Valley House, Achill Island

Valley House, Achill Island
Achill Island, Mayo, Ireland.


Many thanks to L. Johnson for suggesting that I include Valley House, Achill Island in this directory. I validate all suggestions and do my own research before publishing to see if there’s any more information I can share, so sometimes it can take a while for me to process them. Site users are (as always) welcome to suggest an amendment or to add their own experiences.

Valley House was constructed in the 1850s for the Earl of Cavan. In 1894, the house was owned by an English woman, Agnes McDonnell. She employed a local man by the name of James Lynchehaun to act as her land agent and he lived in a cottage on the land and managed a small shop there.

It is said that Agnes became wary of her employee and began to question whether he could be trusted and that this lead to a breakdown in their relationship, but there is also a suggestion that his republican views over land ownership may also have played a part. They had a bitter row and Lynchehaun was told to pack up and leave. But Lynchehaun used his knowledge of the law to win him time and to stay on for as long as he could, much to the chagrin of his former employer. In a last bid attempt to oust him, she threatened to treble his rent and it is said that he responded with a threat, saying that “if she leave me houseless, so I will leave her.”

On the evening of the 6th of October 1894, locals became aware of a fire at the great house and they rushed to see what was happening. The stables and coach house were well alight, and witnesses reported seeing McDonnell in a fearsome struggle with Lynchehaun, with the man seemingly trying to drag her towards the flames. She managed to get away and ran to the house, but was discovered a short while later, barely conscious and with severe injuries.

Following the attack, Lynchehaun was arrested but he later escaped and sought refuge at his uncle’s home. He then spent three months in hiding in a crawl space under a friend’s while the constabulary searched for him, and a reward was placed on his head. Sure enough, the money offered was sufficient for the information the authorities needed to locate him, and after capture he was sent to jail. After 7 years, he managed to escape and his friends helped him to raise the funds he needed to flee to America. Attempts to have him extradited failed and Lynchehaun eventually died a free man in Scotland in 1937.

Despite truly horrid injuries, Agnes survived the ordeal but wore a silver plate and a veil to cover her disfigured face. She went on to rebuild the house and manage her estate, and she stood fast in the face of protesters who were demanding that English landowners release land to local people. While she agreed to hand over some of her land in 1913, it wasn’t after her death in 1923 that this pledge was fulfilled.

The house became a hotel in 1942, and today it serves as a 30 bed hostel with a bar and restaurant. Although it is an old building and a certain amount of creaks should be expected, guests have reported experiences within the walls that they cannot explain. It is believed that Agnes herself is still walking around her former home. Witnesses have reported seeing shadows and experiencing strange sensations in the dining room. Those assigned to rooms 1 and 2 have also had strange experiences, with a full body size impression manifesting on a freshly made bed in room 2.

Ghost Advisor

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Further Information

Venue Name
Bar / Pub  | Restaurant  | Great House  | Hostel
The Valley, Achill Island, Mayo, F28 D8F7, Ireland

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Facilities & Services
Marked Walking Trails


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