Ireland’s fascination with the unknown, the supernatural and what lies beyond has prevailed for centuries.
But some places are more haunted than others—and Kilkenny takes that crown in Ireland, as it has now been named as one of the top 5 most haunted places in all of Europe.
US Travel magazine Travel & Leisure has named the county town in their article ‘Visit the Top 5 Most Haunted Places in Europe, If You Dare’, and it’s easy to see why.
“If you’re on the hunt for some ghostly figures, you'll want to explore Kilkenny, Ireland,” the article reads.
“This Irish city has a storied past, filled with tragic events that allegedly left behind spirits that visitors still witness today. Kilkenny, located about 80 miles from Dublin, was the site of Ireland’s first witch trial.
Another tragedy struck in 1763, when 16 people drowned in the river after a bridge collapsed during a flood. Today, people report seeing creepy figures in the River Nore that rise above the mist in the early morning.”
Pretty creepy alright—and they haven’t even touched on Kilkenny’s iconic Foulksrath Castle in Jenkinstown, once owned by relatives of the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift.
This castle is so haunted that a BBC crew of ghost hunters arrived in 1992 to try and catch a glimpse of the spirits, including that of a female locked forever in one of the towers where she watches people from the window; another ghostly woman who wanders the castle leaving a scent of wildflowers in her wake; and the ghost of a former guard who makes an annual apparition each November, when his footsteps can be heard echoing in the halls.
It sounds almost too creepy even for the most seasoned of ghost hunters—but as it's Ireland, local youth clubs for children and young teenagers would often spend the night there as a Halloween ‘treat’.