Ireland make sup five-sixths of the island if Ireland and the remaining area is occupied by Northern Ireland, which is actually a part of the United Kingdom. Ireland was created in 1922 and originally had the name of Irish Free State.
One of the best views in Ireland. (Link: https://lovindublin.com/best-of/33-pictures-prove-ireland-most-beautiful-country-world)
Irish people are known for their love for beer because accordingly, they consume an average of 131.1 liters of beer annually. Another interesting fact about Ireland is that it does not have snakes, moles, weasels, pole cats, and roe deer.
Ireland is also known for its breathtaking views and lots of castles. One of the most visited castles in the area is the Leap Castle, which is located in Coolderry, County Offaly. It isn’t visited just because it is a castle. It is visited because of its bloody history and haunted reputation.
Leap Castle as seen from the outside. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_Castle)
The History Of Leap Castle
To this day, it remains unclear when exactly did the constructions for Leap Castle started. However, many historians say that it was between the 13th and the 15th century. The castle was built by the O’Bannon clan.
The Leap Castle was initially called Leim Ui Bhanian or O’Bannon’s Leap. Accordingly, the explanation about this was that before the castle was actually built, the O’Bannon brothers already had a rivalry as to who would inherit their father’s riches and who would control the castle. The brothers then had a competition. They were to jump off of the huge rock where the castle is now located and whoever lived through the jump, he would inherit the riches and control the castle. It is unclear, however, who of the brothers won or if anyone of them actually won.
Gerald FitzGerald, the Earl of Kildare, tried to seize the castle in 1513 but he failed. In 1516, he attacked the castle again and was successful in partially demolishing it. By 1557, the O’Carroll clan regained possession of the castle. The O’Carrolls ruled the area during those times. However, the brothers of the O’Carroll clan had a bitter rivalry over who will rule next following the death of Mulrooney O’Carroll.
One of the brothers, who was a priest, held a mass at a certain part of the castle, which is now referred to as the Bloody Chapel, and his rival brother interrupted it by plunging a sword into the priest. The priest died as a result.
The Bloody Chapel at Leap Castle. (Link: http://www.ciaranmchugh.com/gallery/the-bloody-chapel-at-leap-castle/)
By 1659, the castle was given to the Darby family. The wife of Jonathan Charles Darby, Mildred, was then a writer of Gothic novels that is why she conducted séances in the castle. Because of this, it is believed that the castle earned its publicity for being haunted with ghosts. A more thorough discussion about this could be found below.
Jonathan Charles Darby in an undated photo. (Link: http://leapcastle.net/?page_id=240)
By 1974, the Leap Castle was bought by Australian historian Peter Bartlett. The castle underwent restorations until 1989. In 1991, musician Sean Ryan bought the castle. He continues to have restoration work on the castle to this date. Ryan offers tours of the castle and is very knowledgeable about Leap Castle’s bloody history.
Sean Ryan, the owner of Leap Castle today. (Link: https://poloconghaile.com/sean-ryan-leap-castle-co-offaly/)
The Ghost Of The Priest
The priest who was killed by his own brother is said to haunt the Bloody Chapel frequently. If he is not at the Bloody Chapel, he could reportedly be seen on a stairway or he could be seen leaving the chapel.
Other souls are said to be present at the Bloody Chapel. Some visitors claim that they saw bright lights from the upper windows of the chapel. It is believed to be because of the 1922 burning of Leap Castle. Strange odor of rubber could also be smelled during the visits.
The Dungeon In The Bloody Chapel
An oubliette or a dungeon is located at the North Eastern corner of the Bloody Chapel. It was used to store valuables or a hiding place in case of an attack. However, the O’Carrolls used the chamber as a place for prisoners. Accordingly, at one point, a lot of skeletons were found inside this small chamber. Once someone is placed inside the chamber, they were forgotten about.
The O’Carrolls are said to be very brutal. They usually order mercenaries to kill those who threaten their power. Once the mercenaries do the job, they get invited to the Leap Castle for a celebration. Unfortunately, the celebration meant the mercenaries’ end because they were usually poisoned and their throats were cut. Their bodies were then thrown inside the dungeon.
The oubliette at the Bloody Chapel of Leap Castle. (Link: https://www.facebook.com/historyhaunted/posts/history-and-haunting-of-leap-castle-roscrea-county-offaly-irelandi-was-standing-/910466558979425/)
Leap Castle owner Ryan himself claims that he believes the soul of one man lives in the oubliette. The man reportedly leaves the Bloody Chapel not too often and is seen wandering around the castle.
Mildred Darby And Her Role In Making Leap Castle Haunted
According to reports, Mildred Darby’s séances unleashed an elemental spirit to Leap Castle. The spirit is said to have attached itself to the castle and it is described as malevolent, terrifying, and unpredictable.
Mildred Darby in an undated photo. (Link: https://offalyhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/the-most-haunted-castle-in-ireland-the-story-of-novelist-andrew-merry-aka-mrs-mildred-darby-of-leap-castle-co-offaly-by-noel-guerin/)
In an interview in 1909 with Journal Occult Review, Mildred shared of the spirit she unleashed, “I was standing in the Gallery looking down at the main floor, when I felt somebody put a hand on my shoulder. The thing was about the size of a sheep. Thin guanting shadowy…, it’s face was human, to be more accurate inhuman. Its lust in its eyes which seemed half decomposed in black cavities stared into mine. The horrible smell one hundred times intensified came up into my face, giving me a deadly nausea. It was the smell of a decomposing corpse.”
The Red Lady Of Leap Castle
Another ghost that haunts Leap Castle earned the name Red Lady. She is reportedly wandering the castle wearing a red gown and a knife in her hand. The Red Lady had a very unfortunate life. She was held hostage by the O’Carroll family and many of them raped her.
The Red Lady became pregnant and when she gave birth, the baby was killed by the O’Carrolls. She then vowed to find the men who killed her baby. It is unclear if she ever got out of Leap Castle or if she died there.