Waterford Castle is located on a private island just minutes from the city of Waterford. It is believed that a monastery was founded here sometime before the 8th century and that the monks were attracted by the peace and seclusion the island offered. However, this seclusion left them vulnerable to attack and it is believed that this was their reason for leaving. In the 12th century, Maurice Fitzgerald was awarded land for his role in the Norman Invasion, and this included the island on which the castle now sits. The gothic-style building we see today incorporates part of a 16th-century structure with extensions and embellishments added in the 19th-century.
In 1958, the castle was sold, thereby ending the 800-year link with Fitzgerald family and the castle has changed hands a few times since. It first opened as a hotel in 1988 and was completely refurbished by its new owners in 2015. The castle is now a popular choice for wedding parties, golf trips, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Regrettably, details of the alleged hauntings are rather sketchy, although the hotel does not deny that guests have reported feeling a “friendly presence” while staying at the castle. One known haunting is said to affect the dining room and conservatory. The ghost of a woman has been seen in this area and she is believed to the spirit of Mary, the last member of the Fitzgerald family to have owned Waterford Castle.
We were unaware of the stories until one of the ghosts gently woke me up in the middle of the night. Don’t worry, it was a friendly experience. My husband did some research the next morning and we asked the staff. There are some fascinating stories out there and I would advise doing some research so you can embrace Waterford Castle’s spirit guests!
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