Huntington Castle - The Wailing Wife and the Phantom Bishop
Huntington Castle stands in Clonegal, County Carlow, Ireland. During his conquest of Ireland Cromwell captured the castle in 1650.
Back in the 13th century there had been a Franciscan monastery on the site. The Jacobean castle built in 1625 by Sir Laurence Esmonde replaced an earlier stronghold on the site of the monastery.
|Huntington Castle - 2008|
Huntington is a site that abounds with ghosts. The original monks planted a yew tree walk which survives to this day. It is there that you might just come across their ghostly forms.
The marriage of the Protestant Sir Laurence and his Catholic wife, Ailish had its problems. It’s said that one night Ailish took her baby son and stole away to her Connaught family. Sir Laurence promptly took a new wife. Ailish’s wraithlike spirit sometimes stands in the garden combing her hair and wailing in anguish at the unfairness of it all.
The tale is also told of the ghosts of Barbara St Lege and her maidservant, Honor Byrne. They wander the corridors, keys jangling and Honor polishing door handles with her hair.
Should you hear a knock on the castle door it may turn out to be a spectral soldier from Cromwell’s time. Sent to gather information from the enemy his comrades did not recognise him when he returned, still in disguise. His ghostly face may be seen at the grille through which he was shot.
The Bishop of Limerick died at the castle in 1770. Occupants of the Four Poster Room in the bedroom wing have claimed to see his ghost standing at the foot of their bed. From time to time his friendly face is said to replace that of a Spanish flower girl in the portrait by Murillo above the fireplace.
At ground level stone steps lead down to the space which in 1640 Cromwell’s men used as a dungeon. In modern times (1976) Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, his wife and sister converted the cellars into the head-quarters of the Fellowship of Isis which now has a worldwide membership.
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