Everyone knows I love a good ghost story, and of course a good hike, so what could be better than putting these two things together. I’ve created a list of 4 hikes around Ireland with a supernatural twist for you to check out at Halloween.
Hellfire Club Forest Loop, Dublin
Start Point: Hellfire Club Car Park
Route Type: Looped
Parking: Yes (April to October 7am-9pm/ November to March 7am-5pm)
Approx. time: 1 hour 15 min
Eat: Timbertrove Cafe
This is a well-marked trail, follow the green waymarks to the summit of Montpellier hill and the ruins of the Hellfire Club. It can be a busy spot at the weekends, and is great for families.
The Hellfire club has always been associated with the supernatural and the satanic. It was built in 1725 by William’ Speaker’ Conolly on the site of an ancient cairn. It is said that Conolly ordered the destruction of the cairn, using one of the ancient standing stones over the fireplace of his lodge. Not long after construction, the roof was blown off in a storm, and the stories of angry spirits of the underworld seeking revenge on Conolly and his lodge began.
The lodge later became a meeting place for the Irish Hellfire Club, which had associations with the occult, and black magic, as well as secrecy. With many associating the club and its’ members with Devil worship. In fact, it is said that a place was set at each meeting for the Devil. The members were also said to hold black masses with animal and human sacrifice. In one Hellfire club story, a stranger joined the club, and was playing cards, another player dropped a card on the floor and when he bent down to pick it up, saw that the stranger had hoofs instead of feet – so the Devil himself did appear!
Dunlough Castle Trail, Three Castle Head, Cork
Start Point: Dunlough Castle Car Park
Route Type: Out and Back
Parking: Yes (€3 donation)
Approx. time: 50 minutes
The route to Dunlough Castle is straightforward from the carpark, with some signage to guide you. This is a private sheep farm, so no dogs allowed. This walk is closed from January to April.
There a lot of dark tales associated with Dunlough Castle and Three Castle Head. It is said that the O’Donohue’s, the last family to live there, all died tragically, by suicide or murder, and that every day a drop of blood falls into the lake from the smallest of the towers.
This part of West Cork is also associated with stories of the White Lady of the Lake. It is said that anyone who sees her will die soon after.
Glendalough Spinc and Glenealo Valley Trail “the white route”, Wicklow
Start Point: Glendalough Upper Lake car park
Route Type: Looped
Parking: Yes (€4 cash)
Approx. time: 3hrs
Eat: The Wicklow Heather
Try opting for a midweek hike here as it gets very busy at weekends. The trail is looped, and I recommend going clockwise to get the steep climb done while feeling fresh and gaining the early reward of the viewing platforms. The trail has recently been done up so it’s well signposted
Glendalough is said to be haunted by the ghost of Kathleen, the women in red. Kathleen is said to have been infatuated with St. Kevin. Following him to his cave, St Kevin’s bed, high up on the side of Lugduff mountain. Kevin, not wanting to be disturbed from his monastic life, pushed Kathleen over the edge of the mountain where she fell into the lake below and drowned. There have been numerous sightings of Kathleen’s Ghost over the years in Glendalough, with many people reporting seeing a lady in red amongst the monastery ruins. Lots of tourists have also spotted a mysterious woman in their holiday photographs!
Moore Hall Forest Walk, Mayo
Start Point: Moore Hall car park
Route Type: Looped
Approx. time: 1hr
Eat: Cafe Rua, Castlebar.
Moore Hall was built in the 1790s by George Moore, a wealthy merchant. According to local legend, the hill on which Moore Hall was built was cursed by an ancient Druid in 400AD, and the many tragedies that befell the Moore family over the generations did nothing to dispel this belief. The ruins of Moore Hall have a long history of reports of paranormal activity. People have reported hearing children laughing and singing, as well as doors slamming. As if that isn’t scary enough, there have been reports of people getting trapped in the ruins, unable to find their way out, as if their senses have been disturbed.