Dublin is a fascinating city, including its many ghost stories. There are ghostly maids, dissipated nobles, phantom dogs and cats, and a haunted castle, not to mention tales of a very mischievious cellar-haunting specter. Don't go to the ruined hunting lodge just outside the city--you're sure to see some very scary floating black shapes!
The ancient city of Dublin, founded by Vikings and haunted by fogs, is a perfect place for ghosts.
A haunted house in 19th century Dublin had a ghostly maid who stayed on after death. Although she was an “elderly woman” with a “benign and amiable expression,” she terrified the couple who lived there. The ghost had a dislike of guests staying over, and would push over the chairs in the guest room. She also did a great deal of knocking that was loud enough to be heard next door. Authors St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan wrote that, although the ghost maid liked things to be tidy, she was not above playing pranks. When the lady of the house would lay her furs out to air them, the maid would invariably move them around the room, and leave them on the floor and in corners.
The same authors told of a very outspoken ghost named Corney, who haunted a Dublin home at about the same time. Corney talked to the family almost constantly, in an echoing voice from the coal cellar. He scared the servants who slept near the coal cellar, so they moved to rooms in the attic. But their first night in the attic, Corney appeared there and announced, “Ha, Ha, you devils! I am not confined to any particular part of the house.” He loved to play tricks on them. One day he took a fish that the cook was going to make for supper, and she began to cry, afraid she would be accused of stealing it. Suddenly the fish came flying out of the coal cellar, and Corney declared, “There, you blubbering fool!” Corney apparently had a social life; one night he announced he was having friends over, and the household members could hear several voices muttering all night. Corney’s spiritual condition after death was suspect, however; one time a clergyman came to call, and after he left, the ghost was asked why he didn’t speak to the visitor. Corney replied, “I could not speak while that good man was in the house.”
There’s a ruin on a hill just outside Dublin that’s said to be an old hunting lodge, and also the rendezvous of the ominously-named Hellfire Club. This isn’t the infamous Hellfire Club founded by Sir Francis Dashwood in the England of the 18th century, but an Irish version. This club was also started by young noblemen in the 18th century, and, like the other Hellfire Club, is said to have featured dark rituals, orgies, and other misbehavior. There’s a story that a card game was in progress there; one player dropped a card under the table, and when he bent to pick it up he saw another player had a cloven hoof. The other player, the devil, vanished upon being discovered. Others have reported that the club members merely dressed in black robes and drank themselves into a stupor. In any case, ghost hunters who approach the ruin nowadays see black figures floating through its crumbling walls. Only one spot in the building is said to be safe; it’s a stair landing that was blessed by a priest long ago.
Patrick F. Byrne, who wrote about Dublin ghosts for many years, said that there were stories of ghostly dogs in the city. In 1840 a man was skating on a frozen pond when he fell through the ice. His large dog jumped in to save him, but both were drowned. The dog was seen after that roaming around the pond on cold winter nights. In 1861 a terrible storm caused shipwrecks near the city. Captain John McNeill Boyd of the Naval Coast Guard and his crew tried to rescue as many people as they could, but Boyd was drowned by a huge wave. At his Dublin funeral his dog followed the casket, and then the faithful animal lay down on the Captain’s grave, where it eventually died. The dog was seen after that wandering mournfully around the city. Byrne also told of a phantom cat that was connected with the Hellfire Club. (He added that he loved to go to wakes and funerals when he was a child, because he was always given lemonade and sweet rolls).
Malahide Castle near Dublin was the home of the Talbot family for 800 years, until taxes finally forced the owner out in 1973. The castle is open to tourists, and of course has its share of ghosts. One is a jester who fell in love with a noblewoman, and was killed for his presumption. Another is a sentry who fell asleep on duty. Invaders stormed the castle, and the sentry hanged himself in the castle gallery for shame. The castle is little changed since the 15th century, so its ghosts must at least feel at home there.
Dublin has no lack of haunts, and of course, you can always take a ghost tour there. But in Dublin you may not have to go looking for the ghosts. They may come and find you.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons