Carrigaphooca Castle is a 16th-century tower ruin, located on private land in Macroom, County Cork. The Irish name for the castle is Caisleán Carraig a’ Phúca which when translated, is “Castle on the Rock of the Fairy”.
One of the ghosts said to haunt the castle is that of Cormac Tadhg McCarthy who was appointed High Sheriff of County Cork and was charged with the task of tracking down Irish rebels. Legend has it that McCarthy invited an adversary to a banquet at Carrigaphooca Castle to forge a truce but instead had his guest killed and then feasted on his raw flesh, in a savage and misguided attempt to earn the respect of the English. But his attempt failed, and they were appalled by his behavior. He claimed in his defence, that an evil spirit had risen from the rock beneath the castle foundations and had possessed him, forcing him to commit the brutal, cannibalistic act. Some believe he is now doomed to spend eternity locked away at the castle as atonement for his sins.
Another alleged haunting is that of a púca. The púca often features in Irish folklore as a protector of fairy forts. They are seen by many as dark, malevolent characters, although some respect them as protectors and view them as being capable of bringing good fortune if they choose. The púca that is reputed to protect Carrigaphooca Castle, is described as a ghastly, grim entity who will attack visitors at will. So, was McCarthy right, and did an evil entity possess him?
Please remember that Carrigaphooca Castle is located on private land, so enjoy it from a distance. If you are determined to explore the castle, be sure to ask permission first, or there might be more than a púca and a cannibalistic ghost coming after you.
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