Originally a tower house before being rebuilt for Peter Aylward in the style we see today, Shankill Castle is a privately owned big house with gardens located on the Carlow and Kilkenny border. The house and gardens are open to the public on a seasonal basis, and tours of the house itself are available.
In and around the 1700s, graves were often targeted by robbers seeking cadavers for use by medical students in their anatomical studies. Only the use of the bodies of convicted criminals had been sanctioned for this purpose and this led to a shortage of suitable corpses. As a result, all graves were considered fair game to the robbers and there was good money to be made in this dark and gruesome market. When castle owner, Peter Aylward was laid to rest in his family vault, his body was stolen, and it has never been found. This may explain why the man himself still walks the upstairs corridor of his former home and the bedroom that he once slept in.
Members of Oliver Cromwell’s army briefly occupied Shankill Castle, with many of them slain in battle. Their ghosts have been seen in the basement.
In the early 19th-century, a bitter argument arose between the priest of the neighbouring church and the owner of the castle. The priest was fatally shot, and it is said that he cursed the estate with his dying breaths, saying that the castle gates would never close and that the land would become overgrown. The ghost of the priest is said to walk along the stone path over which the dispute arose, and it could well have been his spirit that opened the gates at night, even when they had been chained shut. Such was the state of the overgrown entrance, that the owner was forced to relocate it.
A mysterious elderly lady has been sighted in the “blue room” and the ethereal sound of a horse and carriage approaching over gravel has been heard, followed by a knock on the front door. Of course, nobody is ever there when the door is answered and there are no horses to be seen either. Experiences below stairs have included servant bells ringing, even though they are no longer in use.
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 Shankill Castle or any other location listed on this website, to ensure that it will be open and accessible.
If you have visited Shankill 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.