Thrilling and frightening, Leap Castle in County Offaly fulfills all your childhood fears but this time it isn’t fiction. Hidden some 4 miles from the nearest town, and inhabiting a half-human, half-beast who is rumoured to omit a foul sulphur stench on the stairwell, this off-the-beaten-track haunt is a must see… if you dare. Dubbed the most-haunted haunted-house in the world (impressive title, huh?) the 13th century site is an ancient building with a demonising stature that will leave you intrigued on the outside, compelling you to enter at your own risk! Even Simon Marsden, a seasoned European landscape photographer commented on the Castle’s aura stating that it was without a shadow of doubt, the most sinister and frightening building he had ever photographed!
So you’re not a thrill seeker? Well don’t let the ghosts and ghouls scare you off if you’re an avid history fan either. It’s no surprise that a building as old as this one is steeped in outrageous history (be some of it bloody and violent) and is thought to be built upon and have been occupied since the Iron Age (500BC) as a ceremonial area. A visit to the Coolderry Castle will leave you immersed in a deep history of family feuds, clan-wars and brotherly rivalry! The kind of stuff you usually only hear about in an episode of Game of Thrones! Extensively undergoing restoration since burning down in the 1922 Irish Civil War, there’s no wonder Leap is a sought-after filming site for films and TV series alike.
Locals will tell folk tales of eerie hauntings of the quarrelling O’Connel brothers, one of whom was a priest whose sibling burst in during a mass-service and plunged a sword into his practising brother for ownership of the property. This site is now aptly named ‘The Bloody Chapel’ but we think you need to visit yourself and make up your own mind about this one by taking a trip and daring to peer in the dark windows which usually fall against a backdrop of moody sky. Don’t be freaked out, the current inhabiting owners will be happy to show you around for a small fee, and thousands flock here to view the building alone as it’s splendrous in itself! You might even take a terrific tale or two home with you…
Photo Credit and More Info: Leap Castle Website