Though Ireland may present itself as the Emerald Isle with green grass, blue sky and enough Guinness to sink a ship, Ireland is also country with a long, dark and tumultuous history.
Naturally with such a colorful past one would expect that it has its fair share of scary tales to tell, and thanks to Listverse we've come across six of the creepiest Irish tales! So take a look and try not to let it scare you off a trip to the land of leprechauns:
1. The black cat of Killakee
In the late 1960s the legend of the frightening black cat of Killakee house in Dublin began haunting dreams after Margaret Fox inherited the house, and later began to renovate the building which was built in 1765. Workers on the house refused to stay in the house because of 'ghostly' happenings, a freezing atmosphere and doors that refused to stay shut. One night a builder reported that the door opened and a huge black cat "as big as an Alsatian" glared at him before disappearing. After that there were several more reported sightings of a huge cat with glowing red eyes appearing in areas with clearly locked doors.
In the early 1970s the house was exorcised and that seems to have stopped the huge black cat, though there have been reports of other poltergeist-like activity in the building.
2. The extremely haunted Malahide castle
Not content with just one ghost, this 800-year-old castle has at least five: Lord Galtrim who died violently on his wedding day in the 15th century is said to wander the castle grounds at night groaning from the pain of a broken heart and spear wounds. The White Lady from a large painting in the main hall supposedly leaves her painting at night to skulk around the corridors, along with another lady, Maud Plunkett, who is said to be chasing her husband's unseen ghost. Lord Miles Corbet also joins the ghostly ranks of Malahide castle, he appears as an imposing armored soldier who will suddenly break into pieces.
The fifth host is Puck, a jester who was the caretaker of the castle during the rule of Henry VIII. Some say that his lover was taken away and he was found stabbed through the heart, while other variations say that he hung himself for no given reason. However both stories say that Puck vowed to haunt and protect the castle after his death, and rumors of his ghost seem to suggest he came good on the promise.
3. The burial vaults of St. Michan's church
The 330-year-old St. Michan's Church sits on a site which dates from 1095. The vaults of St. Michan's contain many mummified remains, among them the 400-year-old body of a nun, a tall man believed to be a crusader, a body with its feet and right hand severed, and the Sheares brothers who fought in the 1789 rebellion.
As scary as these old, mummified remains may sound, the vaults are open to tours on Saturdays which brings a lot of visitors, many of whom report feeling a strange presence, as if there was a "pressure" of living people all around them. Others think that they hear a strange murmuring sound, like people whispering just out of earshot. One thing is for sure, ghosts or not, the vaults of St Michan's would be a very spooky place to spend a Saturday.
4. The curious disappearing islands
In 1878, residents of Ballycotton woke up to see that a new island had suddenly appeared, however when fishermen tried to approach the island the entire thing suddenly vanished.
While this might sound like there was something slipped into the water of the entire town and they were simply all hallucinating, there have actually been several reported cases of similar things happening in coastal areas of Ireland. While sometimes these islands are simply written off as mirages, others believe that it is the Irish legend of a fantastical island known as Hy Brasil. This island is supposedly shrouded from human eyes for the most part, only becoming visible every seven years. The island is apparently located on the West coast of Ireland, and several people have reported either visiting it or witnessing its appearance and disappearance. Very weird! Though I have to wonder, what would happen if you were on the island when it disappeared from view?
5. The terrifying Dobhar Chu
Despite most of the attention of strange and mythical creatures in the UK and Ireland going to the Loch Ness Monster, Ireland does in fact have a scary mythical beast of its own! However instead of having Nessie's placid nature the Dobhar Chu ('water hound') is said to be a bloodthirsty, crocodile-sized beast!
With the appearance of a wolfhound and a fish, the Dobhar Chu is extremely fast both on and off the water. They are said to live in small populations and may be migratory. Though it might be easy to write off the Dobhar Chu as just another cryptid, attack and sightings of the monsters have been reported for centuries, with the most recent one being in 2000.
6. The friendly ghost of the Gravediggers pub
While it might official be called John Kavanagh's, this pub is more commonly known as Gravediggers due to many of its patrons being gravediggers (or grave robbers) at nearby cemeteries. Though it's name and patrons might make it seem like this pub would have a very scary and unpleasant resident ghost, it is actually the opposite! Gravediggers is frequented by the ghost of a well dressed, elderly gentleman, with a white beard who only seems interested in a pint of Guinness in the corner before disappearing. He is thought to be a relative of the Kavanagh family and seems to be a regular - the pub owners even encourage offering the ghost a pint if you are luck (or unlucky) enough to see him.