Taaffe’s Castle in Carlingford, County Louth, dates to the early 16th century. Given its proximity to the nearby harbour, it is likely that the castle was used for the storage of goods brought in by wealthy merchants.
There have been reported accounts of a headless white phantom, spotted wandering through various rooms in the old castle. Some reports say that it is the ghost of Nicholas Taaffe, while others say that it is the ghost of his young lady.
According to local legend, Nicholas Taaffe, 2nd Earl of Carlingford, arrived at the castle in 1678 and made it his home. The romantic version of the story tells that a young servant girl called Eimear was one of those who turned out to welcome the Earl to his new home. Glances were exchanged between the two, with the young Earl and the lowly maid both liking what they saw. Over time it is said that they fell in love and were indeed to be married.
In 1690, Nicholas was called to battle and reluctantly left his distraught fiancé to take his place in the fight against the forces of William of Orange. Word came soon after that the brave Earl had been slain in battle on the 12th of July – just two days before they had planned to marry. He had been pierced through the heart and decapitated by a Williamite soldier.
A servant was sent to share the dreadful news with his beloved Eimear, but when she arrived at the room, she faced a bloody scene. Eimear was dead. She had been pierced through the heart and her head had been cut off – a death that mirrored that of the young Earl. But there was no sign of any sword or any intrusion.
It is said that Eimear’s body was left where it was found and that the room was sealed forever and that it is her spirit that walks Taaffe’s Castle.
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