club – a notoriously haunted Dublin spot
One of the most haunted locations in Ireland, and the product of one of the best spooky Irish ghost stories, is Dublin’s Hellfire Club.
Perched within the Dublin Mountains, the Hellfire Club was built on a neolithic passage tomb back in 1725. The building was said to house rich lords and noblemen who called themselves the Hellfire Club.
They would practice immoral acts, like all the usual suspects – drink, drugs, sex, and gambling – and hold black masses to summon the devil.
Those who visit today talk of an innately oppressive atmosphere as soon as you approach, as well as dark and demonic manifestations surrounding the area.
1. The banshee – the source of many spooky Irish ghost stories
Of all the blood-curdling creatures in Irish mythology, the banshee has to be one of the most upsetting and terrifying. Growing up in Ireland, we all heard first-hand accounts of banshee encounters, and they still send shivers down our spines to this day.
The description of the banshee varies from one account to the next, but she is almost always a hooded woman on a hill, with long, straggly hair whipping in the wind.
An ear-splitting scream escapes her lips, foreshadowing the imminent death of a loved one of whoever is unfortunate enough to hear her.