Smithfield Market, Belfast

Smithfield Market, Belfast
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland.

The Smithfield Market area is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a young woman, and brace yourself – this one is a love story.

Luke White was born in to a poor household but from a young age, exhibited the traits of a charismatic and savvy salesman. By the age of 25, he had already made a success of the bookstall he ran at the Smithfield Market and had taught himself to read using the materials he would sell. He was clearly determined, ambitious and wanted more. Luke was seeing a young woman by the name of Biddy Farrelly at the time, and when he announced that he wanted to move to Dublin, it isn’t clear whether he simply upped and left her, or whether she decided to stay where she was. I’m sensing from what happened later that it was more likely the latter and that he left her with a heavy heart.

Luke eventually went on to become a very successful book seller, and later branched out into publishing and property speculation. The fortune he amassed allowed him to purchase Luttrellstown Castle, presumably much to the chagrin of the social elite. He would also marry twice and enter political life before passing away at the grand age of 84.

But what of Biddy? Little is known of the kind of life she lived, but we do know that she was left a considerable sum of money in Luke’s will. Some say that Biddy died of a broken heart, grieving for her true love and lamenting the kind of life they could have had together, while other stories indicate that she used the money to purchase a lot of alcohol and that this eventually lead to her own death a year later.

Biddy’s spectre is said to walk along Gresham Street during the period known as “Grand Lamas Fair” which took place each August. Witnesses report that her spirit is a happy one, that she is smiling and has a bundle of ballads under arm as she would have done when going to meet her lover.

Venue Name
Winetavern Street, Belfast, Antrim, BT1 1JE, Ireland

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