Athcarne Castle is an Elizabethan castle now in ruins, located near Duleek in County Meath. It was constructed by William Bathe in 1590 and was then rebuilt in 1830. The castle was abandoned in the 1950s and is now in a sorry state of repair.
Those who have visited the castle claim to have witnessed figures at the windows and felt a distinct sense that they were not welcome there. It is claimed that King James II once owned the castle and that he stayed there in 1690 when en route to the Battle of the Boyne. Some say that his ghost returns to the castle on occasions and appears dumbfounded, possibly reflecting on his brutal defeat in the battle.
Visitors have reported hearing disembodied cries and moans, reportedly from the mortally wounded soldiers who perished at the site. The grizzly spectre of a soldier has been seen hanging from an oak tree, and the ghost of a distressed young girl with bloody hands has also been seen.
An old story tells of a battle between the Irish and the English on the Hill of Tara and how an Irish fighter once hid in a pile of hay near Athcarne Castle and awaited the arrival of the enemy. As they approached his makeshift outpost, he opened fire at them. But unfortunately for him, he did not have enough bullets to take down the approaching force. When they got close, they set the hay on fire. Fleeing the burning pile, the fighter quickly made his presence known and was killed and buried on the spot. Soon afterward, a large thistle grew where the man had fallen, and it was said that his ghost was seen there every night keeping guard and that he would not rest until the land of Ireland was set free.
The structure is not particularly accessible, so it is only recorded in this directory as a site of interest instead of one that can or should be visited.
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