The Causeway Coast and Glens is home to many hauntings and spooky tales. From haunted distilleries to Celtic Vampires, check out these 10 supposedly haunted locations to explore on the Causeway Coastal Route (if you dare!)
Ballymoney – The ghost of Bloody Hutchinson
George Hutchinson is commonly remembered for his role in crushing the local United Irishmen during the 1798 Rebellion. It is said that every Friday 13th and on Halloween night, that ‘Bloody’ Hutchinson haunts Ballymoney town’s Main Street, and his grave is the site of alarming amounts of supernatural behaviour. With a large metal ball chained to his ankle, he walks one way down the street before turning back again.
Limavady – The Workhouse
Opened in 1842, the Limavady Union Workhouse is reported to be one of the best preserved buildings of its type in the whole of Ireland. During the famine, a thirty-bed fever hospital was erected. A burial ground was located further north of the hospital.
The site has been subject to a number of reports of ghostly happenings, including the sound of babies crying in the former maternity ward, and the ghostly figure of the Red-Hooded Nurse.
Owned now by Limavady Community Development Initiative, guided tours are made by appointment*, during which visitors can view the Workhouse Gate Lodge where new entrants were received, one of the dormitories and the dining area.
*please note this service may be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
Bushmills – Dunluce Castle
The ruins of the medieval Dunluce Castle is one of the most iconic landmarks of the Causeway Coastal Route. The castle was originally built in 1500 by the McQuillans, who came from Scotland in the 1200s as hired mercenaries, and built the castle around 200 years later. Legend has it that the castle’s kitchens and servant quarters fell into the sea one stormy night in 1639, the cries of the doomed workers as they fell into the sea can still be heard on stormy nights, and several ghost sightings have been reported including a man in a purple cloak and a wandering white lady.
Stranocum – The Grey Lady of the Dark Hedges
Sightings of a ‘grey lady’ have been reported in this well-known Game of Thrones filming location in County Antrim. Locals believe she is the ghost of a maid who previously served at a nearby house, while others believe her spirit has wandered from her resting place at a nearby deserted graveyard. She is said to vanish once she passes the last tree on the famous road, and she has even reportedly been caught on camera by a local photographer in 2015.
Downhill – Mussenden Temple library’s puddle of blood
Located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock sits one of the Causeway Coastal Routes most photographed landmarks – Mussenden Temple. Built in 1785, the temple was designed as a library and built for the niece of the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry – Frideswide Bruce, of whom the Bishop appears to have been extremely fond. It is rumoured that every once in a while, a puddle of fresh blood will appear on the ground of the temple’s interior, and will evaporate just as quickly as it appeared.
Bushmills – The distillery’s Grey Lady
In the small village of Bushmills, settled on the banks of the river you’ll find the oldest working distillery in Ireland – The Old Bushmills Distillery. Operating now for more than 400 years, and attracting over 120,000 visitors on tours each year, the distillery is apparently home to a Grey Lady which has been spotted by employees over the years. We imagine she’s quite a friendly ghost, what with all the free whiskey at her disposal!
Glenullin – Abhartach, the Celtic Vampire
A tomb found in Glenullin near the village of Garvagh is apparently home to an evil tyrant named Abhartach, who was buried in the 5th Century AD. It is said that he feasted on the blood of humans, and a local chieftain had to kill him three times before he finally stopped terrorising the land. Legend has it that, though the chieftain had slain the Abhartach twice before his third successful attempt, when he was buried he would escape from his grave even more bloodthirsty than before. It wasn’t until the chieftain consulted a local druid that instructed him to bury the Abhartach with his head downwards that the supernatural beast was finally defeated. A monument that marks his burial place still remains to this day on land that is now privately owned.
Ballycastle – The Black Nun at Bonamargy Friary
The enchanting Bonamargy Friary near Ballycastle dates back to the year 1500. The cloister, gatehouse, altar and church are well preserved except for the thatch roof. There are many interesting features including the east window, a staircase and a sealed burial vault. It has been said that the friary is haunted by recluse and 17th Century prophet, Julia MacQuillen, also known as The Black Nun. According to legend, Julia was murdered on the steps to the upper floor, and if you walk around the black nun’s grave seven times clockwise, seven times counter-clockwise and then place a hand through the hole you can summon her. We’ll not be trying that one any time soon!
Cushendall – The screaming at Ossian’s Grave
Ossian’s Grave is a Court Tomb, located northwest of Cushendall in County Antrim. It lies on the northeast slope of one of the nine Glens of Antrim. Ossian’s Grave is named after the mythical warrior and poet Ossian, a son of Finn MacCool, which was buried here according to legend. A recent haunting involves a couple who visited the site and heard an almighty scream which lasted several seconds, they reported that their ears rang for hours afterwards.
Limavady – The Highway Man on the Windyhill Road
The Windyhill Road, also known as the Murder Hole Road, connecting Limavady and Coleraine is said to be haunted by the ghost of a highway man named Cushy Glen who murdered his travelling victims after robbing them. It is said his presence is still felt on the road, horses hooves can be heard on the road and some locals refusing to drive it on dark nights for fear of encountering a ghostly presence