Leap Castle, Co. Offaly

6th May 2011
Pól Ó Conghaile

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”.


Sean Ryan, Leap Castle, Co. Offaly











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.”