Leap Castle

Leap Castle

Leap Castle is located in the Offaly County, about 4 miles north of the town of Roscrea on the R421 road. Leap Castle was constructed in 1250 by O’Bannon family under rule of O’Carroll clan and originally was called “Leim ui Bhanain” or “Leap of the O’Bannons”.


Location: 4 miles north of Roscrea on the R421, County Offaly

Phone: (0509) 31115

Hours: 10am - 5pm


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Ghostlyactivity in Leap Castle

Without a doubt Leap Castle is most famous for its paranormal activity. In fact it holds unofficial title of the most haunted castle in all of Ireland. It is not surprising if you know its bloody and violent history. Many people were imprisoned here and found death here. In Bloody Chapel a man killed his own brother for unknown reason during the mass. Not far from this crime scene an oubliette (from French “to forget”) was found that looked like a deep hole with spikes on the bottom and a trap door to close it. It took three cartload to remove all human remains. Amazingly workers found a 1840’s pocket watch on the bottom indicating an unknown murder. It is not surprising that this place has numerous apparitions through its history. Witnesses claim that the most horrifying ghost is that of a small hunched creature that leaves stench. The ghost is referred to simply as “It” or “Elemental” apparently due to smell that sometimes described by witnesses as a smell of sulphur.


Leap Castle 


Leap Castle is called Ireland’s “creepiest castle”.

O’Carrolls often invited their enemies to dinner at the castle on the pretext of reconciliation, and then killed them right at the table or in bed after a feast. In the same way, dozens of O’Neill and McMahon clan mercenaries were killed, before helping O’Carrolls in internecine wars and receiving death instead of paying. Under the dining room was a dungeon (“kill”), into which unsuspecting guests fell through a secret door in the corner of the room. The dungeon bottom was dotted with sharp stakes, on which the victims fell. If someone missed, the O'Carrolls left him to die among the rotting corpses ...

From 1667 to 1922, the castle belonged to the Darby family. The founder of the clan Jonathan received the rights to the castle and surrounding land as a fee for military service in Cromwell’s army, and he also married the heiress of the O’ Carroll clan. In 1922, Darby, as representatives of the English nobility, was expelled by republican rebels from the country, and the castle itself was looted and burned.

According to some reports, when the castle was restored after the fire in the 1920s, the workers found a huge amount of bones to “remove” - it took three carts to clear the dungeon. In total, the remains of 150 people were discovered. A pocket watch made in 1840 was also found among the bones, which suggested the use of ublet even in the 19th century.

Locals and charlatans who visited the castle claim that it is inhabited by many ghosts. The most terrible spirit is Elemental ("elemental phenomenon") or "It." Eyewitnesses describe him as a bent, ready-to-jump beast the size of a sheep. Before this spirit appears, the air is filled with the smell of decaying corpses and sulfur ... They also say that every night in the "bloody chapel" a mysterious light comes on.

At the end of the 19th century, Jonathan and Mildred Darby lived in the castle. Mildred Darby was very interested in the history of the castle. She was especially interested in ghost stories and the curse of the castle. She began to study occultism and even began to conduct magical rituals in the castle of the dungeon.

Now Leap Castle is privately owned by Sean Ryan. The owners are engaged in its restoration and sometimes let tourists into the castle.