Tales of ghosts and haunting from the south east of Ireland.
Noel O'Rourke, Promotions Officer for South East Tourism believes that supernatural myths and stories in Ireland have faded somewhat since the introduction of electricity. Locals recall a few of the remaining stories that haunt areas of the south east of Ireland.
Historian Joseph O’Carroll has a tale of witchcraft at Kytelers Inn in Kilkenny. Dame Alice Kyteler, born in the mid to late thirteenth century, gained notoriety for having four husbands each bringing her considerable wealth. Her first husband was William Outlaw, was the wealthiest man in Kilkenny. She subsequently married Adam Blund of Callan, Richard de Valle and John Poer. It is alleged that Dame Alice poisoned all four husbands.
The children of Alice Kyteler worried about the "goings-on of their mother" reported her to the Bishop of Ossory Dr Richard de Ledrede. Seeking to uphold the laws of the church and morality, an ecclesiastic court was established and Dame Alice was tried for witchcraft, along with her Lady in Waiting Petronilla de Meath. The case went against her. In the course of evidence, it was stated that Dame Alice sacrificed living animals to a demon named Robin, who it was alleged lived at Kytelers House. Petronilla was burnt at the stake and prior to her death admitted that they had conferred with the demons and that she and Alice were complicit in the crimes they were accused of. Dame Alice escaped to England and changed her name.
Noel O’Rourke laments the loss of such haunting storytelling and explains that the introduction of electricity in Ireland shed light on much of the gloom.
The gloom was conducive to ghost stories.
Longfield House in County Tipperary was home to Charles Bianconi in the mid to late nineteenth century. Bianconi was known as the originator of public transport in Ireland and had a close relationship with Daniel O’Connell. Bianconi died at Longfield House in 1875 and since that time the house has had a reputation for ghosts and hauntings.
Krista Byrne says that immediately following Bianconi’s death, the stable doors flew open and the horses bolted and the dogs started barking. At the same time, a carriage was heard coming up at the avenue which was a rather unusual occurrence at four o’clock in the morning. It is now said that a carriage comes up the avenue every year at four o’clock in the morning on 27 September.
Horetown House, a seventeenth-century mansion in County Wexford, was the focal point of the last battle of the 1798 rebellion. Vera Young recalls the ghostly stories associated with the final battle. A 12-year-old girl, along with her mother and brother, hid in a field of wheat to escape the battle. Fifty years to the day following the final battle, on 20 June, the same girl who was now a grown woman, was travelling along the same road in a donkey and cart with her eight-year-old grandson. The story goes that she was carrying a large crucifix. The weather turned to rain and thunder and the donkey appeared to hear some supernatural sounds and bolted. They found themselves in the middle of the battle that had occurred 50 years earlier.
They could hear the horses thundering all around them, the clash of pipes, and then the sounds of the wounded and the dying. The old lady held up the crucifix and tried to shield the little boy with her cloak. The ghostly battle sounded and rolled all around them.
Vera Young says that the road still has a very eerie reputation in the area.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 July 1976. The reporter is Conor McAnally.