Ireland is known for its rich history and folklore, and the Leap Castle is no exception. Situated in County Offaly, the castle has a mysterious and bloody past that has captured the imagination of both historians and paranormal enthusiasts.
The exact date of the construction of the castle is unknown, with various accounts placing it anywhere from the 13th century to the late 15th century. It is believed that the castle was built by the O’Bannon clan and was originally called “Léim Uí Bhanáin” or “Leap of the O’Bannons”. The O’Bannons were the secondary chieftains of the territory and were subject to the O’Carroll clan. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area around the castle has been occupied since at least the Iron Age, and possibly even earlier, to the Neolithic times.
The castle saw its fair share of battles and violence throughout the centuries. In 1513, the Earl of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald, attempted to seize the castle, but failed. Three years later, he managed to partially destroy the castle, but by 1557, the O’Carrolls had regained control. The death of Mulrooney O’Carroll in 1532 led to family struggles within the O’Carroll clan, and the bitter fight for power resulted in a bloody brotherly rivalry. One of the brothers, who was a priest, was murdered by his rival brother during a family mass in what is now known as the “Bloody Chapel”.
In 1659, the castle passed into the hands of the Darby family, and during the tenure of Jonathan Charles Darby, his wife Mildred Darby, a writer of Gothic novels, held séances in the castle, leading to publicity about the castle and its ghosts. In order to pay for expansions to the central keep, rents were raised and land was sold, which is believed to be a motivation for the burning of the castle during the Irish Civil War in 1922. The castle was later bought by Australian historian Peter Bartlett in 1974 and was extensively restored. Since 1991, the castle has been privately owned by Sean Ryan and his wife Anne, who continue the restoration work.
The Leap Castle has been featured on the cover of several editions of the novel “The Riders” by Tim Winton, and its history and hauntings were examined in “Castle Ghosts of Ireland” by Robert Hardy in 1996. Whether you’re a history buff or a paranormal enthusiast, the Leap Castle is a must-visit destination for anyone in Ireland.
Leap Castle has captured the attention of paranormal investigators and enthusiasts. The castle has been described as “the world’s most haunted castle.
But what ghosts are said to be lurking in that building?
With a history of brutality and murder, it’s no wonder that ghostly tales of the castle have arisen. From the pacing ghost of Thaddeus O’Carroll to the famous Elemental, many reports of paranormal activity have been documented over the years.
As mentioned above, the O’Carrolls, who once lived in the castle, were known for their ruthless and murderous ways, and this could be one of the reasons why the castle is haunted. The ghost of Thaddeus has been reported to still pace the Bloody Chapel, which is one of the most haunted areas of the castle. In the 1920s, an oubliette was discovered during renovations, and skeletons were found impaled on spikes. The discovery of a pocket watch from the mid-1800s suggests that it wasn’t just the O’Carrolls who used the oubliette for their evil deeds.
Captain Darby was said to have hidden treasures around the property. His ghost is said to still roam the castle grounds, searching for his lost treasure. Jonathan and Mildred Darby, who took over the castle later, were fascinated by the legends and tales of their home.
The most famous ghost at Leap Castle is the Elemental. Its appearance is said to be decomposing, with a rotting smell. The origin of the Elemental is still unknown, but there are several theories. Some believe that it was put there by the druids to protect the land, while others think that the Earl of Kildare placed it there to help him take the castle from the inside. There is also the possibility that Mildred Darby summoned the Elemental during one of her seances.
In the year 1922, Leap Castle was burned by the IRA and left in ruins by the IRA while the Darby family lived in England. The castle remained abandoned for 70 years until it was renovated in 1991 by Sean and Anne Ryan, its current owners. The renovation process, however, was far from smooth sailing. Sean took on much of the work himself and was excited to turn the castle into a livable home.
However, just two days into the renovation, strange things began to happen. Sean was repairing a stone wall and was standing on a ladder when, suddenly, the ladder began to tilt as if being pushed by an unseen force. Sean fell 20 feet to the ground and sustained a fractured forearm and other injuries. A few weeks later, while making his way to the basement where he kept his tools, Sean heard a ghostly, hoarse voice calling out to him from the walls. Despite his initial terror, Sean managed to stay on his feet but stumbled and cut his hand on a sharp stone as he made his way back up the stairs. The injury took an unusually long time to heal.
Since moving into Leap Castle, the couple has experienced many strange occurrences but they remain attached to their home. They claim to have seen the castle in a dream before they ever saw it in person and felt an inexplicable urge to buy and renovate it.
In conclusion, Leap Castle is a place filled with a dark history and ghostly tales. From the pacing ghost of Thaddeus O’Carroll to the famous Elemental, there are many reports of paranormal activity in the castle. The true origin of these ghosts may never be known, but their presence serves as a reminder of the castle’s dark past.