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Top 5 Hauntingly Good Halloween Walks

Posted on October 21, 2015 @ 3:18 PM in Walking

Are you brave enough to take on Northern Ireland's most haunted walks this Halloween?

Springhill, Co. Derry-Londonderry

 0.5 – 1 mile walks

Springhill Halloween

Dating from the time of the Plantation of Ulster, the demesne at Springhill boasts a rich mixed woodland planted by generations of the Lenox-Conyngham family who lived here for over three hundred years.  Once described as ‘the prettiest house in Ulster’ Springhill has a spooky past.

Without doubt Springhill’s eeriest section is the blue-room accessible via tours of the house.  Some say you can feel the temperature drop as you enter the room alluring to the fact you may not be the only ones present! It was here that resident at the time in 1814, Lenox-Conyngham, was recorded as killing himself with a shot to the head.  It is said that the ghost of his wife Olivia can still be seen futilely running to the room to prevent her husband’s death.

Head out into the fresh air where you will find walled gardens and parkland, full of tempting waymarked paths. Look out for the remains of the American GI’s WW2 camp and take a moment to enjoy the view from the tower down through the beautiful avenue of beech trees, where on a clear day you can see the Sperrin Mountains and Slieve Gallion. For those brave enough the National Trust are hosting a ‘Haunted House on the Hill’ event  from Thur 29th- Fri 31st Oct

Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim  

0.5 miles circular

Dunluce Halloween

This short but spectacular walk around Dunluce Castle, dating back to the late 15th or early 16th century has plenty of ghostly history sure to get you into the spooky mood.  Dramatically located on the edge of a basalt outcropping and one of the most identified landmarks on the Causeway coastline the roofless ruins are breath-taking especially at dusk and provide spectacular views of the coast. 

According to legend in the severe winter of 1639, during a banquet, the castle's kitchens collapsed and fell into the sea taking with them most of the servants. It is said that the ghostly screams of the kitchen servants can still be heard on stormy nights as they forever fall to their doom.  However this wasn’t the only tragedy to have taken place at the site.  Maeve Roe, the only daughter of Lord McQuillan is also said to have met her death in the castle after tripping on the hem of her wedding dress and falling out the window as she tried to elope with the man her dad refused her to marry. It is said on blustery days visitors can hear her calling for her absent lover. 

If you haven’t been scared off, you can continue your walk along the Causeway Coast Way

Lough Shannagh, Mournes, Co. Down

7 miles circular

Lough Shannagh Halloween

A great walk for those looking to build in distance without too many ascents this mountain ramble follows the 'Banns Road' and circles Lough Shannagh, the largest natural body of water in the Mourne Mountains reaching a high point of 587m at Carn Mountain.

The Lough is also known as the ‘Lough of the Fox’ after a supposed tragedy occurred many years ago…There was once a great hunter called Sheelagh, the daughter of one of the Clan Chiefs. On a hunt in the area she broke away from the rest of the hunt and chased the fox into the high Mournes. The mist closed in and the fox ran straight into the lough where she followed only to see the fox disappear. She tried to find a way out of the lough, only to get deeper and deeper in until she died, with her horse, sinking to the bottom. The rest of the hunt were said to have searched in the mist for many days but never found her. Apparently, when the mist closes in, the woman can still be seen haunting the lough; on her horse.

Crom Estate, Co. Fermanagh

4.2 miles circular

Crom Estate Halloween

With a whole host of old buildings and native woodland providing a haven for all eight species of bat found in Northern Ireland, make sure you don’t miss out on visiting this stunning estate during October before it closes for the winter at the end of the month.  Take this 4.2 mile circular walk and get into the spooky spirit on your very own bat hunt within the 2,000 acre demesne. 

The route will take you through the parkland towards the Old Castle; built in the early 17th century it survived two sieges before being destroyed by fire in 1764.  Despite this the ruins still remain as a stunning spectacle today.  You’ll also encounter Crom’s famous Yew Trees – an impressive conjoined pair of male and female English yew with a combined circumference of 115m, a walled garden and woodlands featuring a rich haven of wildlife as well as the estate's summer house, old sawmill and turf house.

Donaghadee Town Trail, Co. Down

1.5 miles circular

Donagahdee Halloween

This short circular walk uncovers the fascinating history of the popular coastal town of Donaghadee, once the main shipping port between Ireland and Scotland. It also passes Grace Neill’s pub, which claims to be the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to 1611, where many believe the ghost of Grace herself still resides – apt then for a Halloween Wander!

The first landmark you will see on this walk is the Donaghadee Lighthouse, constructed in 1836 it was originally lit by 45,000 candles. Moving into the old quarter of Donaghadee, the street names are a nostalgic reminder of the industries which once thrived here for example Saltworks Street, Gas Works Street and Railway Street.  The walk also passes the Moat. Although it looks like an ancient castle, the Moat was actually built for storing gunpowder while the new harbour was being constructed.

Happy Halloween!

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

1 comment has been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Patrick Largey on October 27, 2015 @ 2:19 PM

Crom looks good.

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