I am not a fan of Hallowe’en – the most excited I get is when I go to the Monster Mash in Titanic Quarter, Belfast for the fireworks. Saying that, it is always fun to get a little creeped out. When browsing the internet earlier, I came across an infographic by Blue Chip Holidays listing the most ‘spooktacular’ places to visit in the UK. I was disappointed to see that Northern Ireland had been bypassed completely. This got me thinking, and I came up with a list of spooky places in my home country.
Crumlin Road Gaol
This summer, I went on a tour of the gaol in Belfast. It was during the day, but the whole building had a very creepy feeling around it. I felt this most as we were shown the final hours of each prisoner executed there. We were led from the ‘condemned man’s cell’ through a revolving door to the execution room. After seeing how the process happened, the tour went to where prisoners were buried on unconsecrated ground. A very creepy experience and I do not think I would want to go on one of the night tours!
The Dark Hedges
I have a confession. I have not been to ‘The Dark Hedges’, outside Ballymoney. The trees were planted in the 18th century, but I did not know of them until they appeared on Game of Thrones (Arya was on a cart leaving Kings Landing using the Kingsroad). I may not have been to see this attraction, but I always seem to find pictures of them online. The night ones are especially spooky; maybe it is the Game of Thrones link – it is not the happiest of television shows….
The caves of the north coast of Northern Ireland are great places to explore during the day. They are quiet as bus tours do not access these areas easily. When it is dark, the Cushendun caves are spooky. These caves are where Melisandre gave birth to a shadow baby (yes, another Game of Thrones reference). I will not be queuing up for a night visit of these caves….
The ghost train at Barrys
Barrys in Portrush can be a terrifying place in itself with all the children running around manically and all the professional ‘2p machine’ players glaring at you if you step near ‘their’ machine. The ghost train adds to the spookiness. It has scared many children and adults alike in its long time of operation. You really don’t know if the air being blown around your neck is a machine or from someone who got lost in the ride many years ago. It really is that frightening.
I saved the best for last. If you have never lived in Fermanagh or south Tyrone, it is highly likely you have heard of this place. The Cooneen house is in the middle of nowhere and the story of the house differs depending on who you speak to. I am not fully aware of the stories (ok, I forget), but it is a place to fear. I went to the house many times with friends and have heard and seen many spooky things there which usually leads to the group sprinting through the dense forest Blair Witch style to get back to the car. On a side note, once we would get back to the car, we would phone the homes of friends who “couldn’t make it”. They were usually unavailable. Coincidence? Whatever it was, the ‘Cooneen ghost house’ is the creepiest place in Northern Ireland in my opinion.
Where is the creepiest place you have been?