Haunted Ireland – John’s Bridge, Kilkenny

John’s bridge is one of two main bridges in Kilkenny city, situated on the edge of the city center, it offers a spectacular view of Kilkenny Castle and Green’s bridge, a sort distance upriver. John’s Bridge was first built in or around 1200 and has since been rebuilt many times. The current structure has stood since 1910.

During the flood of 1763, Green’s Bridge, a short distance upriver, succumbed to the force of nature and collapsed. Not knowing or perhaps not considering the dangers, a small group of spectators gathered and stood transfixed on John’s Bridge, to observe the events unfolding upriver. Tragically John’s bridge then also collapsed, plunging all who stood on her into the murky, swollen Nore below. Sixteen people died.

Since that tragic day many locals and visitors have reported seeing ghostly shapes, leaning on the walls of the new structure, gazing in the direction of Green’s Bridge, or scrambling in the water below, attempting to mount the river banks.

Few people nowadays, when pausing to enjoy the views offered from this vantage point, know that the bridge played part in a tragedy many years ago. A tragedy that still haunts the city to this day…

Haunted Ireland – Malahide Castle

In 1185 King Henry II of England built Malahide castle for his dear friend Sir Richard Talbot in the pretty seaside village of Malahide, Co. Dublin. The castle has been occupied and used as family homes for around 800 years and over that time collected at least 5 known spirit residents and gained a reputation as one of Ireland’s most haunted spots.

The best known of these apparitions would be the former jester, Puck. In the 16th Century the Talbots always had a jester among their retinue of attendants. One of these jesters, “Puck” by name, was also at that time the resident caretaker, his main function when not entertaining to keep watch and sound the alarm in case of attack. He lived in a turret of the Castle, now known as Puck’s Staircase, where he carried out his duties as watchman. According to legend Puck fell in love with a kinswoman of Lady Elenora Fitzgerald, who was detained at the Castle by Henry VIII at the time, because of her rebel tendencies. One December night the jester was found close to the walls of the castle stabbed through the heart, still dressed in his gay jester suit and cap and bells. It is said that before he died he swore an oath that he would haunt the castle until a master reigned who choose a bride from the people, but would harm no one if a male Talbot slept under the roof.

It is said that Pucks spirit continued living on in the castle, appearing at numerous times over the years when the castle was in danger. His dwarfish figure has appeared in a number of photographs taken in the castle and grounds and many a Talbot family letter makes reference to his continued protection of the castle. Puck’s last appearance were reported during the sale of the contents of the Castle in May 1976.

Another resident spirit said to haunt the castle is the spectre of young Lord Galtrim, Sir Walter Hussey, son of the Baron of Galtrim, who in the 15th Century was killed in battle on his wedding day. It is said that Lord Galtrim wanders through the castle at night, groaning and pointing to the spear wound in his side. It is said he haunts the Castle to show his unhappiness towards his immediately widowed bride, who wasted little time marrying Lord Galtrim’s rival after the lord himself lost his life in defence of her honour and happiness.

Lord Galtrim’s widow, Lady Maud Plunkett is said to haunt the castle as well, but as she looked in later years, when she married her third husband, a Lord Chief Justice. During this time she had become notorious as an un-equalled virago, and her ghostly appearances chases her husband through the corridors of the castle.

Another of the castle’s ghosts is that of Miles Corbett, the Roundhead to whom Cromwell gave the castle and property during his protectorate. At the Restoration Miles was relieved of his property and made to pay the penalty of the many crimes he had committed during his occupancy, which included the desecration of the chapel of the old abbey near the castle. He was hanged, drawn and quartered and when his ghost first appears it seems to be a perfectly whole soldier in armour, which then falls into four pieces before the eyes of anyone who has the unpleasant experience of meeting it.

The 5th recorded ghost is that of the unnamed White Lady, of whom a painting hung in the Great Hall of the castle for many years. Nobody appears to know her identity or the identity of the artist who portrayed her. According to legend from time to time she would leave her painting and wander through the castle in the quiet of the night. Many people have reported sightings of this mysterious lady’s ghost.

In the castle grounds is a field known as Our Lady’s Acre, which is also reputed to be haunted. On a few occasions two grey-haired, sad-faced ladies have been seen on the field, wandering aimlessly. Some sources suggest that they are ghosts of Danish women who never found rest after the Norman Talbot drove the Danes from Malahide.

Haunted Ireland – Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle plays host to a number of ghost stories, unsurprising really, given that there has been a castle on the site in one form or another since 1195 and, like most of the ancient buildings in Ireland, it has seen its share of deaths and tragedy.

Kilkenny Castle was home to the Butlers of Ormonde until it was sold to a Castle Restoration Committee in 1967, before being passed into the hands of the OPW. There are as many as 41 ghosts rumored to roam its grounds, many of them said to be of the Butler family. The most frequently sighted being the castle’s “white lady” who has often been seen roaming the castle’s gardens and adjacent river banks below. She had also been seen wandering the corridors and staircases and is speculated to have been inadvertently photographed in 2010 by two teenager visiting the castle, shortly after a reported sighting by a young boy in the same spot. Kilkenny residents believe this spirit to be that of Lady Margaret Butler, who was born in the castle in either 1454 or 1465. She married Sir William Boleyn and through her eldest son Thomas, was the paternal grandmother of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII of England.

More discreet hauntings include an electronic counter in the Parade Tower, used for counting visitors to the thirteenth century part of the fortress, which continues to count up to a hundred visitors during the night hours, while the tower is locked and out of public reach. The tower sits over what was formally a dungeon, where it is said many poor souls would have been imprisoned before passing away.

Also see:  Haunted Ireland – John’s Bridge, Kilkenny