When I took my first trip to Ireland on a Scotland, England & Ireland Bus Tour, I was unaware of the fact that one of our overnight stays was going to be in the one of the most haunted castles in Ireland: the Ballygally Castle Hotel.
Situated on the Northern Ireland coastline at the top of the Giants Causeway’s Route, this haunted castle in Ballygally was built in the 17th century while under the rule of Lord James Shaw. The 400-year tale paints a picture of Lord Shaw being a determined man, focused on his hier’s future in ruling this estate in County Antrim. But when his wife Lady Isobella gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lord Shaw was fueled with anger and disbelief that his heir wouldn’t rule his pristine castle. In a scheme of revenge, he snatched up the newborn and did away with the girl all while locking Lady Isobella into the top tower of his castle.
Lady Isobella is then said to have fallen to her death from the tower in an anxious panic to escape and find her daughter. Gruesome, right?
Although there’s varying theories in exactly what happened to Lady Isobella in the 17th century, she is said to be the main ghost that haunts the castle today, even keeping her original tower room that is openly titled the “Ghost Room”. The Ghost Room is open to all hotel guests to wander up to, with a few “enter at your own risk” signs while heading up the 400-year old stairs.
Upon entering the room, you can feel the eerie presence that has so ‘haunted’ this hotel for centuries, with photos and messages of ghostly accounts of past hotel visitors. Although they say Lady Isobella is quite harmless and friendly, will the tale presented, I might believe otherwise! But whether you’re a ghost hunter or not, the Ballygally Castle Hotel is a wonderful stay for anyone who loves the coastline.
With a recent refurbishment and additions of marvelous rooms with views of Ballygally Bay, the hotel keeps it’s sacred charm with adding a touch of new ideals. This 54-room castle hotel has a beautiful dining experience with cuisine to match, too! Bacon-wrapped chicken, an ice-cold Heverlee and lovely Irish staff? Being one of the most haunted places to stay in Ireland, the staff and surroundings would never make you think so! The Ballygally Castle Hotel is included on some of our current Ireland Castle Tours, or your tour can be customized to include it if you wish. The Ballygally is a great choice if you’re looking to explore Northern Ireland, being just a stones throw away from the 9 Glens of Antrim, the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrickfergus Castle.