County Derry Ireland-A Haunting

County Derry Ireland

Today we shall venture across the Atlantic Ocean and into County Derry. County Derry is also known as County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. There are six counties in Northern Ireland, and County Derry is considered to be one of the four counties in Northern Ireland where the majority of the population identifies as Catholic. With Northern Ireland being part of the United Kingdom it is the Republic of Ireland that calls the area County Derry and it is the British Authorities that refer to the area as County Londonderry.

As with many places in Europe County Derry contains numerous locales that are said to be haunted.  Let’s take a virtual visit to some of them.

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County Derry Ireland

What is Haunted in County Derry Ireland?

The photo above is the former Roe Valley Hospital at Limavady County Derry. The building was a workhouse between 1842 and 1932 where on average 10 people died per week.  Certainly, some of the spirits of the departed are still hanging about.

It has been reported that one night a security guard was taking photos of the building and captured the image of a ghost. At the same spot, people have heard the crying of babies and have seen men and women in uniform. In the photo below, that has been confirmed as a ghost image by the Paranormal Society of Ireland, you will see the ghost of a nurse holding a baby.

IRELAND GHOST NURSE! This pic comes from the former Roe Valley Hospital in Northern Ireland. Legend has it a turn-of-the-century nurse got pregnant out of wedlock and then strangled her infant following delivery. Filled with anguish and remorse, the woman then hanged herself in the hospital and haunts the building to this day. Is that her ghost standing near the door?
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The old hospital is still very busy today,  with people working in many different parts of the hospital who have reported strange happenings. Babies have been heard crying by the old Maternity Ward. The security guards found the crying of the phantom babies unnerving. No doubt about that. Ghosts are one thing but ghost babies that are crying would disturb me to no end.  As a parent, I would yearn to comfort them.

In the Nurses Home, which is an outbuilding that the nurses lived in when the hospital was still operating, the guards say they hear different sounds.  The sound of dragging is heard almost nightly according to theghosthuntuk.com. The guards also will hear the loud wails of a man. People have also been nudged out of the way. Too bad the ghosts don’t use their manners and say, “excuse me.” Although, maybe that would make the whole experience even more frightening.

The kitchen has a resident poltergeist that moves items from time to time. As theghosthuntuk.com states, “They have experienced cold spots and heard whispers. But perhaps more strange is that this particular spirit has tried to hold people’s hands.” How romantic? NOT!

Boom Hall

Boom Hall is a once glorious home that was built in 1779 by John Alexander. Boom Hall is located on the banks of the River Foyle. It has passed from family to family and is currently on the edge of collapse.

 

Boom Hall, Co. Derry - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

The area is said to be haunted by the ghost of Captain Browning. According to Catherine Cavendish’s article The Haunting of Boom Hall, Captain Browning died of his wounds received when his ship, the Mountjoy, broke through the wooden boom that was erected as a barrier by Jacobean forces to keep food out of the city in 1689. The ghost of Captain Browning may appear when the weather turns misty; a tall figure dressed in a dark blue tailcoat with gold braiding.

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Pinterest.com uniform similar to Captain Browning’s

Another ghostly apparition is said to be the ghost of a family relative that was sent to live at Boom Hall to separate her from the young man she loved. The young man was a groomsman and her family did not want her involved with him.  The young man, as the story goes, followed her to Boom Hall and would hide in the stables where the young lady would visit him. His presence was eventually discovered and he had to run away. The family then locked the young lady in her bedroom that was located at the top of the house. The young lady pined for her lover and after a week or two a fire broke out in the locked bedroom. Attempts were made to retrieve the young lady but to no avail and upon searching the ashes no trace of her body was found. Yet, after that terrible event, a servant was approached by a spirit in the long corridor at the top of the house and was guided to the stables by the spirit who held her hand. It is reported that the servant found a brooch that had belonged to the girl and when she took it to the mistress of the house the brooch was taken to be a sign that the young lady had somehow escaped the deadly fire. (derrynow.com)

Click here to read about more haunted places.

This story is a bit confusing as it seems to say that the young lady escaped death on the night of the fire, but that she is also the spirit. Whomever the spirit is, she has been sighted on numerous occasions and ghost hunters still like to search for her.

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Beware!

Boom Hall has been fenced off and partially boarded up as it is about to fall to the ground.  The fences and boards have not stopped all ghost hunters though as the fire brigade learned in 2016. They received a call of distress from two young men who had entered Boom Hall to ghost hunt and became trapped.  The rescue took about an hour and a half and just proves that curiosity does not only kill cats but can potentially kill humans too. Safety first people, safety first.

