As an island nation brimming with history and culture, it’s safe to say that Ireland has its fair share of spooky spots, making it a fantastic destination for anyone who loves a good Halloween thrill!
Read on to explore some of the country’s most haunted places that you can easily discover on two wheels. From the four walls of Wicklow Gaol to the endearing complex of Charles Fort in Co. Cork, we’ll take you through eerie sights, nearby cycling routes and things to do so you can get set for the perfect family adventure…if you dare!
Wicklow Gaol, Co. Wicklow
Situated in the heart of Wicklow Town, this historic 18th-century Gaol once saw thousands of prisoners enter its aptly named ‘Gates of Hell’ over a turbulent 200-year period in Irish history. The Gaol has been featured countless times on ghost-hunting programmes, where there have been reports of unexplainable phenomena such as a strange green mist floating around and the cries of children who are not to be seen! Entry tickets start from €9.00 and the onsite café, The Jailer’s Rest is a must-visit.
With the famed Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough both only a stone’s throw away, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to cycling routes which are suitable for the whole family. We’ve also put together a guide on Co. Wicklow’s best cycling spots, so you can plan ahead.
Leap Castle, Co. Offaly
The mediaeval fortress of Leap Castle has a dark and turbulent history filled with tales of murder and intrigue, making this an ideal place to visit this Halloween. With its own supposed malevolent spirit, The Elemental, this famous ghost has captured the imaginations of young and old alike. Inside its four walls, you can explore the castle’s creepy dungeons and listen to chilling stories from the local guides. To book a visit, head to leapcastle.net for the full details on opening hours and prices.
Consider exploring the nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains by bike, known for its tranquil beauty and scenic routes with something for everyone to explore from beginners to advanced cyclists. Plan your trip to the locality by taking a look at our recommendations for a fantastic visit to Slieve Bloom!
Loftus Hall, Co. Wexford
Regarded as Ireland’s most famous haunted house by many, Loftus Hall is an imposing mansion with a rather dark past. Its spooky reputation dates right back to 1766, when a spooky figure with cloven hooves at the end of his legs entered the house, only to disappear into thin air!
Whilst the house itself isn’t open to visitors, cyclists can take the opportunity to explore the surrounding parkland. You’re also only a ten-minute cycle away from the stunning Hook Peninsula, a picturesque area known for its rugged coastline and historic lighthouse.
Ross Castle. Co. Kerry
Nestled on the shores of Lough Leane in Co. Kerry, Ross Castle is a historic 15th-century fortress with its fair share of ghostly tales attached to it. The ‘White Lady’ is regarded as the most famous ghost associated with the castle, with the complex featuring in the Lonely Planet’s list of lesser-known haunted places which are worth a visit!
The castle’s grounds are situated on the edge of the world-famous Killarney National Park, where you’ll find plenty of cycling routes which are sure to bring you back to nature. Outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy kayaking, horse riding and swimming – all of which can be done in abundance here!
Charles Fort, Co. Cork
This colossal star-shaped 17th-century structure is located near Kinsale’s harbour in Co. Cork. The old army barracks had been largely left abandoned after the Irish Free State was established in 1922, until it was designated as a National Monument in the 1970s. People have reported seeing a ghostly figure wearing a wedding dress, who haunts the fort and Kinsale town. As one of Cork’s most-visited tourist attractions, entry tickets start from €3.00 and you can find out more information here.
No matter your cycling experience level, Kinsale has something to offer and it’s a great destination for cycling with its fantastic views out towards the sea. If you’re a fan of cycling along the coastline, why not opt for this Kinsale to the Old Head Cycle route? The trail will bring cyclists to the edge of the Wild Atlantic Way, one of the longest-defined coastal routes in the world, promising spectacular scenery.
Now you’re ready for Halloween, get set for the weeks ahead with our autumn cycling guide, designed to help you enjoy what Ireland has to offer at this time of year!