King John’s Castle in Limerick dates to the early 13th-century. Evidence of a Viking settlement was discovered on the site during early renovations, adding a whole new layer of history extending back over a thousand years, and the castle itself has seen many a battle and attempted siege during its time.
A female spirit – known as “The Black Lady”, is said to haunt the northeastern tower. She is described as a beautiful woman with flowing blonde hair and dressed in fine robes who can be seen walking along the castle battlements at dusk on summer evenings. The ghost of a soldier has been spotted keeping guard at the entrance near where the portcullis would have been operated, and looking out towards the square. It is said that he appears on moonlit nights and that he wears a military headdress and what appears to be a metal breastplate. Other unusual activities reported within the walls of King John’s Castle over the years have included doors slamming during the night, the sounds of marching footsteps and the clashing of armor, and the sight of mysterious lights.
A nearby bridge also has a story to tell. Folklore tells that many years ago, the wife of the Bishop of Limerick was a deeply unpleasant character and would walk the streets looking for trouble. One night, she encountered a local drunk on Thomond Bridge and attempted to push him into the water. A struggle ensued and the drunk repented for his sins, sparing his life, but his assailant fell into the water and drowned. The story continues that “the Bishop’s Lady” now haunts the site and some say that she will try to lure unsuspecting revelers to a watery grave should they cross the bridge.
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