Will There Be Ghosts?
AGAIN, trying to play catch-up after being gone most of two weeks in Ireland. I went with my wife Wendy, sister Sue and her husband Jeff.
Now Ireland's a country where you can relax. It just seems like the pace is slower there for some reason. That’s great, though we Americans are used to somewhat quicker service at restaurants. Just have to follow that axiom: when in Ireland, do like the Irish. Guess that means eat and drink slower.
So I had my sister all nervous about staying in a haunted castle. I actually noticed this castle originally when planning another vacation several years ago, but the only way you could get to it was to drive. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from Dublin. But since we, er, my brother-in-law was driving this trip, I thought . . . go for it!
It was our first day in our rented car and we navigated northwest to county Meath, where there are more than a few castles and ruins. My brother-in-law Jeff had his GPS set and we were on our way. I don’t do GPS. Compass, the sun and a decent map are my wayfinding aids. And the GPS took us up some farmer’s driveway before announcing, “Arrive at your destination.”
Uh, no. This isn’t the castle, GPS.
Luckily, the GPS allowed us to backtrack to a town where we followed the more traditional navigation method of map and detailed directions. As we pulled into a quite narrow country road—they have a lot of those in Ireland—another car followed behind us. Turned out they were also castle guests who had been lost.
As our party gathered around a dining room table at the castle, my sister asked, “So what’s the history of this place?” As if on cue, a door to the outside opened by itself. Sure it was probably the wind, but I never knew the wind to have such incredibly spooky timing.
My sister Sue had resolved not to eat or anything after 6 p.m. so she wouldn’t have to make a middle-of-the-night bathroom trip, especially since her bathroom was located down a dark hall in the castle. But our dinner was served late, and as Sue was enjoying seconds on some wine offered with dinner, my wife reminded her of her promise of a post 6 p.m. fast. My sister’s draw dropped; she’d obviously forgotten.
I had planned to roam the castle (roam is not really the right word since this was a small castle) at night to take some pictures in hopes of conjuring up a few ghosts but the bed-and-breakfast crew worked late into the night cleaning up from dinner and preparing breakfast for the next morning. When I did venture out from our bedroom, I discovered the owner’s daughter watching the movie Bewitched in the main room. Not until later did I ponder the irony of her viewing choice.
So I fell asleep, though I did awaken during the middle of the night. I discovered something about sleeping in castles. They’re incredibly quiet. Our old wood-frame house creaks and groans so often that you’d swear the place was alive. But I’m used to that. The castle with its stone foundation and walls hardly produces any noise. And any noise you DO hear, a dripping faucet for example, is amplified ten-fold. It provides a very unsettling atmosphere.
And I did near shuffling noises in the hall outside our bedroom. That made it a little too spooky for a midnight stroll about the parapets.
Besides, I certainly would have passed this fellow who was scary enough in the light.
Actually, turns out nobody experienced anything paranormal during the night. My brother-in-law made a trip to the restroom, so I’m sure that’s who I heard shuffling to the bathroom down the hall. Jeff actually said he heard something crawling on the roof overhead. I figure that was the daughter I heard watching Bewitched on TV. She probably had broom in hand, ready to make a couple passes over the countryside before turning in.
So the next morning, we packed up and headed out for more Ireland adventures. Below is a selfie I took at the Rock of Cashel. With a hat that was purchased for me so I'd fit in with the locals. Now THAT'S scary.