8 chilling places for you to check out Northern Ireland's ghostly past
In recent years, Northern Ireland’s tourist attractions have grown, with many people visiting and exploring all of the unique culture on offer. With so many festivals, music, natural beauty and great hospitality, it’s no surprise that people are drawn here.
By Jessica Eve
Published 18th Oct 2023, 16:20 GMT
However, there is quite a lot of unknown history in regard to paranormal activities and unexplainable occurrences. With so much dark and mysterious history across Northern Ireland, there are many sites to be explored.
Whether you're fascinated with ghostly history and want to explore new stories, or terrified and want to avoid these locations, this is a list of haunted places and their stories across Northern Ireland.
5. Springhill House, 20 Springhill Rd, Moneymore
A not so haunting and scary experience, but reportedly a friendly and comforting one from the resident ghost at Springhill House who is said to be happy when people come to visit. The Lenox-Conygham family lived in Springhill House since it was constructed in the 17th-century. Today the National Trust has taken over the home, allowing visitors to explore the grounds and house, still full of its original furnishings. It's believed that Olivia's ghost can be seen running towards the room where her husband George took his life, possibly attempting to intervene. She's also been spotted calmly walking around the home and standing on the staircase. Olivia's spirit is said to be particularly connected to children, and they are more likely to see her due to her motherly nature. During World War, soldiers staying in the home reported the rocking of Olivia's cot in the nursery, causing a knocking sound. When they removed the cot, the knocking apparently ceased, but it returned after the war ended. Photo: discovernorthernireland.com
6. Cumber House Claudy, Derry / Londonderry
Cumber House is believed by ghostbusters to be one of the most haunted houses. When investigating the home they experienced lots of unusual activity such as apparently seeing a dark figure and hearing footsteps around the house. Many believe the most prominent ghost to be Mr Browne, a former owner whose spirit never left the grounds. Mr Browne didn’t have a very peaceful death, as reportedly when he passed, a priest told his head gardener Mr Brown was “burning in the fires of hell”. When asked by the family to prove this, the priest prayed on his knees, then drew a circle on the floor, from this the ghost of Brown supposedly appeared out of flames. Recently an investigation took place within Cumber House in an attempt to make contact with spirits. The team is believed to have made contact with a former housekeeper, Annie Feeny. Whilst in the building they heard a woman’s voice, like a moan from the landing area, which didn’t respond back when they called out to it. The following day they asked the spirit to step forward and further communicate with them, which they claimed led to a dark, black head peeking around the door and later on they said they heard footsteps walking around the home. Photo: unsplash
7. Glenullin, Derry / Londonderry
A few miles from the village of Glenullin is a lonely hawthorn tree, apparently holding a haunting history. It's supposed to be the grave site of Abhartach, known as The Vampire of Derry, a tribal chief in the 5th-century.
According to myth, on the day of his funeral he reappeared, trying to feed off the blood of his subjects. Following his resurrection the new chieftain, Cathain, went on to kill Abhartach three more times as he kept reappearing in search of human blood. After many failed murder attempts of the ghost, Cathain was instructed to kill with a special sword and then to bury him head first, covered by a heavy stone to prevent any more resurrections. After doing so Abhartach never reappeared, however locals apparently still insist on staying clear of his burial site to avoid disturbance and possible resurrection. Photo: folkandflora.ie
8. Dobbins Inn Hotel, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim
Dobbins Inn, currently a family-run hotel, is a recently restored mediaeval tower house and is home to not only one of Ireland’s oldest bars, but also a resident ghost. Back in the 17th-century, Elizabeth ‘Maud’ Dobyn, wife to owner Hugh Dobbins, fell in love and had an affair with a young soldier stationed at the nearby castle. It didn’t take her husband long to discover his dishonesty, leading to him murdering both of them with his sword. Elizabeth's ghost still is supposed to haunt the hotel hallways to this day. Maud’s figure has apparently been sighted in the reception and some say her invisible hand has been felt brushing faces gently. Many guests have reported feeling extremely uneasy when visiting room 21, apparently the centre of her presence. One of the most notable experiences was reported by a worker, who late at night was hit by a coin. After turning around he found that there was no-one in the room. Photo: dobbinsinn.co.uk