Charleville Castle is a magnificent gothic castle located in the heart of an ancient forest in County Offaly. A mansion house was constructed on the site in the first half of the 17th-century, and this was replaced by the castle we see today, which was completed in 1812. The castle was abandoned in 1912 and was left empty for more than fifty years before restoration work commenced in 1973. The restoration works are ongoing, and the property is now managed by The Charleville Castle Heritage Trust.
The castle is often opened to the public. Multiple events and festivals have also taken place at the castle, and the venue has provided a backdrop for many films and television shows, including The Knight Before Christmas, The Tudors, and (more suitably) Most Haunted.
Built on ley lines and surrounded by forests where druids held ancient ceremonies, it is not hard to imagine why the castle is considered to be one of the most actively haunted in Ireland.
The ghost of an eight-year-old girl named Harriet is said to haunt Charleville Castle. One day in 1861, Lady Harriet Bury was making her way down the stairs when she decided it would be fun to slide down the banister. Tragically, she lost her grip and fell to the stone floor below, breaking her neck as she hit the ground. On a night more than 100 years later, two of the trustees were asleep in their bed when they were awoken at 3 am by the sound of a girl’s voice singing followed by a scream. Believing that someone had broken in, one went to investigate while their partner kept watch on the stairs. When they reunited a few moments later, they confirmed that there was nobody else in the castle and concluded that they must have heard poor Harriet’s spirit replaying her accident.
Despite the nature of her death, poor Harriet normally seems quite happy. She appears from time to time, dressed in blue and white, playing on the stairs where she fell. Visitors have also reported hearing her singing and laughing, and she has been known to play with paranormal investigators too.
Guests staying at the castle have reported seeing a green mist coming out of a wall in one of the bedrooms, while another staying in the same room was first locked out of it, and then locked in it. There was no key and no way a human could have secured the door.
A volunteer working on the restoration recalled hearing noises and seeing light on the floor above him while staying in the Octagon Room. There was nobody up there and there was no electricity in that area at the time. Another reported hearing a distinct knock on her door at 1.30 am when everyone else in the castle was sound asleep, while on another occasion manic laughter and disembodied voices were heard emanating from the deserted dungeons where prisoners were tortured in the early 19th-century.
The castle continues to host visiting psychics and paranormal events.
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