Ards House & Old Ard Mhuire Friary

Ards House & Old Ard Mhuire Friary
Ards, Donegal, Ireland.

Ards House was a manor house which once stood in the area adjoining Ards Forest Park – formerly part of the estate’s land. One of the rooms on the upper floor of the old house was believed to be haunted and was always kept locked. Witnesses would report seeing someone standing at the window, while others heard the sound of someone talking to themselves in the sealed up room. In 1930, the house was sold to a religious order and was thereafter referred to as Ard Mhuire Friary. It was during this period of use that a priest encountered the phantom of a lady in blue looking down on him from the staircase.

She did not make her presence felt until after the mansion had been taken over by the Capuchins and became their house of theological studies for Irish novices. It is reported that the apparition was seen on top of the oak staircase in the mansion. The stairs were horseshoeshaped, forming a horseshow meeting at the landing above. A priest is said to have seen the ghost, a lovely lady in blue, at the top of the stairs, just as he was about to ascend them. – John J. Dunne Haunted Ireland / her romantic and mysterious ghosts (Belfast, 1977)

Sadly, the old house itself was damaged by fire in December 1944 and a plan for its restoration could not be agreed. The order constructed a new building and the old friary was finally demolished in 1966.

The ghost of a woman dressed in white is said to haunt a pathway leading from the old friary to an area known as Lucky Shell Beach. One eye witness reported meeting a woman wearing a white blouse and a long skirt, heading along the path towards the old friary. A greeting was left unacknowledged and when the woman recalled her encounter to locals later that day, she was informed that a ghost had been seen in that area on a few occasions. Some believe that the ghost is that Lady Ena Stewart-Bam, a former owner of the estate.

Elsewhere within the grounds, there is a pathway that is reputedly haunted by the ghost a man who was put to death by The Whiteboys in the eighteenth century. I can find no further information on this.

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