The Dobbins Inn Hotel is a lovingly restored and repurposed medieval tower house located within walking distance of Carrickfergus Castle and other local attractions.
During its time, the building has served as a private residence, a bakery and as a barracks, with each function adding its own unique layer of history and cosmetic change. Some of these changes were stripped away during restoration works in 2019, exposing more of the building’s original period features.
The popular 3-star inn includes one of Ireland’s oldest bars, a restaurant, and 15 en-suite bedrooms, plus an assortment of historic treats such as a priest’s hole in the hotel reception area, old, beamed ceilings, and a large open fire in the bar.
But there is another “historic treat” which is embraced by this hotel – it is haunted.
In the early 17th century, Elizabeth Dobyn (referred to as “Maud”), wife of Hugh Dobbins, had an affair with a handsome young soldier stationed at Carrickfergus Castle. When he discovered her betrayal. her husband was incandescent with rage and killed his wife and her lover with his sword. Some romanticised versions of the story claim that there was a secret tunnel concealed behind the fireplace, linking the inn to the castle, and that this was used by the pair during their liaison. However, the existence of a complete tunnel has yet to be proved.
Maud’s ghost is believed to haunt Dobbins Inn to this day. A ghostly figure has been spotted walking through reception and towards the grand fireplace, and guests staying overnight have spoken of their faces being brushed gently by an unseen hand. The ghost of the young soldier has also been spotted walking the halls on occasion.
Members of staff have also had ghostly encounters, with a feeling of uneasiness reported, particularly in room 21. This feeling is contrary to general reports of a gentle, female soul so it is possible that there may be another, more malevolent energy at work. Guests have also reported “a definite atmosphere” in the room.
Elsewhere, a waiter was struck by a small item (believed to be a coin) while setting a table in the deserted restaurant, and a chef had their apron strings tugged and witnessed pots and pans being disturbed by unseen hands in their kitchen.
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