Ross Castle is a popular and well-regarded Bed & Breakfast in County Meath, Ireland. Unsuspecting guests and clued-up ghost hunters alike have experienced paranormal activity in and around the castle.
The castle was built in 1536 by the 12th Lord of Delvin, Richard Nugent. Widely referred to as the Black Baron, Nugent was a cruel and bad-tempered figure who was feared by locals. By contrast, his daughter Sabrina was fragile and well-liked by those who encountered her when she managed to leave the confines of the castle without the escort her father normally insisted on.
During her secret trips, Sabrina met and soon fell in love with the son of an O’Reilly Chieftain by the name of Orwin. Their love was of course forbidden as the daughter of an English lord could not possibly marry the son of her father’s enemy. Despite this, the young couple continued to see each other and yearned for a time when they could be together in the open and perhaps even marry. This desire grew stronger and stronger, and they eventually decided to escape together and build a life away from the family conflict.
They commandeered a rowing boat and set out across Lough Sheelin when they were suddenly beset by a heavy squall. Despite their best efforts, the boat was overturned, and the two lovers were tossed into the angry waters. Sabrina was soon rescued by a guard who had been despatched by her father when he received word of her escape, but her beloved Orwin sadly drowned. His body was recovered from the lake a few days later.
Sabrina’s grief overtook her, and she locked herself away in the castle tower, refusing all food and water. She later died there in her self-imposed confinement.
It would seem that Sabrina’s poor, restless soul has yet to be reunited with her lost love. Her forlorn ghost has been seen walking the halls of Ross Castle, and she is not alone. The grief he experienced over the loss of his only daughter did not spare the soul of the Black Baron. He too appears to be doomed to walk the castle grounds, seeking atonement for his callous deeds.
While many guests do enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep at the castle, others have reported a feeling of being watched or have spoken of an ominous male presence. Perhaps this is the Black Baron himself, or maybe it is the ghost of Myles ‘the Slasher’ O’Reilly who is also believed to haunt Ross Castle. It is believed that in 1644, he spent his final night in the castle before being slain in battle the following day.
Visitors have reported being kept awake by the sound of knocking on their windows, even when they are not at ground level, while others have felt sudden and intense changes in temperature. Other encounters include disembodied voices and loud banging noises emanating from the upper floors when there is nobody there, doors opening by themselves, and then slamming shut.
But the ghostly activity is not confined to Ross Castle itself. Visitors who are staying in the castle tower may also witness a replaying of a tragic event that took place on the lake several hundred years ago. Each winter, the lake would freeze and people would travel by carriage across the frozen waters to reach a church on a nearby island. According to folklore, on one occasion, the ice gave away and a funeral procession was plunged into the icy waters. The only survivor was the priest who headed the doomed procession. The sad event is said to replay every 100 years, and sure enough – it was reportedly seen in modern times.
Genuine Visitor Comments
After I fell asleep, my husband felt ‘something’ bump up against the bed. He said he knows it wasn’t me moving because I was asleep. He tried moving his leg around a bit, but couldn’t shake the bed the same way. A little while later, he said he felt it again, but he’s not sure if he was dreaming about it that time or if it happened a 2nd time. Around 3:15 am I woke up because I was smelling roses. The room has a musty smell to it, so it was not a scent that was there. It was very distinctly roses.
With the entire castle to ourselves, we had supper over a turf fire in the amazing fireplace of the upper living room at dusk. This took our minds off the terrifying banging we heard at 19:00… It sounded like someone – or something – was trying to break the door down with 10-15 violent bangs ringing out throughout the castle as we descended past Sabina’s room. Although we heard other noises, we had thought that this really uncomfortable moment was the only truly inexplicable aspect of our stay – that is until we looked at our pictures on the computer when we were back at home, where we saw the unmistakable figure of a woman looking out of the main living room window towards the lawn, and two children peeping at us around the door out of the kitchen. We had taken a walk around midnight through the entire castle, randomly taking pictures in the dark to see what may come out. We never expected to see anything so amazing and clear, and have now absolutely no scepticism left as to whether or not there is anything in the castle.
Please note that Spirited Isle is not responsible for the content of third party websites.
Users should always undertake their own checks before traveling to Ross Castle or any other location listed on this website, to ensure that it will be open and accessible.
If you have visited Ross Castle, why not tell other users how you got on? Would you recommend it? Did you see, hear or feel anything? Click “Add Your Experience” and then enter your name and email address to post your guest review.
Please note that all experiences will be vetted prior to publishing and I reserve the right to decline inclusion or to redact sensitive information.
Spirited Isle accepts no responsibility for action taken by any user having consulted information published on this website or elsewhere. Furthermore, the owner of the website is not responsible for any loss, damage, injury, demonic possession, death, or other negative outcome arising..
Be safe, be responsible and be respectful.