Be Our Guest 59 Ireland’s past is like an overflowing cauldron of stories of Viking invasion, medieval battles, Norman takeovers and of course bloody rebellion.While these recognised points in history are key in what makes Ireland’s past so interesting, there are many other tales which may be more difficult to verify but are by no means less intriguing. Ireland has an abundance of creepy ghost stories passed down from generation to generation. The West is as good a place as any to explore some of the country’s spookier tales. An Chéibh Bheag on Achill Island, Co. Mayo SEAFIELD HOUSE, CO SLIGO These ruins are now a mass of wild overgrown ivy and trees which just add to its unnerving feeling. Built by archaeologist William Phibbs in 1798, he uncovered artefacts while in Syria and Egypt to decorate the interior. Once they arrived to the house the mood changed with complaints of noises and strange figures soon evolving into furniture moving by itself. It is said that these artefacts brought the presences of a poltergeist with them which eventually led to the house being abandoned despite the efforts of some Jesuit priests performing daily exorcisms. AUGHRIM BATTLEFIELD, CO GALWAY In the late 17th Century this was the scene of a vicious battle betweenWilliam of Orange and James II. The battle claimed the lives of over 7,000 soldiers with bodies remaining on the site for over a year. Stories of confused looking soldiers rambling the area have been told along with a reported ghost dog sitting in the exact spot his owner died and howling for his fallen master. CLIFDEN CASTLE, CO GALWAY At 200 years old this is a relatively young castle. It was said to be used as shelter by those affected by the Great Famine where many died from starvation and legend implies their ghosts still roam the building looking for food. LEAMANEH CASTLE, CO CLARE As eerie as it is magnificent, this mansion was home to the O’Brien clan and in particular Red Mary O’Brien. She was believed to be so hot tempered she would hang or torture servants who did not meet her meticulous standards. The O’Briens also rebelled against the Cromwellian rule which led to further bloodshed at the location. But many say it is the ghost of Red Mary that still roams the mansion remains today.