Leap Castle Ireland’s most haunted castle is just 6 miles from Kinnitty in Offaly on the R421. The Castle was built by the O’Carrols Chieftains of Ely in 1250 AD on the most strategic passthrough the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the province of Munster known as Lein Ui Bheannain
Throughout its 800 year history Leap Castle has witnessed many gruesome and horrific events. One of the most famous occurred in what’s know as the Bloody Chapel. When the chief of the O’Carroll clan died in1532 and left no successor, a dispute arose between his two sons, Thaddeus who was a priest and his brother Teighe, over who would rule. It is reputed that in the midst of celebrating mass Thaddeus was slaughtered by Teighe in what is now known as “The Bloody Chapel”.
In 1599, another deadly deed occurred at Leap Castle. Charles O’Carroll, the last chieftain at Leap, was at war with the Earl of Tyrone and hired the MacMahon clan, from Monaghan as mercenaries. After they had fought for him, O’Carroll held a feast for his mercenaries and plied them with wine and then had them murdered in their sleep.
Later in the 19th Century, when workmen were renovating the castle they uncovered a hidden room behind the altar, with a trap door, underneath which there was a spiked oubliette. Unsuspecting victims would fall through the door to their deaths on the spikes below, those that survived were left to rot and starve to death. When the workmen found the room, they recovered three cartloads of bones. Perhaps these were the bones of the McMahon clan.
Sean Ryan, musician, storyteller and owner of Leap Castle welcomes guests to Leap Castle by appointment. He can be reached on +353 86 8690547.