Kilkenny Cathedral
Kilkenny Cathedral

The Most Haunted Place in Ireland

Where is the most haunted place in Ireland?

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According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, Kilkenny is the most haunted and is, in fact, number one on the publication's most haunted places in Europe.
Kilkenny Castle, once the home of the Butler dynasty. Photo: John Paul Verkamp,

In its list of the “Top 5 Most Haunted Places in Europe, published in 2019, the popular travel magazine had this to say:

“If you’re on the hunt for some ghostly figures, you'll want to explore Kilkenny, Ireland. This Irish city has a storied past, filled with tragic events that allegedly left behind spirits that visitors still witness today.

Kilkenny, located about 80 miles from Dublin, was the site of Ireland’s first witch trial. Another tragedy struck in 1763 when 16 people drowned in the river after a bridge collapsed during a flood. Today, people report seeing creepy figures in the River Nore that rise above the mist in the early morning.”

If you want to take a ghost tour of Kilkenny, check out Kilkenny Ghost Tours.

History of Kilkenny

Kilkenny is the county town of Kilkenny, Ireland's 16th-largest county.

Before it was known as one of Ireland's most important inland medieval cities, it was first a monastic settlement founded by St. Canice.
The impressive St. Canice's Cathedral and the nearby round tower, which can be climbed to the top. Photo: Andreas F. Borchert, CC BY-SA 4.0,

This early monastic site was replaced by the impressive St. Canice's Cathedral (also known as Kilkenny Cathedral), which started out in the 13th century as a Catholic church.

The cathedral was not always in the hands of the Anglican faith.

Following the English Reformation in the 16th century, the reformed church in Ireland was established and became the state church in all of Ireland, taking possession of most church property, including this one.

Today, the nearly Gothic-style building is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland and is in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin.

Take a Walking Tour of Kilkenny

the inside of a church the most haunted place in Ireland
The interior of St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny. Photo: Failte Ireland.

It is Ireland's second-longest cathedral after St. Patrick's Cathedral (the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland) in Dublin.

The only reminder of the previous monastic settlement is the round tower that is located beside the cathedral.

During the Middle Ages, Kilkenny was the unofficial capital of Ireland, having its own Anglo-Norman parliament.

Oliver Cromwell's takeover of the city in 1650 and the subsequent surrender of the Ormond family, who lived in Kilkenny Castle, ended the city's political power and influence in Ireland.
The exterior of Kyteler's Inn, Kilkenny. Photo courtesy of Kyteler's Inn Facebook.

The Kilkenny Witch Trials, which involved local woman Alice Kyteler, is a fascinating story of intrigue that you can read about on the Kytler's Inn website.

The city's narrow lanes and historic buildings are a huge draw for tourists visiting the southeastern part of Ireland.

a building with arches the most haunted place in Ireland
The Rothe House on Kilkenny's Medieval Mile. Kilkenny is the most haunted place in Ireland. Photo: Failte Ireland.

Some of its popular attractions include Kilkenny Castle, the Medieval Mile Museum, St. Canice's Cathedral, the Rothe House & Garden, and the Black Abbey.

In 2016, four female skeletons, between the ages of 8 and 25, were found a mere foot underneath a disused parking lot in the city.

Archaeologists believed they were among the first Anglo-Normans to move to Kilkenny, somewhere between 1250 and 1350.

skeletons on display the most haunted place in Ireland
The skeletal remains found at St. Mary's Church in Kilkenny in 2016, now housed at the Medieval Mile Museum. Photo:

One of the skeletons, a teenage girl, lived a life of hardship, researchers believed.

Her spine was damaged from lifting heavy weights and one of her legs appeared to be shorter than the other. Researchers believed she may have walked with a limp.

The skeletal remains are now housed at the Medieval Mile Museum in the city.

Who knows what other spirits torment this beautiful city, the most haunted place in Ireland?

Read about Kilkenny's Ballybur Castle, an Ireland on a Budget Tourism Ambassador

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