Tuesday 6 December 2016

Loftus Hall: Ireland's most haunted house celebrates 666th anniversary

Devil in the detail

Published 10/03/2016 | 02:30

Loftus Hall at Halloween.
Loftus Hall at Halloween.
The photograph taken at Loftus Hall by English visitor Thomas Beavis, showing what is believed to be a ghostly apparition at the right-hand side
The Irish Ghost Hunters Team at Loftus Hall.
The infamous hole in the roof at Loftus Hall, photographed by Pól Ó Conghaile in 2013.
Pictured is Aidan Quigley, proprietor of Loftus Hall and Mrs Bennett. Picture: Patrick Browne

2016 marks an ominous anniversary for Loftus Hall, Co. Wexford - 666 years of heritage on the Hook Peninsula.

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The opening of a visitor centre in June, official birthday celebrations in July and events including an historical house tour and phased walled garden restoration have all been announced for its 666th anniversary programme.

"We didn't have a blank canvas to work with when we purchased Loftus Hall," says its current owner, Aidan Quigley. "It came with over 600 years of history, intrigue and some rather unexplained spectral phenomena."

The mansion is "Ireland's most haunted house", he claims.

A dwelling of some kind has occupied this desolate location on the Hook since 1350, with one story in particular making it a magnet for paranormal enthusiasts.

One a foggy night in 1765, a dark stranger is said to have called to the mansion, joining a game of cards with its then-owners, the Tottenhams.

As the stakes grew higher, cards fell from the table, and the stranger was seen to have a cloven hoof. Unmasked as the devil, he bolted through the roof.

But its horror stories are not all ancient history.

Last year, a group of paranormal investigators claimed to have encountered "major temperature drops" and electro-magnetic field spikes on a visit.

"We go in with our equipment and try to debunk everything before we say it is paranormal," Tina Barcoe, Location Manager and Lead Investigator with IGH, told Independent.ie Travel at the time.

"But things happened at Loftus that we just couldn't debunk."

In 2014, the house made headlines when tourist Thomas Beavis, 21, snapped what appeared to be a ghostly apparition (below) in a window of the Hall.

The photograph taken at Loftus Hall by English visitor Thomas Beavis, showing what is believed to be a ghostly apparition at the right-hand side
The photograph taken at Loftus Hall by English visitor Thomas Beavis, showing what is believed to be a ghostly apparition at the right-hand side

Loftus Hall was acquired by Quigley and his family in 2011. Since then, its Hallween tours and paranormal investigation lockdowns have thrilled visitors, but he is determined to broaden the appeal both of it, and the Hook Peninsula.

“If we, collectively, can offer an experience that is unique, exciting, fresh and appealing, the region is destined to flourish,” he says.

See loftushall.ie and visitwexford.ie for more.

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