Ireland’s Leap Castle is “Spook Central”

Leap Castle in Offaly, Ireland


PAUL MOYNIHAN, from Irish Ghost Hunters, looks at the haunted goings on at Leap Castle in County Offaly, Ireland.


If ghosts, ghouls, murder, mayhem and betrayal are your thing, then look no further than Leap Castle: this place is Spook Central. Regarded by many paranormalists as the most haunted place in the world, it’s hard to disagree. Growing up, I had read everything I possibly could with reference to Leap, and getting the chance to spend the night there when my passion for paranormal research became a reality was a dream come true.

Metaphysically speaking it shares much of its legendary status with Charleville Castle, as it is said that Leap is also built on land used by Celtic Druids for ancient magical rites. The castle was built in 1250 by the O‘Bannon family, with the intention of being their main stronghold. Legend has it that the castle’s name comes from an event which took place between the two O’Bannon brothers. A contest was conceived of in which the two brothers were to ‘leap’ off of the rocks where the castle would eventually stand. The surviving brother would then become chieftain. In the early 1500s, Leap was besieged twice by the Earl of Kildare. The O’Carroll’s, a powerful and fierce clan, soon took over the castle, and their era became the castle’s most infamous.

One story tells of the O’Carroll’s hiring the McMahon Clan to train them in new fighting techniques. During their visit, the McMahon’s held a great feast to celebrate their victory over an enemy clan of the O’Carroll’s. In a most treacherous move, the O’Carroll’s poisoned their guests’ food to avoid paying them for their services. Many have seen and heard the McMahon’s spirits in the castle, crying in agony.

When the O’Carroll chieftain passed away in 1532, a sibling rivalry was born between two of the O’Carroll brothers. One of the brothers was a priest and, one evening while he held a mass for his family in the chapel that sits on the top floor of the castle, his brother (known as ‘one-eyed’ Teige) burst in, sinking his sword into the priest. His body lay lifelessly over the altar, and this room is now known as the Bloody Chapel. Visitors claim to have seen the priest in a small tunnel to the left of where the altar once stood, and strange sounds and footsteps are heard coming from the area.

Author: Paul Moynihan

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1 Comment

  1. I am so interested in being able to Ghost Hunt at the Leap Castle If you ever have a contest to win a trip to Ireland please let me know. I use to live in a haunted manor , I was very happy there, I would love to stay at the leap castle an visit the family that owns it. My family at least some of them came from Ireland . On My mothers side they were Scott-Irish an English. For some reason I have always been interested in Ireland something draws me to it. But never could afford to come there. I am 66 years young an someday I might have the honor of coming there an maybe even finding some of my family I do not know about. Again please let me know if there ever is a contest to enter so I can come an visit the Leap castle an Ireland . Maybe with the luck of the Irish i will be able to win money to come there an visit an see as much of Ireland as I can an bring something back to my family I have 7 children 22 grand children an 8 great grand children an 1 great grandson on the way . Hope to hear from you even if I can have a pin pal from Ireland hoping it will will be the Leap family. Have a Wonderful Day Sincerly Donna

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