Templemichael Church & Castle

Templemichael Church & Castle
Templemichael, Waterford, Ireland.

The nineteenth century church and sixteenth century castle (both in ruin), along with the surrounding graveyard and their riverside location, certainly make Templemichael the perfect setting for a good ghost story.

Many people have reported seeing ghostly monks in the vicinity of the church, and this may relate to the Knights Templar who were granted land here in the twelfth century. But their devout, Christian beliefs seemed to be in contrast to the character spotted by author, Sheila St Clair, when she visited the site in 1965. She described how she was preparing to take a photograph of the castle from the river bank, when she spotted a figure emerging from the gate that she and her husband had walked through just a few moments earlier.

His head and the upper portions of his body were clothed in a brown cloak or habit, that reached to just below the knees. Below that he melted into an indeterminate mist. But it was the look on his face that froze my finger on the camera trigger. He was pale and thin, with deep-set eyes. His face wore the most consummate look of evil that I have ever seen. Habit and training forgotten. I stood rooted to the spot, with a cold trickle of fear chilling my spine. I could not utter one coherent syllable. I had often wondered what a confrontation between a stoat and a rabbit felt like, now I knew. Then my husband called out to me, and at the moment the man vanished.

An American lady also encountered an evil presence here. While walking along the river bank, she spotted the likeness of a monk standing in a doorway of the ruin, but instead of feeling a sense of peace, it was a sense of intense evil.

Despite her terrifying encounter, Sheila St Clair returned five years later. She recounted how she felt “uneasy” in the church itself and went outside to walk around the graveyard. During her walk, she recalled hearing the sound of organ music coming from inside the church, but she knew that she and her husband were the only ones there. It was soft but distinct and she was able to identify the hymn. It was “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. She and her husband went back into the church, they could not even see an organ, let alone an organist. A few moments later, her husband met with some local people that had just pulled into the car park. When he described what they had heard, the locals were able to tell them that there was still a working organ in the church but that it wouldn’t be immediately obvious to a visitor. Sure enough, they went in once more, located the organ and were able to verify then and there that the sound it made was indeed the same as what they had heard, even though there was nobody there that could have been playing it.

Other strange encounters reported in the grounds of the old church and castle include feelings of being watched and ghostly dogs. A phantom rope has also been seen, stretched across the main road. In the 1960s, a group of friends were on their way to observe an eclipse, when they spotted the rope spanning the width of the road. They ducked down, but there was no impact. When they had passed, they stopped but could find no trace of the rope. They reported the matter to the gardai, who dispatched an officer on a bike. The officer had exactly the same experience, and ducked down to avoid being knocked off his bicycle, but when he turned back, the rope was nowhere to be seen.

There is also a legend that is attached to nearby Ballynatray House, and you can read that here.

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Further Information

Venue Name
Classification(s)
Castle  | Outdoor / Street Hauntings  | Cathedral or Church  | Burial Site
Address
Templemichael, Waterford, Ireland
Admission Policies
Open 24/7/365
Facilities & Services
Car Park

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