Huntington Castle was built in 1625 on the site of a 13th-century Franciscan abbey. The castle served as a garrison for 50 years before being transformed into the family home of the Esmonde family, who arrived in Ireland in 1192. Today the castle is owned and operated by their direct descendants, the Durdin Robertsons.
Work continues to restore and preserve the castle as a family home and to share it with the public each weekend with guided tours of the house. The family also opens their magnificent gardens for guests to enjoy and seasonal accommodation is available on a bed and breakfast or self-catering basis.
Multiple ghost stories relate to the castle, and the family is not afraid to admit that their own piece of Ireland’s heritage is haunted.
It is said that in the 17th-century, a soldier stationed at the property was on a reconnaissance mission and had dressed in enemy uniform to carry out his task. On his return, the guards who were unaware of his secret mission did not recognise their comrade and opened fire on him as he knocked on the front door. His ghost is now known to knock on the door as he did on the day he was killed.
The distressed ghost of Ailish O’Flaherty, Lord Esmonde’s first wife, has been seen in the garden on moonlit nights. She is reportedly crying and combing her hair, but the reason why she is upset is open to question. Some believe she is crying because Lord Esmonde claimed his marriage to her was unlawful, whiles others say she weeps because her loved ones are at war.
The friendly ghost of Bishop James Leslie of Limerick haunts the room in which he died in November 1770. Guests staying in the room have encountered his spirit during the night, and tales have also referred to the bishop’s face appearing in a portrait hanging above a fireplace.
When Barbara St. Leger married into the family, she was so taken with Huntington Castle, that she has clearly chosen to continue walking its corridors some two hundred years after her death. Her spectre is said to jangle keys as she moves along the halls, still accompanied by her loyal maidservant, Honor.
Ghostly monks (some say they are druids) have been seen on the castle grounds in an area known as the Yew Walk. This area includes a tree that dates back more than 600 years
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