With Hallowe’en upon us, Kieran O’Mahony delves into some of West Cork’s spooky and spine chilling stories including The Beara Hag, Macroom’s vampire and Kinsale’s White Lady
WEST Cork is surprisingly rich in creepy tales and mystic houses that would put a chill down anyone’s back.
The scenic Charles Fort in Kinsale is a stunning garrison facility which draws thousands of visitors through its gates each year. But are these visitors aware of the haunting history behind it? And the myth of The White Lady, who can apparently can be seen in her wedding dress?
Shortly after it was constructed in 1667, Colonel Warrender was appointed governor of Charles Fort. The story goes that his daughter Wilful was to marry an officer stationed there by the name of Sir Trevor Ashurst.
However, due to a case of mistaken identity, Colonel Warrender shot his daughter’s husband on their wedding day after coming across him asleep and mistaking him for a sleeping sentry who should have been on duty. On hearing that her husband had been shot, Wilful flung herself over the garrison and died.
When Colonel Warrender heard this he shot himself, leading to a double tragedy on what should have been a celebratory night. Since then there have been numerous reports that the ghost of the bride still walks the path of Charles Fort in her wedding dress.
Skibbereen too has its own legendary spooky tale which relates to the Eldon Hotel, where the story goes that the ghost of a lady who burnt to death there in a fire many years ago still haunts one of the rooms.
Numerous people down through the years have reported that they heard the sound of someone crying, while others said that strange things had happened there. Such was the interest in the Eldon Hotel that members of the Cork Supernatural Society, which was formed in 2013, paid a visit to it about three years ago with special equipment to record any sinister movements.
While staying overnight in the hotel, they witnessed a wardrobe flying open as well as hearing whisper-type sounds and the sound of something being dragged across a floor. Heading further west, the Hag of Beara has mystified locals for generations. It goes back to a tale of an old woman who lived there many years ago and the rock on a piece of land near Eyeries is reportedly the head of the hag. Legend has it that the Hag stole a Bible from Saint Caithiraín who was preaching Christianity at the time. In the end he struck the Hag with his staff instantly turning her into stone where she stands to this day.
Other West Cork spots that are alleged to be haunted include Carrigaphooca Castle in Macroom, which literally translates as ‘Castle on the Rock of the Phooca or Ghost’. Built sometime between 1436 and 1451 by Dermot Mór McCarthy, this four storey tower house is rumoured to have several ghosts as well as a vampire attached to the place. A nearby stone circle also adds to the mystique of this location.
Other potential haunted places include Ballinacarriga Castle and Timoleague Abbey and gives those with an interest in ghouls and ghosts plenty of food for thought.