Almost every town and village in Ireland has its ghosts stories. There are places where you can feel the thrill of emotions and with a bit of luck and … belief in paranormal phenomena to meet ghosts.
Irish enthusiasts and paranormal researchers Cormac Strain and Danny Carthy described the results of their many years of research in the book Haunted Carlow. Based on that book I have prepared the list of the most haunted places in County Carlow. Among them there are not only castles, but also other places, for example a cinema or a bar. You can meet there a white lady, ghosts of druids, soldiers, brides, lovers and even Banshees.
True stories, confirmed old myths and tales from the past, and modern tales of poltergeists in housing estates, phantoms and ghostly voices, white ladies and banshees. Not only stories from often repeated in folklore but also freshly discovered ghostly tales heard from people from Carlow can be found on Haunted Carlow cards.
You can order this book on Amazon here Haunted Carlow book
If you want a trip that is unlike any other, one which you can feel a thrill, you should definitely visit one of the following places. Especially in Halloween.
Top 10 Haunted Places in County Carlow
No 10 – Ballyloughan Castle
One of the stories about the castle says that it is haunted by the ghost of a local priest who was hiding here from royalists but was betrayed and hanged. Since then his ghost haunts the castle corridors, where strange, scary sounds can also be heard.
Ballyloughan Castle was probably built in the 13th century, it consisted of a large open courtyard, with facades and an external moat. Today it is a small square tower and fragments of the entrance gate, which is surrounded by two large rounded towers. The castle is located on private land, it is a valuable National Monument of Ireland and is open to the public.
Location of Ballyloughan Castle:
No 9 – Bestfield Lock
Bestfield Lock is a dam on the Bestfield Canal, on the eastern bank of the Barrow River, likely built in 1650.
The canal is haunted by a 19th-century haulier who sank at Bestfield Lock.
Location of Bestfield Lock:
No 8 – Carlow Town Park
The most popular town park in Carlow town, it covers over twelve hectares of open space, on the banks of the Barrow River.
The story around Carlow Town Park has also been researched by Leinster Paranormal. This story dates back to 1910 and 1920, when reports appeared of a man in a cylinder appearing in the park. Those who saw the man in the cylinder said that the closer they got to him, the smaller he got until he disappeared completely.
Location of Carlow Town Park:
No 7 – Graiguecullen Bridge
Wellington Bridge or commonly called Graiguecullen Bridge is one of the oldest and the lowest bridges on the River Barrow. The stone five-arched bridge was built in 1569. In 1815 the bridge was rebuilt and widened and named the Wellington Bridge in honor of the Irish, Duke of Wellington, who in 1815 defeated Napoleon’s army in the famous Battle of Waterloo.
The Bridge is related to the story of Mrs. Kelly – the owner of the shop that was located right next to the Graiguecullen Bridge. She was innocently accused and convicted of fraud in 1870. Since that she has been haunting the Graiguecullen Bridge and its surroundings.
Location of Graiguecullen Bridge:
No 6 – IMC Cinema Carlow
The Fairgreen Shopping Centre is one of the largest and the most modern shopping facilities in County Carlow. It includes over 40 shops as well as restaurants, bars and a cinema. IMC Cinema in Fairgreen Shopping Centre was opened in 2009.
One of the ghost storie is about this cinema, and it is about a teenager who once ran out of a building terrified, screaming that he had seen a phantom elderly man wearing a hat. Ghosts from the past usually appear in old buildings, IMC Cinema building is new and modern, so where does this ghost come from? Unfortunately, the authors of this story do not know the film this young man chose, maybe the ghost came out of the screen? But the teenager’s story is confirmed by some cinema employees who confidently claim that they also witnessed “strange phenomena” in this cinema.
Location of IMC Cinema Carlow:
No 5 – Scraggs Alley Pub
Located on Tullow Street, the main street in downtown Carlow, the Scraggs Alley Pub is one of the town’s largest and most famous, and has been operating for 21 years. The ghost in the pub here is blamed for slamming doors and shifting furniture, and has been seen behind the bar and on the third floor of the building.
Location of Scraggs Alley Pub:
No 4 – Staplestown Road
One of the more intriguing ghosts to “meet” in Carlow is the “White Lady of Staplestown Road” in Carlow Town. The woman dressed in white was first spotted on the Staplestown Road back in 1950, where the Clayton Hall Medical Centre now stands. According to reports from the 1980s and 1990s, various sources indicate that the phantom of a woman was seen by many different people in the same place. People who saw the White Lady said that she looked sad and worried about something. Some said that the woman waved at them and disappeared when they came closer. A ghostly form has also been observed on and below the railroad bridge on Staplestown Road.
Location of Staplestown Road:
No 3 – Carlow Shopping Centre
A perfect example of a mix of history and modernity. Carlow Shopping Centre was established on the site of the former “The Old Carlow Gaol” (1700s.) – the Old Jail in Carlow town. The entrance, which now leads to the Carlow Shopping Centre was originally the main gate of the Old Jail. The jail was closed in 1897. And then rebuilt by Thomas Thompson. The renovated parts of the former jail are still inside the shopping centre.
