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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

HauntedIllinois.com - Haunted Illinois goes on a supernatural tour of Ireland

Day 2:

Day 2 began with our ghost group landing at Dublin International Airport. After collecting our luggage and making our way through immigration, we joined the others in our group who had already gathered around Richard Felix, near the exit of the airport terminal. Richard was his usual chipper self, despite the fact that his arm was in a sling. We would find out more about that later.

Anyway, we all just stood around chatting, waiting for the rest of our Ghost Tour group to make it through immigration. When they thought everyone was there, Kelley and Danny (our tour coordinators), led us outside to find the bus, where we met our bus driver Daithi. He was assigned to our tour group and would be in charge of getting us to all of our destinations throughout the entire week.

Unfortunately, the tour didn’t start off perfectly. After everyone got settled on the bus, they did an attendance count and apparently we were missing some of our group. Kelley and Danny immediately left the bus, to go back and find our missing ghost hunters. Meanwhile, to pass the time, Richard entertained us with the story of how he broke his arm.

About two weeks before the Ireland Tour, Richard was in Darby giving a talk to about 50 school children, educating them about local history and culture. He was dressed in an authentic Roman soldier costume, complete with heavy armor. The injury occurred when someone called out his name. When Richard turned to see who it was, he lost his balance and fell hard on his shoulder.

While he was being patching up, the doctor told him that he would need to be in a body cast, from waist to shoulder, with his arm outstretched, so it wouldn’t move. Knowing that he couldn’t conduct the tour that way, Richard chose to wear a sling instead and endure the pain. He made that personal sacrifice, so he could follow through with his commitment and be our tour guide. Wow! You’ve got to admire that guy’s dedication!!! Since Richard was slightly disabled, he brought along his son Edd to help out with the tour, as needed.

After about a 30 minute delay, the lost members of our group were found. They loaded up on the bus and we were off to tour Ireland!

One of the first things I noticed about traveling in Ireland, besides the fact that everything seemed to be green and that everyone was driving on the wrong side of the road (haha!) was that it took a lot longer to traverse short distances than I initially thought. Ireland is only about the size of Indiana (see map overlay), so I was surprised by how long it took to get from point “A” to point “B”. This was especially true when major highways were not an option. A lot of the smaller roads were very narrow, with many sharp twists and turns, which really increased travel times… especially since we were traveling on some thoroughfares that weren’t designed to accommodate a huge tour bus!

On The Road In Ireland

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Dublin Airport!



    

Our first stop on the tour was Malahide Castle. Set within 260 acres of beautiful parkland, Malahide Castle is located just outside the city of Malahide, near Dublin. With its original tower dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the oldest castles in Ireland.

The Castle was originally given to Richard Talbot by King Henry II of England, in 1185. Throughout history, it had been owned by the Talbot family for 800 years.

Malahide Castle has been haunted by several ghosts. The most prominent spirit is that of Miles Corbet. By trade, he was a politician and administrator who was seen as a very cruel man. He was one of the many people who signed the death warrant to behead King Charles I, in 1649.

When King Charles II was restored to power, he decided to round up all of the people who were responsible for his father’s death and charge them with regicide (killing a king). The punishment for this offense was death. Fearing for his life, Corbet fled to the Netherlands, but eventually was captured and brought back to Malahide, where he was tried and convicted. Shortly thereafter, he was executed in a very gruesome way. He was hung, drawn and quartered. His ghost often appears in the castle, in full armor, falling into four bloody pieces, before mysteriously disappearing. His ghostly image has also been seen on horseback, galloping around the castle grounds.

The spirits of two sad-faced women wearing archaic dresses have also been witnessed, in a field, on the Northern side of the property. They are reportedly the restless souls of two Danish women who were driven from their homes when the Talbots took ownership of the castle.

The ghostly figure of a Lady in White has been seen wandering through the corridors and in various rooms of the castle. Her portrait used to hang in the Great Hall, but her identity is still unknown.

Another ghost was named Puck. He was a short, bearded court jester who fell in love with a serving maid at the castle. When he made his feelings known, he was rejected. Later, he was found dead, hung by the neck. Since then, his tormented soul has haunted the castle.

I really enjoyed the informative guided tour we were given, but unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed inside the castle, beyond the first room. Luckily, though, there was a book available in the gift shop that had some great interior pictures of the castle. The last few pictures in the gallery below are pictures that I scanned from that book.

Malahide Castle

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During the tour, we found this antique writing desk.  Inside, we found a sheet of paper that said: Dont be so nosey. HaHa!















    

We were treated to a little local entertainment, while walking to the Malahide Castle gift shop...

