Carlow Shopping Centre was developed on the site of an old prison. The Carlow gaol was built in 1800 and remained in service until 1897 when the land was taken over by T Thompson & Son – an engineering firm. As amendments were being made to the site, several bodies were unearthed, and these were attributed to the souls who were executed at the prison. When the company pulled out in the early 1990s, the land was acquired, and the shopping centre was founded.
The old gaol gate was incorporated into the “new” building and it now serves as the shopping centre entrance. Two interesting (but grim) details to note here. The sign over the entrance says Carlow Shopping Centre. Under the “pp” in “shopping”, there is a vertical slot, and it is said that this would have been used to hoist the gibbet for public executions. Beneath the arched window, there is a horizontal slot – this is where the trapdoor would have been slid out.
With such a grisly history attached to the land, it is little wonder that many consider Carlow Shopping Centre to be haunted.
The ghost of a woman is said to remain incarcerated here, more than 150 years after her death. Although her identity had not been confirmed, many have speculated that it could be Lucinda (Lucy) Sly who was hanged at the gate on the 30th of March 1835. It is said that Lucy was trapped in a loveless, abusive marriage and that she invoked John Dempsey, a farm labourer, to murder her husband as he lay drunk on his bed. Dempsey was hanged alongside her.
Some say the centre is also haunted by the spectre of a young girl who was mistreated by prison guards but there is no further information on this. Furniture has been known to move of its own accord when the centre is empty, and other reported phenomena have included mysterious lights and disembodied voices. In 2014, the Leinster Paranormal Group investigated the centre and recorded a female voice yelling, doors slamming and ghostly laughing.
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