The building is haunted by a ghost. This is the ghost of Lucinda Sly – the last woman who was publicly hanged in a former jail.
In March 1835, ten thousand people crowded the streets of Carlow watched the hanging of Lucinda Sly and John Dempsey. It was the last such public execution in Carlow town. Sly and Dempsey were convicted of the murder of Lucinda’s husband. A plaque commemorating the event was placed in the Carlow Shopping Center, 180 years after Lucinda Sly was hung.
Based on the events of Carlow in 1834 and 1835, the novel “Lucinda Sly A Women Hanged” by the famous Irish author Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé won the 2008 Oireachtas Literary Award.
Meanwhile, Mend i Makedo Teatr Co, in conjunction with the George Bernard Shaw Theater Carlow, staged the play “Lucina Sly” between March and May 2015, written and directed by John MacKenn.
Another story has it that Carlow Shopping Centre is haunted by the ghost of a young girl who was mistreated by prison guards.
In the last years, many strange and unexplained incidents have taken place in the building – i.e. mysterious lights and voices appearing and moving equipment. This was even shown on a national television station on a program about paranormal phenomena in Ireland.
Location of Carlow Shopping Centre:
You can order this book on Amazon here Lucinda Sly A Women Hanged book
No 2 – Duckett`s Grove
Duckett’s Grove is the ruins of the house of the Duckett family. It was built in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. It was built on a plot of 12,000 acres (49 km2) belonging to the family.
In April 1933 a fire broke out here, for unknown reasons, which largely destroyed the buildings. And subsequent owners and property managers significantly depleted them by demolishing many buildings. But still this what remains from Duckett`s house is impressive.
In September 2005 Carlow County Council purchased the property and work began to secure what was left to make the area available for public use and make it one of the region’s main tourist attractions.
Ducketts Grove should be visited not only by lovers of history and beautiful architecture, but also should be visited by lovers of paranormal phenomena. Because this property is listed among the most haunted houses and castles of Ireland. Maybe someone will meet here a Banshee. Apparently she is visiting the house of Ducketts Grove. According to legend, this woman-ghost is a “guardian of the family”, but also heralding a death. Banshee is often described as a women wearing white or gray robes who combe hers long, fair hair. Some Irish legends say that she can appear in any form, like animal or bird.
Banshe in Duckett’s Grove is the ghost of a woman William Duckett had an affair with. The woman died tragically after falling from a horse, and her mother placed a curse on the Duckett family, giving rise to the Banshee story.
It is impossible to imagine a more inspiring abandoned place, and it is not hard to believe that ghosts live in it. Many visitors reportedly saw the ghosts of members of the Duckett family walking through the ruins. William Duckett’s ghost riding a white horse, voices and the sounds of cutlery coming from the old kitchen. Some saw a demon dog with flaming red eyes patrolling the area. There are also stories of strange lights appearing all over the building.
A story well known to local residents concerns a man who passed the house on a horse late at night. After passing through the gate, the terrified animal stopped suddenly and despite the rider’s efforts, refused to move. Hanging the holy rosary around the horse’s neck helped, only then did this strange phenomenon subside and they could go on.
Many paranormal research teams have studied Duckett’s Grove, with varying success. Some say that they felt the touch of an invisible hand, others heard otherworldly whispers, and many equipment used by the researchers suddenly broke or simply – refused to obey.
Location of Duckett`s Grove:
No 1 – Huntington Castle
Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, from the name of Clonegal village in County Carlow, the ancient seat of the Esmonde family, is full of ghosts stories and has made it famous as one of Ireland’s most haunted castles.
The castle was built in 1400 as a fortress for the Caviness family, an old Irish clan, on the site of a former convent.
The castle in its present form owes its decorative architecture to the First Lord Esmonde, who rebuilt it in 1625 replacing an earlier fortress and his grandson called it “Huntington”.
There are various myths that Huntington Castle is haunted by ghosts, including Druid spirits, their ghostly figures most often appear in a place called Yew Walk, where there is a 600-year-old tree, one of the few survivors from the monastery times, its intertwined branches create a kind of tunnel – a gate to another time. There is also the ghost of Mr. Esmonde’s first wife appearing in the gardens by the moonlight – a woman combing her long hair in the moonlight, despairing because her husband and son have gone to war. There is also a specter of a soldier who, while Cromwell’s forces were going to the castle, dressed up in the enemy’s uniform to gather information about his plans, unfortunately, when he returned from the reconnaissance, his companions did not recognize him and shot him through the grate in the door, in which his ghostly the face still appears today. There are also, of course, ghosts walking in the castle corridors, the ghost of Barbara St. Lego and her maidservants, the ghost of Bishop Leslie Limerka, who often stayed in the castle in the 18th century, the bishop visits the so-called room with a four-poster, apparently, has already scared many guests who stayed here for the night.
No wonder Huntington Castle is famous for being one of the most haunted castles in Ireland. It is the perfect place to spend a Halloween, where events called ghost hunting are organized.
Location of Huntington Castle:
Below photos of Huntington Castle by evening in October 2020.