Looking for a sp00k this Halloween, you won't need to stray too far from the capital
It's perhaps unsurprising that was first settled around the 7th century and has gathered a few scary stories and haunted spots in that time. Through the years Dublin has been the setting of all manner of crimes, from graphic murderers, plagues, revolutions and wars. Many would argue that this kind of bloodshed can leave an imprint on the place where it has been carried out, in the form of ghosts, paranormal activities and supernatural characters. Here are top picks for the scariest spots in Dublin if you are brave enough:
15. The Brazen Head
20 Lower Bridge Street
One of the city's oldest boozers, The Brazen Head has seen over 800 years of Dublin history. Its reputation for paranormal activity dates back to 1803, when rumour has it the Irish revolutionary Robert Emmet planned his ill-fated rebellion against British rule within those walls. Which resulted in Emmet's hanging and then beheading on nearby Thomas Street, the story goes that the blood ran down to the hill to his favourite watering hole. Some say that Emmet still frequents the pub, lying in wait for his enemies.
14. Glasnevin Cemetery
The history of Glasnevin Cemetery is as spooky as you can get, back in the 19th century watchers had to be stationed in the towers of the cemetery to watch for bodysnatchers who would transfer the bodies to medical students for medical examinations. The ghost of a Newfoundland dog is also said to frequent the grave of it's former owner John McNeill Boyd and the area around St Patrick's Catedral. The story goes that when Boyd drowned the dog refused to leave his master's grave and slowly starved to death.
13. Jones's Road
There have been several sightings of the ghost of a headless Frederick Edward Jones 'Buck Jones' riding on the back of a white horse on Jones's Road near Croke Park. The former Dublin theatre manager died in a debtor's prison.
12. Marshalsea Barracks
The Four Courts Marshalsea was a debtor's prison in Dublin, Ireland until 1874, which allowed debtors and their families to take refuge from their creditors. Pat Doyle attempted to escape from the place but fell from a roof and died, his ghost could be seen balancing on a wall several years after his death. The building was knocked down in the 1970s.
11. Croppie’s Acre
Royal Hospital Kilmainham
This mass grave was the final resting place of hundreds of rebels executed after the 1798 rebellion and generations of Dublin paupers. Incredibly the site was used as a football pitch in the 20th century.
10. Hendrick Street
This street is known as Dublin’s most haunted street, especially the sites where numbers 7 and 8 used to stand. Though the houses were demolished in the 1960s, the site is believed to be home to no fewer than 6 ghosts.
9. Hellfire Club
You’ll find this iconic hunting lodge dating back to the 18th century at the top of Mountpelier Hill. This was a meeting spot for Satanists and devil worshippers once upon a time, and even the devil himself is reported to have stopped in for a game of cards before escaping up the chimney. As you do. Satan worshipping aside, there are amazing views from inside the lodge. The carpark fills up pretty quickly on the weekends so be sure to get up early if you’re coming at a busy time, and if you’re looking for a coffee afterwards, hit up Timbertrove just down the road.
8. Connolly Station
Few things can be scarier than missing your train, but worst still if you find yourself in the haunted Connolly Station, whose doors have been known to open and close at random. Back in 2011, a security guard was working the night shift monitoring the camera when he saw a figure resembling a soldier in grey clothing walking along a disused platform. When he went to investigate there was no sign of the mystery visitor, who would have struggled to get in or out of the building without notice. The old and historic building has had its share of activity through the years, back in WW2 On the 31st of May 1941, German forces dropped four bombs in the north Dublin area, with 28 people killed just metres from the station.
7. The Portobello Bar
33 Richmond Street
If you stumble out of this pub in the nighttime, don't always believe that your eyes are playing tricks on you. Apparently, the area near the pub is haunted by the ghost of a vengeful lockkeeper. In the mid-nineteenth century, it is said that the lockkeeper was a bit too fond of the drink and sunk the vessel at the lock he managed. Some maintain that the guilt overcame him and he committed suicide others maintain that he died in mysterious circumstances. Some attribute the ghost to some deaths that have occurred in the area over the last few years, claiming that they have become disoriented by a bright light emanating from the canal waters.
6. Malahide Castle
A pretty sight during the day but an extremely haunting place at night, ghosts are as integral a part of the place as the parkland estate and the walled garden. One of the most haunted castles in Ireland, the spot is home to no less than five ghosts in residents. Listen carefully and you'll be able to hear the cry of the Talbot family whose souls cannot leave the castle. The family was in control of the castle for almost 800 years until 1649 when Oliver Cromwell granted the property to one of his loyalists, Miles Corbett. In 1660 Corbett was deposed and later hanged, drawn, and quartered at Malahide for his atrocities during Cromwell’s reign, his ghost is said to still haunt Malahide Castle today. We urge that you take a picture here on Halloween and see if you can see any ghosts that are shorter in stature called Puck photobombing. The jester and watchman apparently fell in love with the castle inhabitant Lady Elenora Fitzgerald. Different versions of how Puck died swirl around, one maintains that when the lady rejected him he allegedly hung himself the other is that he was mysteriously stabbed (while wearing his jester suit, complete with cap and bells) just outside the castle walls.
5. The Gravediggers
1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin
This pub, right next to Glasnevin Cemetery, is a spooky spot for a pint. The resident ghost is regularly spotted at the bar dressed in old-fashioned tweeds until he disappears without a trace. As for the cemetery itself, its history is gruesome. The watchtower was built here so that guards could look out for grave snatchers who regularly dug up freshly buried bodies and sold them for medical use.
4. Saint Michan's Church
Church St, Arran Quay
The basement of this 1000-year-old church has to be one of the spookiest places you are likely to find in Dublin, so spooky it inspired a little of Bram Stoker's Dracula. In the cold, dark vault are several caskets that contain the mummified remains of four people, The Thief (complete with missing hands and feet), The Crusader (a tall man who is believed to have participated in the 1204 Sack of Constantinople) The Nun and The Unknown alongside the bodies of republicans John and Henry Sheares.
3. Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Square, Dublin 8
Few spaces in the city can quite raise the hairs on your skin quite like Ireland's unoccupied prison. Opened in 1796 the space held prisoners for over 200 years, many of them died or were executed there- like the leaders of the 1916 Rising who were killed by firing squad in the quad. The empty prison cells and echoing corridors contribute to the eerie feeling you get when you are in there. The story goes that some of the inmates have hung around, with reports of hauntings going back to the 1960s with lights turning on, disembodied footsteps heard, unseen forces striking workmen and plenty of other paranormal activity.
2. Trinity College Dublin
Ireland's oldest college, founded in 1592 has a long and storied history (not all of it involving academia). Some spooky students have even been enrolled including Bram Stoker for two years from 1866. The ghost of lecturer Edward Ford in a "wig, gown, and knee breeches" is said to haunt The Rubrics, the campus's oldest building. Ford was deeply unliked by his students and was shot by a group of drunk and disgruntled students, before he died he reportedly refused to give up the identity of the perpetrator saying "I do not know, but God forgive them, I do."
1. The Black Church
Dublin 7's St Mary's Place
St Mary's Chapel of Ease is also known as 'The Black Church' due to the dark-coloured calp stone used to build it. It was deconsecrated in the 1960s and the space was adapted for office use. Local legend says that this place is the home of the devil, and there are three ways to get the devil to appear, you can either a) run around the church three times at midnight b) Walk around the church in reverse 13 times or c) recite 'Our Father' backwards.
Got any more suggestions for us, or maybe you want to try out one of the places on Halloween night or some night soon? Contact us on [email protected]
Header image/ brazenheaddublin/IG