Leap Castle, Co. Offaly
“There are spirits here, but we don’t feel threatened by them,” says Sean Ryan, owner of Leap Castle – crumbling seat of the O’Carroll Clan and a 12th-century building widely held to be the most haunted in Ireland. “There’s no nastiness.”
Ryan, wearing a tweed cap and long, grey-white beard, offers a warm welcome before handing over a flashlight and encouraging me to wander up a spiral staircase while he makes dinner for his wife and daughter.
I oblige, picking through cobweb-cluttered nooks, massive fireplaces and a straw-covered chapel untouched “since it was burnt in 1922”.
Ghosthunters filmed here recently (check their findings on YouTube), and there’s a constant procession of paranormal and spook tours, I’m told.
“Once they pay, it’s fine,” Ryan says – though visitors should call in advance. “I could be in the hardware store.”
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