Leap Castle is a 15th century fortress built on the outskirts of the town of Roscrea. It has the strange reputation of being a castle haunted by many ghosts who have lived in these places, and who have known atrocious deaths… What do you think? Do you dare to venture into this dark castle?
Leap Castle was built in the 15th century by the O’Bannon family, a rich clan who were secondary chiefs on the territory of Offaly (the O’Carrolls being the supreme chiefs of the region).
As early as 1513, the castle repulses a first assault: Gerald FitzGerald, would indeed have tried in vain to seize the fortified enclosure. Faced with failure, the man reattacks 3 years later, and manages to partially destroy the castle.
Nevertheless, the O’Carrolls retook Leap Castle in 1557. However, the clan was torn apart by a fratricidal conflict: two O’Carroll brothers entered a bitter struggle for power. So much so, that one of the brothers ends up murdering the second (a priest), by plunging his sword into the belly of the latter. The latter then dies in front of his family, while he was holding mass in a chapel of the castle.
In 1659, Leap Castle passed into the hands of the Darby family. The Darby family took advantage of the opportunity to enlarge the castle, including the central keep. During this period, countless Irish were imprisoned and then executed in the fortress (it is this sad past that earned the castle the reputation of being haunted).
Unfortunately, in 1922, the castle suffered a major fire, which devastated most of the building.
Some archaeological excavations were subsequently carried out, and an oblivion was discovered, where people were locked up without feeding them. It took more than 3 carts to bring up all the human bones found in the dungeon.
Since 1991, the castle has been privately owned by Sean Ryan, who decided to undertake restoration work. Since then, the castle has been closed to visitors…
Nowadays, the fortress is in poor condition, but the ongoing restorations are making the castle approachable to visitors… You will be able to admire the 15th century architecture of the castle, with its main tower, its courtyard, its remarkably preserved staircases, as well as its keep and its outbuildings.
However, for those who are afraid, paranormal manifestations are said to have been observed in the castle, giving the building its reputation as a haunted castle. Legend has it that people who were imprisoned in the dungeon haunt the building. The most terrifying of these ghosts are said to have appeared in the form of a small grey man, with a rotting face and black holes instead of eyes. His coming would be accompanied by the smell of rotting corpse and sulphur… Some would even call this apparition “It!”
closed to visitors