PAUL MOYNIHAN says Wilton Castle is a place cloaked in creepiness, its legacy lost to flame, its legend living on…
Wexford’s scenic landscape is forever under the watch of one of its most dominant ruins. Wilton Castle was built in the early 13th century by the De Dene family. It fell into many different hands over the following years, becoming home to the Butler and Furlong families. In the 17th Century, the castle became home to the Alcock family. It was the Alcock’s who gave the building its Gothic look, one of the finest examples of the style in Ireland. Destroyed by fire in 1923, its ruins are all that stand today.
It is said that these ruins are home to numerous spirits. There are several tales of strange lights being seen in the castle tower where a woman burned to death, and stories of a phantom black dog haunting the surrounding woods whose howl can be heard when no moon shines down have been told for many years. It has also been said that on the anniversary of his demise, the shadow of Harry Alcock can be seen driving away from the castle in a death coach. Many people once descended upon Wilton Castle to witness the strange phenomena, one local claiming to have spoken to the spirit.
These tales may seem strange and unnerving, but none match the castle’s spookiest story. One night in 1836, local magistrate Archibald Jacob (who was well known in the area for being the captain of a local militia company during the 1798 Rebellion) attended a ball at the castle when, on his journey home, he fell from his horse and was killed. His death, of course, led to various sightings of his tormented spirit. He has been seen both at the site of the tragic accident and within the castle itself. Tales of an exorcism at Wilton Castle have passed into legend, many saying that upon the priest making the sign of the cross, the image of Jacob appeared in the fireplace.
Wilton Castle is just one more offering in the rich paranormal palette that Wexford holds. It is another great example of the county’s truly spooky history, a hidden gem for spook-seekers. I would like to thank Michael Benson for his help in researching the history of Wilton Castle. Michael is the founder of Wexford Paranormal, one of Ireland’s best teams in the field of paranormal research. Their website can be found here: http://www.wexfordparanormal.com/