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If you’re looking for a truly spooky day out this Halloween, why not pay a visit to one of the hundreds of stunning castles that Britain and Ireland have on offer. By nature, castles have long and fascinating histories, having withstood countless attacks and attempted invasions, which makes them the perfect day out for those interested in paranormal activity. The English Heritage have recently released a list of their most haunted properties. Here at Sykes we’ve been inspired and have set out to investigate some of the most haunted castles on offer in the UK and Ireland. Happy Halloween!

Leap Castle, Ireland

Leap Castle, County Offaly, Ireland

Via Flickr

Leap Castle in County Offaly is widely regarded to be Ireland’s most haunted castle. The castle was built around 1250 and was home to the infamous O’Carroll clan who were one of the most feared clans of the time. Spectacularly sinister in appearance, the castle has a macabre and violent history and is definitely not for the faint-hearted. There are many ghosts reported to haunt the castle, including one of the O’Carroll brothers, a priest who was murdered by his own brother. This horrific act brought with it a cloak of misery that has engulfed the castle ever since. Other ghostly characters include a ‘Lady in Red’, 40 men from the McMahon clan who were lured to their deaths and a terrifying creature known as an Elemental, which is far too scary to talk about! Throw in an underground dungeon, skeletons found bricked into the walls and Leap Castle makes for one petrifying visit. If you’re looking to visit Leap Castle then consider booking one of our holiday cottages in Ireland, you may need somewhere to unwind and calm down after your visit!


Chillingham Castle, England

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, England

Via Flickr

Chillingham Castle in Northumberland was built over 800 years ago, occupying a strategically important position close to the border of Scotland. The castle was repeatedly attacked by Scottish armies during this time but held its own. If you were unfortunate enough to be captured at Chillingham Castle, you would be thrown into the Oubliette (a dungeon which can only be accessed through a hatch in the ceiling). Elements of the castle’s horrific history can still be seen today as the dungeon and torture chamber, complete with torture instruments, can be visited along with the rest of the castle. Ghosts that haunt the castle are said to include John Sage, the merciless master of the torture chamber, ‘Blue Boy’ who has been seen walking around the castle surrounded by a bright aura, and the heartbroken ghost of Lady Mary Berkeley who’s dress can sometimes be heard rustling as she searches the castle in vain for her husband who ran off with her younger sister.


Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Via Flickr

The city of Edinburgh has been crowned the most haunted city in Europe so it makes sense that it would be home to one of the most haunted castles. Edinburgh Castle sits high on a hill looming over the city on a site that has been occupied for defensive purposes since the Iron Age. There have been hundreds of reports over the years from both staff and visitors to the castle, claiming to have had the sensation of being pulled or watched, with many reporting sudden temperature drops, green lights and shadowy figures.  Ghosts that are said to haunt the castle include a headless drummer boy, a phantom dog and a piper who was lost in the tunnels below the castle. At one point, the castle’s dungeons were used to quarantine victims of the plague and there have also been reports of phantom prisoners haunting the hallways. There are a whole host of ghostly goings-on across the city and if you’re particularly interested in the paranormal, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to visit.

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