Ireland the land of Haunts and Legends
Ireland is a land of ghosts and hauntings, steeped in the arcane, ancient bardic tales of spirits, bloody battlefields, and gruesome murders. The legendary Fae, banshees and the Tuatha de Danaan. If you are brave of heart you need to experience breathtaking landscapes, deep dark castles and legends whose origins are now lost in time. This Haunts and Legends itinerary will take you around some of Ireland’s most famous castles, forests and monuments.
Cavan – Cabra Castle, Kilkea Castle, Dun Na Ri Forest
Spend your first night in the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland, Cabra. On the way to Cabra stop at Kilkea, standing since 1180 where legends tell of the Earl who haunts the Castle. Now a luxury hotel, it is said you can still hear the clash of steel on the staircases where deadly battles were fought. The Wizard Earl, famed for his attempts at alchemy, is said to ride out from the Castle in the dead of night, every 7 years galloping over the windswept plains of the Curragh on a magnificent white stallion whose hooves glint with silver.
From Kilkea proceed onwards to Cabra set in the beautiful Dun Na Rí Forest Park. The Castle is actually two castles, one now converted into a luxury hotel the other a crumbling ruin. Cabra is set in the 565 acre Park which is a National Forest. Local legend would have you believe that a true Romeo and Juliet story is the centre of the ghost haunting Cabra.
The locals believe that in the 1780’s the young man of the castle fell in love with a servant girl (Sarah) and his disapproving family murdered the girl and her unborn child, dragging her from her bed and hanging her from the nearby bridge. It is said that you can hear the cries of a baby within the castle wallsweeping, lonely and lost crying for its mother.
The Forest itself is a stunning park with a dramatic gorge, romantic glens, the Lady’s Lake and Sarah’s Bridge. The Bridge was built in 1801 in memory of Sarah Mountmorris who married into the family. Local folk like to associate it with the more luridly romantic, but fictional, story of Sarah the servant girl. The Forest is steeped in history as far back as the Iron Age. It is said that Cuchulain camped here near the river during his defense of Ulster against Maeve’s armies. The original ruined castle that stands on high ground near Cromwell’s Bridge was built around the 1500’s but due to family dramas and Cromwell who confiscated the castle in the 16th century some of its history has become lost to time.
Monaghan – Castle Leslie Estate
One of the last great Castles of Ireland still owned by the original family, the wonderfully eccentric Leslie’s have a colourful history. Tracing their ancestry back to Attila the Hun the family estate has been handed down for over 300 years. The Castle has hosted celebrities such as W.B. Yeats, Mick Jagger and many more; in fact Paul McCartney was married to Heather Mills here in 2002.
Castle Leslie’s hauntings are varied there are rumours of strange happenings in the castle, bells ringing, mysterious figures wandering the corridors. The Mauve Room is said to visited occasionally by Lady Constance, who died in 1925. There are also stories about a mysterious monk appearing to visitors and a baby’s cry can sometimes be heard in the night. It is said that Norman Leslie, who was killed during the First World War visited his mother on the night he died. Lady Marjorie was sleeping in the Red Room and awoke to see his ghost standing near the foot of her bed, looking through some letters. The ghost turned, smiled at her and then faded away.
Mayo – Mount Falcon Estates
Surrounded by 100 acres of magical woodlands the luxurious Mount Falcon Country House Hotel is located on the west bank of the River Moy. The Estate was created from the love of one young man for his bride who felt she deserved a “castle to live in”. The jewel in the crown of Mount Falcon is its adjoining two miles of fishing rights on the River Moy. Famous for its salmon pools, it is undisputedly one of Europe’s most bountiful salmon rivers.
Here you can rest in luxury in an area whose history and main village, Ballinea, dates back to the Stone Age. Explore cairns, ruins, graveyards Fae filled woodlands and enjoy all that this luxury Manor House has to offer. Numerous guests from all over the world including Vivien Leigh, Peter Sellers, Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, and Nick Faldo, have been honored guests at Mount Falcon. The Estate offers rest and relaxation in many forms: Particularly interesting for the traveler is the ability to learn about and fly falcons and hawks and to fly fish for the best salmon in Ireland. Truly you will be haunted by the beauty and luxury of Mount Falcon and it will remain in your memory for years to come.
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