Gill Hall

Gill Hall
Dromore, Down, Ireland.

DEMOLISHED

This property no-longer exists.


Gill Hall was constructed in the second half of the 17th century for Captain John Magill. The great house was occupied until 1910 and over subsequent decades it sadly fell into a state of disrepair, before a devastating fire sealed its fate in June 1969. What remained of the house was later demolished.

As at 2024, work has begun to establish a countryside leisure and hospitality offering in the estate grounds, and (unless I am mistaken), there is an intention to recreate the old house at some point in the future with twenty rooms available for overnight guests.

One of Ireland’s most famous ghost stories took place at Gill Hall in the late seventeenth century.

John Le Poer and Nichola Sophia Hamilton were orphans who were raised together by a Deist. While the Children’s formal education instilled Christian values upon them, their guardian attempted to persuade them that these teachings were inaccurate and that while God created the world, nature was truly in charge. John and Nichola were not sure what to believe and decided to make a pact. They agreed that whoever died first, would return and tell the other the truth.

In October 1693, Nichola (now known as Lady Beresford), was staying at Gill Hall. She awoke during the night to see the ghost of John (Lord Tyrone), standing by her bed. He informed her that he was now dead and confirmed that there was indeed an afterlife. Lady Beresford was startled but thought she might be dreaming. She asked the ghost to give her a token so that she could validate it when fully awake. Lord Tyrone took her wrist and his icy fingers left a permanent mark on her skin, akin to a burn. He then left a handprint on a cabinet as further validation. Just before the spirit went on his way, he gave Lady Beresford a chilling premonition. She would die on her 47th birthday.

The next morning, and now wide awake, Lady Beresford discovered the mark on her wrist and the handprints on the cabinet. She had not been dreaming. She placed a black ribbon around her wrist, and headed down to breakfast. Her husband could see that his wife was upset and asked her what was the matter, but she assured him all was fine and he passed no further comment. The next day, when the mail was delivered, there was an envelope sealed with black wax. Within it was a letter from Lord Tyrone’s steward, informing that Lord Tyrone had passed away on the 14th of October.

Having survived her 47th year, Lady Beresford decided to throw a lavish party to mark her 48th birthday in 1713. One of the invited guests was a clergy man who came over to congratulate her. During their conversation, he referenced that he had recently revisited the parish records and had discovered a discrepancy in her date of birth. Today was in fact her 47th birthday. She excused herself from the party and asked her husband and children to join her where she recounted her ghostly visit and showed them the mark on her wrist, still covered by a black ribbon. She then said goodbye to her children and requested that she be left alone.

A maid called to the room a short time later and found Lady Beresford was dead.

Prior to its destruction, there were vague references to “noises” and “thumping on walls”, with some saying that people would avoid it altogether. But I can find no solid accounts of these supposed experiences and am wary of “noises” in old and potentially creaky buildings.

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Further Information

Venue Name
Classification(s)
Great House
Address
Villawood Road, Dromore, Down, BT25 1LQ, Ireland

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