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The Emerald Isle has no shortage of old folktales or spooky stories, some of which date as far back as the 9th Century. Ireland is host to many dark stories that are sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. In this blog, we will take you through 5 ghost stories from our country's haunted history - plus a special treat.
As is the case across many cultures, October 31st is synonymous with Halloween, which these days involves children dressing up as scary monsters (or their favourite superheroes) and trick-or-treating. But few are aware of Halloween's ancient Celtic roots, and the Samhain festival.
Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter part of the year (Summer) and the darker (Winter). This was when the 'Otherworld' was at its thinnest, making it easier for spirits to pass through from the other side.
With this in mind, see our Top 5 Ghost Stories from the Island of Ireland:
Ireland was a central location in the Anglo-Spanish War of the late 16th century, between England and Spain. Spanish Armada soldiers who came ashore to Dun an Oir in County Kerry overthrew an English garrison stationed there in 1580.
A short-lived victory, Spanish reinforcements failed to arrive and more English troops arriving meant that the Spanish were outnumbered and eventually massacred. Their screams are said to echo in the location of their deaths each year around the time of their untimely deaths in the beginning of October.
On a dreadful, stormy night on the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford in 1775, legend has it that the devil came to visit the infamous Loftus Hall. A mysterious stranger approaches the home of the Tottenham family when his ship was driven into the area due to harsh sea conditions.
Lady Tottenham took a liking to the man, inviting him in to seek shelter and warmth. The man went on to spend a series of nights at the mansion house. One night, over a game of cards, the Lady dropped one of her cards on the floor. After bending down, she saw that man had blood-soaked hooves for feet.
The man, considered to be the devil, became a raging ball of fire and burst through the roof of the large country house, leading Lady Tottenham to insanity. She was said to spend her later years staring out the windows, awaiting the man's return. Both are said to haunt the house to this day.
Most Irish castles are said to be haunted in some way or another, but there's nothing quite like Malahide Castle (owned for 1,000 years by the Talbots) in County Dublin, which is said to be haunted by as many as five different, lingering spirits from throughout its rich history.
The most famous of all is Malahide Castle's alleged court jester of the 16th Century - Puck. A small man of approximately four feet tall, Puck fell in love with a visiting noblewoman. Shortly after, Puck was stabbed by guards around the castle grounds, vowing to haunt the castle forever with his dying breath.
In 1975, the Talbots sold Malahide Castle after a century of ownership, and when selling off the contents of the castle, Puck was known to be particularly active, leading to the most prominent sightings of the former jester.
Kilkenny is a medieval city that is no stranger to tales of the haunted and bewitched, making it no surprise that it has been named as one of Europe's most haunted travel destinations due to the tragic events and stories.
After John's Bridge on the River Nore mysteriously collapsed in 1763, sixteen people tragically perished. To this day, people are said to see ghostly figures surrounding the river and scratching the banks during the morning mist, mourning the loss of their lives and reflecting on what could have been.
5. The Lady in White
Charles Fort in County Cork is no stranger to gruesome stories with its troubled past. The fort has seen battles, sieges and wars from its battlements, the story of the lady in white is what really tingles the spine.
Legend has it that the commander of the fort's daughter was to be married to an officer before her father shot him to death. After, the woman, distraught, threw herself into the ocean to meet her demise.
There are still sightings of her around the fort, in her wedding dress.
It would be wrong of us not to mention the famous Skellig Michael, our namesake, which is famous in Ireland and on a galaxy far, far away - for this island has long since been a subject of fascination and mystery.
Skellig Michael is a world heritage site, particularly famous for its seabird colonies including puffins, but much of its history is shrouded in mystery.
A monastery was founded here in the 6th Century, as it was considered to be ideal due to its remoteness and isolation from the everyday world.
The waters between the mainland and Skellig Michael are treacherous, and sometimes access to the island is not possible, but it is considered to be a very popular tourist location for lovers of the enigmatic and the mysterious. It could be argued that Skellig Michael has always been in another galaxy.
Halloween (or Samhain) is a very special occasion to us, both at Skellig Gift Store and in Ireland as a whole, so we want to celebrate with you in style.
From 25th October 2021 until 1st November 2021, get 20% off all products when you spend more than €50. Just use the code SAMHAIN21 at checkout!
Skellig Gift Store would like to wish an enjoyable Halloween to all of our friends around the other world. See you at the other side!