Ghosts, stories and a pint in Kinsale

Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
Trip End Sep 18, 2010

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Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Tuesday, September 7, 2010


We woke up with a big day of driving today as we had to get to Kells Priory, hit Castle Leap and then head on down to Kinsale for our night at Friar's Lodge. I am trying this now from our room at Friars Lodge and unfortunately they only offer internet access in the lobby and until 9pm. Not thrilled about that.  So this will be posted a day later or so.  So we said our goodbyes to Ann Marie and Mark and Conner and we really liked them a lot.  Soon on the road, we found out that Kells is very close to Lawcus and we were there in 15 mins flat!  And it was amazing.  Very much like Jerpoint, but in its natural condition and not enhanced by the Irish Government – meaning that it was very natural and in bad shape.  They had some scaffolding around, but for the most part we had full reign of the grounds and by ourselves. 

On way into the ruins, we were surrounded by sheep and we ran into farmers driving their Toyota Corolla across the grounds beeping their horn to round up the sheep.  There was also tons of poop on the ground that you had to step around which made it challenging.  I got some great shots as the rain started to come down harder and we decided to wrap it up.  We now plugged into the nav unit Roscrea and we would call Sean Ryan when we got closer.  So off we went and eventually made our way into Roscrea – which was very old and nice.  Once there, Ginger and I attempted to call Sean from her cell, but no dice.  So I found a phone booth and called him and he agreed that he would be around.  I asked where the castle was and he said "six miles on 421 and you will see it – there are no signs."  So off we went and hit 421 out of Roscrea and we went 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 miles on 421 with no sign of said castle….finally at mile 15 Ginger asked a homeowner on the side of the road and appears e just passed the turn off point.  Backtracking a few miles, we found the turn off and started to second guess the whole thing again because we did not see squat.  It was also getting late – 1230-m at this point.  Finally se saw it in the distance and had to find the front house as there were no signs.

Well, we turned into a very well appointed mannor that was attached to the 'side' of Leap Castle.  There was PRIVATE RESIDENCE signs everywhere - surely this must be it.  Where was Sean Ryan?  So we parked way down in a very nice car port walked up to the front door of the manor and saw an old man sitting in the chair – not moving and looking at the wall and just staring – and freaked Ginger and I out.  With caution - We knocked with hesitation and an old lady answered with a scowl on her face.  We asked for Sean Ryan and she said we were at the wrong house – "he is next door and a very bad man!"  Ginger apologized and so did I and she was fine – appears that she has been dealing with this for years…people showing up at her door asking to see the castle.  She was upset that Sean refuses to put a sign up and she has had to remove her doorbell because of this as people do not know what house to go to.   She told us to go up the hill and turn right and you will see the front entrance.  And there we were – in front of the most haunted castle in Ireland.

We knocked and an old man who looked like an ex-hippie answered.  He was a bit odd and made Ginger nervous.  But he was very nice and spoke to us all about the history of the grounds and Ireland in general.  Ginger and I were very careful not to push asking him questions about it being haunted as he and his family lived there.  The insides were decorated with a TON of junk and artifacts from around the world and just had a weird vibe about it.  So finally he gave us a tour – and only showed us 3 rooms and all up a very creepy stone staircase.  First was the lower level.  Then the Pastors Room (with a creepy small balcony and painting with a hole punched through it) and then finally the Chapel room – which was the scariest with hay on floor and shadows that just moved on the walls for no reason!  I will let the pictures tell the story.  If you want to know more about this place and ask yourself why in the world would we go here – check out the links below:

At the end, he was nice enough to speak about all the TV shows that have come by to do paranormal investigations and what they found – but he did not speak specifically on the lore or myths surrounding the castle.  During the tour, he mentioned that he played the Tin Whistle and was very good.  He traveled all over the world and plays at a local pub with a band.  Before you knew it, he pulled out his tin whistle from his satchel and played us a song – which I recorded indiscreetly.  In the end, it was a weird tour, but again the hospitality of the locals really shined through.  We said our goodbyes and wished him well and sped off for the next 2.5 hour drive to Kinsale and it was already 230pm.

Our route lead us through Cork, but before we got there – we saw some of the most beautiful green landscapes and blue/dark grey skies.  We tried to capture some of this by camera, and I am not sure it will do it justice.  So the Fiat was cruising at a pretty good little clip – about 140kph (or 80mph) and cars will still passing by me like I was standing still.  All was fine until we hit the outskirts of Cork which came to a standstill.  The lights were very quick to change and really played with my nerves.  We finally made it through Cork and we were on our way.  We only had about 16km to go and half way there on the road into Kinsale – when Lucy (our TomTom voice) said to turn right.  I did – Ginger protested and we were on this VERY small back road and we were very confused.  Turn right.  Turn left.  Turn right after a tree.  Turn right again.  And blammo – we ended up on the backside of Kinsale right at the doorstep of our hotel! 

So we showed up and checked in.  Once again, we skipped lunch and pints as we were too far out of our final destination or I simply did not want to drink up and drive 2 hours.  The good news is that all the pubs are in walking distance to our room.  Our room was ok – I knew it would be a little dated, but the price in Kinsale could not be matched.  We were going to do the ghost tour tonight that met at the Tap Tavern - So first up was to explore for a pint and get an early dinner.  So we had a pint at one of the many traditional pubs – but we also saw one named Dalton’s Bar – which Ginger wanted to go to next and sit at the one table at the front window.  So we went there next and order another pint (a good one at that) and sat and people watched and spoke to the owner and a local.  We soon found out that the place to go for dinner was Fishy Fishy Café (I believe) and was filled with tour groups in their golf attire and we left to go to a takeaway we saw earlier – Dino’s Fish and Chips.  It was delicious and we sat right on the street as the cold winds came in off the bay.  Next up was to go back to the room and change into warmer clothes for the ghost tour.

Needless to say, we napped for 30 mins and ran straight to the Tap Tavern.  We saw the group we were going with on the tour and we met a nice couple from Austin/San Antonio.  Also, in our group was a couple who really defined 'american tourist’.  He wore a Pittsburg Steelers shirt and she laughed at everything and very loudly.  Ginger and I kept our voices down to a minimum is that we did not get lulled into their chat sessions.  Needless to say, this ghost tour rocked our night.  I was just two actors who played it up with humor – so it was not a serious affair here – but good storytelling and great acting.  It was very funny as one guy would hide somewhere in the dark and jump out in costume and act out a part of a story.  Really well done and very Monty Python like.  Plus we got to see the town  of Kinsale which is a very midevil town and Ginger wants to buy property there now.  Calls will be made when we return to the US.  We turned in at 11pm for the night as we need to leave tomorrow for Kenmare and coastal fun!

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Sister Sue on

Beautiful pictures. Kinsale was our favorite stop in Ireland, we actually stayed an extra day just to have a look around. I bought an antique thimble. What an adventure you are having!!

Woody on

I agree with Sister Sue! The pics are great and I can't wait to get to Kinsale myself! It looked exactly what I thought an Irish village should look like. Don't have so much fun you won't come home...xoxoxoxoxoxo

Aunt Peggy on

Living an exciting life through you two! What fun you are having. Question: Who is Conner exactly and how did you hook up with that family?

bart on

i was thinking that you should rename this blog "I drank my way through Ireland, a true Irish tale". just a thought.

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