On The Road In Ireland

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Our next stop was Newgrange, which is a megalithic passage tomb located in County Meath. This structure, which covers an area of over one acre, is constructed of stone and covered with a mound of Earth. At more than 5,000 years old, Newgrange is older than both Stonehenge and the Pyramids.

One remarkable feature of this tomb is related to the winter solstice. Every year on December 21st at sunrise, the sun is perfectly aligned with the entrance and a shaft of light shines down the 60 foot long rock passageway, into the central burial chamber. This phenomenon only lasts for about twenty minutes.

So many people want to see it that a lottery is held every year to choose a small number of people to witness this remarkable occurrence.

Historians agree that no one really knows why this monument was built. Some people believe that there is a religious significance and that this structure was used for ritual gatherings or to honor the dead. Neolithic farmers recognized the winter solstice as the start of the new year, so perhaps Newgrange once served as a symbol of rebirth or spiritual renewal.

Many people believe that the tomb possesses strong spiritual energy. Newgrange is very close to where the “Battle of the Boyne” was fought in 1690. Battlefield sites often have higher occurrences of paranormal activity.

Richard gave us a comprehensive Newgrange history lesson, but unfortunately we weren’t able to see the monument itself, due to time constraints. The closest we could get was to look through the on-site telescope, viewing it from a distance. It was pretty disappointing, but from what we were told, the Newgrange staff could only handle groups of twenty people at a time. Staying there to go on the tour would have put us too far behind schedule, so we had to move on.

While we weren’t able to see Newgrange, at least we were able to get our OPW Heritage Cards. With those in-hand, during the rest of the week, we would be able to gain quick entry into many other historical sites in Ireland. After getting our cards, there was just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat in the cafeteria, before returning to the bus.

Newgrange

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Baggage may shift, while bus is in motion... After we stopped, the luggage just fell out, when the compartment door opened.









Unfortunately, this was as close as we could get to Newgrange.  Not enough time...
 

On The Road In Ireland

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Trim Castle, the next attraction we would visit, was one of my favorite castles in Ireland. It is located in Trim, along the South bank of the Boyne River. Covering an area of 30,000 square meters, Trim Castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Construction of this landmark was started in 1173 by Hugh DeLacy and his son Walter. It took nearly 30 years to build, which is no surprise, considering its immense size. Construction of the tall, three story Keep (stronghold) began in 1176, replacing the original wooden fortress. The keep was well protected by a deep ditch, a curtain wall and a moat, most of which is still intact today.

More recently in history, the castle was featured in the 1995 Mel Gibson movie “Braveheart”.

When we got there, there weren’t any spaces for buses in the "car park" (what they call a parking lot in Ireland). Daithi had to drop us off, then find another place in town to park the bus. Admission to the castle was covered using our OPW Heritage Site Card, so we just had to flash our cards to get in.

Our group was given a guided tour of the castle and I was told that we weren’t allowed to wander around on our own. Apparently, self-tour of the Keep was not allowed for safety reasons. I guess that makes sense, taking into account the tight spiral staircases, extremely narrow paths and suspended walkways that were nearly 80 feet above the castle floor. Once we reached the top level, there was a complete 360 degree panoramic view, which was nothing short of phenomenal!

I was disappointed, though, that no castle literature was available at the gift shop. I checked the local tourism building next door and they didn’t have any, either. How weird! You would think that information / pamphlets would be on-hand, at or near a major tourist attraction like this!

After we were done with the tour, we walked down the street a couple of blocks, where the bus was waiting for us.

Trim Castle

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Trim Castle Panoramic Picture
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On our long bus ride to the hotel, they played “The Ghosts of Connecticut” on the bus’ DVD player, to keep us entertained. Despite the assault of loud sound bursts played in the movie for shock factor, some of us on the bus still managed to get some sleep while we were on the road.

On The Road In Ireland

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After traveling for about two hours, we arrived at the Clarion Hotel, in Sligo. According to Richard Felix, the hotel was originally the Saint Columbas Lunatic Asylum. The original building was constructed between 1847 and 1853. The asylum opened in 1855 and was able to house up to 1,100 patients. It closed in 1992. Soon thereafter, it was renovated and converted into a hotel. Only the rooms on the inside were changed; the exterior of the building still looks like it did, back in the 1800’s. The original church and chapel on the property were also renovated. On a side note, we were told that a part of the asylum still operated in a building near the hotel grounds.

After checking in, we all met in the dining room for a late dinner (~9pm). With the tour’s busy schedule, late dinners seemed to be the norm all week. After such a long day, we all retired to our rooms for some well-deserved rest.

Clarion Hotel

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