In 1185, Sir Richard Talbot was gifted land by Henry II in recognition of his service during the Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland. Talbot built Malahide Castle and the family connection remained for more than 800 years. Today, guests can take a tour of the magnificent castle and walk through 260 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland. Guests can also brush shoulders with several ghostly inhabitants who have made themselves known to visitors, staff – and even performers at concerts on the grounds.
The ghost of Walter Hussey (Young Lord Galtrim) is known to draw the attention of his witnesses to the spear wound in his side – the very spear that killed him on his wedding day.
It is said that his newly widowed wife, Maude Plunkett, wasted no time in marrying again after his death. Some stories suggest that she married the man who killed her young husband, while others suggest it was another rival of his. Either way, Walter still walks the castle hallways protesting his early death and his lover’s betrayal. Lady Plunkett herself is also said to roam the halls of Malahide Castle. Her second marriage did not last and by the time she married for the third time – to a Lord Chief Justice no less, it is said that she had become paranoid and insecure. Maud was said to harangue her husband and they would often argue, with him trying to walk away and escape her incessant outbursts. The ghost of Maud has been seen, still pursuing, and arguing with the spirit of her final husband.
The ghost of a man in a full suit of armour is reputed to break into four separate pieces when he is spotted. This popular tale is associated with Miles Corbett. Corbett was one of 59 members of parliament who signed the death warrant of Charles I and Malahide Castle was gifted to him by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. A locally despised character, Corbett attempted to outlaw Catholicism and attacked the local abbey. He would later face the wrath of the newly re-instated monarchy in 1662, when he was hung, drawn, and quartered. His fragmented ghost is said to appear on the anniversary of his death each year – this being the 19th of April, although he has been spotted at other times as well.
A mysterious white lady has been encountered by many people, walking the castle at night. In folklore, it is said that the figure is that of an unidentified woman depicted in a portrait hanging in the great hall and that she steps out of the picture and goes for a walk around the castle. Two forlorn grey-haired ladies have been seen wandering in a nearby area known as the “Lady’s Acre”. Nobody knows their identity although some suspect that they may have been Danish women who were cast out of the area by the Talbots.
At one time during the tenure of the Talbot family, there lived a night watchman called Puck who also entertained the family as a jester. While some stories suggest that Puck took his own life in the tower, more widespread stories say that he was found one night, stabbed through the heart and that he vowed with his dying breath to haunt the castle forever. Whichever story is true, the ghost of Puck has indeed been encountered many times in different parts of the castle. Some claim that his favourite haunting spots are the minstrel’s gallery and the tower room in which he lived. It was reported that Puck even made himself known to the U.S. singer, Lizzo, when she performed at Malahide Castle in 2019. Speaking on Ireland’s 2FM, the singer exclaimed:
He took my phone and he put it in my dancer’s pocket, it was so crazy! They looked all over the castle for it. Then we called it and it was in my dancer’s pocket outside. She was like, ‘how did it get in here?!’ It happened after I knocked on his door.
Other reported phenomena include doors slamming, locks turning, physical shoving by unseen hands, and taps turning themselves on or off.
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