Thanks for stopping by to read our article on County Derry Ireland

Cheers,

The Other Half

 

 

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A Brief History Of Halloween

The name Halloween was shortened from “All Hallows’ Evening”. It is also known as “All Saints Eve” and “AllHalloween” Halloween is celebrated in many countries, mostly, in the western world.  Different countries and cultures celebrate in different ways. Let’s learn about how it is done.

Mexico, Spain, and Latin America

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In the cultures of Spain, Mexico, and Latin America the celebration is not referred to as Halloween but rather it is the Day of the Dead or All Soul’s Day. The population of those countries are predominantly Catholic. During the yearly three-day-long celebration that starts on the evening of October 31 and lasts until November 2 many things need to happen to honour the loved ones and ancestors that have passed away.  The family will build an altar for the dead in their home and decorate it with flowers, candy, drinks, and the favourite food of the deceased. The family will also have a wash basin and towel left out for the deceased to freshen up with before they attend the feast. The way to the home is lit by candles and lanterns.

It is also important to clean, paint, trim the grass, and plant flowers at the graves of the dead family members at the start of the celebration. On November 2nd the family will gather in the graveyard for a picnic and drinks with their dearly departed. I admire this celebration as it looks at death head on and makes it something worth celebrating and less feared. I also appreciate that this celebration makes people remember, speak of, and honour those that have passed away. North Americans could learn something from this culture.

Read more about the History of Halloween through Amazon.

Ireland and North America-A brief history of Halloween

Did you know that Halloween or rather All Saints Eve began in Ireland? News to me. In Ireland, Canada, and the United States Halloween happens on October 31st. It is celebrated in much the same fashion within these countries and is known for costume parties, decorating, and trick-or-treating. The children get dressed in costumes (and depending on the temperature the costume may have a snowsuit underneath it) and go door-to-door asking for candy from their neighbours. Yes, we teach our children to take candy from strangers! Parenting is confusing.

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England

Okay, remember that thing about Catholics that I mentioned earlier? Well, England is not known for having a huge Catholic population. Historically it is known for persecuting them. Thanks to good old King Henry VIII and his desire to divorce his first wife in order to wed and bed Anne Boleyn in the hopes of creating a male heir, England broke away from the Pope and the Catholic Church. This means that although their close (and Catholic) neighbours in Ireland were celebrating All Saints Eve the English had to poo-poo it.

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On November 5, 1606, Guy Fawkes was executed for his attempt to blow up the British Parliament Building. Guy Fawkes was a traitor and the English people lit bonfires and celebrated his death that night. This has become a yearly tradition. All over England on the evening of November 5th bonfires are lit, effigies are burnt, and fireworks and firecrackers go off. It is called Guy Fawkes Day and children will make effigies of a man and carry them around town knocking on doors while asking for a “penny for Guy” which the children keep for themselves. Sounds strange. Well in England there is no better reason needed to start a neighbourhood bonfire and celebrate the death of an English traitor with all your friends.

All over England on the evening of November 5th bonfires are lit, effigies are burnt, and fireworks and firecrackers go off. It is called Guy Fawkes Day and children will make effigies of a man and carry them around town knocking on doors while asking for a “penny for Guy” which the children keep for themselves. Sounds strange. But in England, there is no better reason needed to start a neighbourhood bonfire and celebrate the death of an English traitor with all your friends.

Decorations

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The Halloween decoration of the Jack-o-lantern comes from an old Irish folk tale. It represents a soul denied entry into both Hell and Heaven. It is just plain freaky looking to me.

The folktale goes like this: A man named Jack came across the devil and Jack tricked him into climbing a tree. Jack then cut the sign of the cross into the tree and trapped the devil. Jack made a deal with the devil that the devil would never take his soul if Jack let him go. After a life of sin and drinking, Jack was not allowed into Heaven. Keeping his promise the devil did not allow him into Hell and throws a live coal at him. It was a cold night so Jack put the live coal in a hollowed out turnip to stop it from going out. Since then Jack and his lantern have been looking for a place to rest. Poor Jack, he should have made better choices when he was alive. Like all folk tales, this Jack-O-Lantern story is a cautionary tale.

Halloween Safety

  • Let’s all keep safety in mind on Halloween night:
    -Slow down while driving and keep an eye out for those trick-or-treaters.
    -Consider using face makeup instead of masks for the young ones.
    -Trick or treat in groups.
    -Kids costumes should be the right size to avoid tripping.

Now you have had a brief history of Halloween. We wish you all a Happy Halloween. Have fun and be safe. We would love to know about your best costume ideas. Comment below.

Cheers,

Bill and the Other Half

 

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