Spooky Saturday ~~ Haunted Castles of Ireland

Fall is my favorite time of year. Along with the gorgeous colors of changing leaves and the crisp cool of the air, fall makes me think of the upcoming holidays. Although Halloween is not an official holiday, where you take time off work to celebrate, well maybe some people do but you know what I mean. I love decorating the house for the fall and Halloween. Halloween also makes me think of haunted places and my favorite places are castles. There is so much history in a castle, whether it is a ruin or a castle that has withstood the ravages of time, plus there are always stories about haunted castles around this time of year. So I am exited to search the internet for hauntings and post them at Blog O’The Irish, hope you enjoy them too!!

Leap Castle, County Offaly, Ireland
“Visit Leap Castle only if you are willing to dare a glimpse of the life and unlife. Standing out among Ireland haunted castles, Leap is said to be one of the most haunted castles of Ireland.
Even the locals who are supposed to “know better” avoid it after the sun goes down. Some have described seeing the windows at the top of the castle lighting up brilliantly for no reason whatsoever. Another presence is said to give off a ghastly odor.
The ghosts in Leap Castle are angry specters…and with good reason.
Within its walls lie secrets of a dark and deadly past. Over 400 years ago, during High Mass, a priest was murdered by his own brother in what is now called the “bloody chapel”.
The dungeon was also a source of excruciating pain and unendurable misery for tortured prisoners as they waited for the sweet release of death. With such notorious implements as thumbscrews, the rack, and the iron maiden, there was no end to the pain this den of misery subjected its denizens to.
Around the year 1900, workmen hired to clean out Leap Castle pulled up the drop floor of the dungeon and discovered human skeletons piled on top of each other as though they were tossed in like cordwood. Death was everywhere in Leap Castle. And now, it lingers in the very living stone.
If the bizarre, the frightful, and the inexplicable do not dissuade you, Leap Castle is the destination where you can test your mettle against all things that go bump in the night.”
 “Leap Castle is an Irish castle in County Offaly, about four miles north of the town of Roscrea on the R421. It was built in the late 15th century by the O’Bannon family and was originally called “Léim Uí Bhanáin,” or “Leap of the O’Bannons.” The O’Bannons were the “secondary chieftains” of the territory, and were subject to the ruling O’Carroll clan.
The Annals of the Four Masters record that the Earl of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald, tried unsuccessfully to seize the castle in 1513. Three years later, he attacked the castle again and managed to partially demolish it. However, by 1557 the O’Carrolls had regained possession.
Following the death of Mulrooney O’Carroll in 1532, family struggles plagued the O’Carroll clan. A fierce rivalry for the leadership erupted within the family. The bitter fight for power turned brother against brother. One of the brothers was a priest. The O’Carroll priest was holding mass for a group of his family (in what is now called the “Bloody Chapel”). While he was chanting the holy rites, his rival brother burst into the chapel, plunged his sword into his brother and fatally wounded him. The butchered priest fell across the altar and died in front of his family.
In 1659, the castle passed by marriage into the ownership of the Darby family, notable members of which included Vice-Admiral George Darby, Admiral Sir Henry D’Esterre Darby and John Nelson Darby. The central keep was later expanded with significant extensions. However in order to pay for these extensions, rents were raised and much of the land accompanying the castle was sold. This is one theorised motivation for the burning of the castle during the Irish Civil War in 1922.
Many people were imprisoned and executed in the castle, and it is supposedly haunted by several spectres, the most terrifying of these beings is a small grey humanoid with a decaying face with black holes for eyes. The apparition is said to be accompanied by the stench of a decomposing corpse and the smell of sulphur. Some call this an Elemental and its name is ‘It!’
While renovating the castle, workers discovered an oubliette, a dungeon where people are locked away and left to die. There are spikes at the bottom of this shaft, and when it was being cleaned out, it took three cartloads to carry out all the human bones at the bottom. A report indicates that these workmen also found a pocket-watch dated to the 1840s amongst the bones, it is unknown who it belonged to. These series of spikes are now covered with a vast amount of twigs, grass and dirt, to protect anyone entering it.
Since 1991, the castle has been privately owned by Seán Ryan, who is undertaking restoration work.
The castle was featured on the cover of several editions of the novel The Riders by the Australian author Tim Winton.”
sources:
 http://www.wiki.com
 http://www.fantasy-ireland.com

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