The Spookiest Spots for Golfers in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Like neighboring Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland have vast histories that lend themselves to great ghost stories. With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve compiled a few golf-related haunts that may interest you during your golf adventure in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

A Watchful Cemetery at the Old Course at Ballybunion

When you’re teeing off the Old Course at Ballybunion, you may feel a chill in the air. But don’t worry — the nearby cemetery only looks scary; there have been no reports of the dead rising from their graves here. Still, it’s easy to get the cemetery in your head on the par 4 opening hole and lose yourself to the haunting 408 yards ahead of you. Your best bet is to play the course on a sunny day in the summer to avoid any creepy feelings at dusk in autumn, although we can’t guarantee there won’t be a frightening wind in play.

The “Friendly Ghost” at Ballygally Castle

Near to Cairndhu Golf Course on the Antrim coast, Ballygally Castle is now a lovely hotel overlooking the sea. But the history of the place includes a haunting tale of a mother separated from her child, and possibly murdered at the hand of her heartless husband. Lady Isabella Shaw, wife to James Shaw, has reportedly haunted the castle for the past 400 years, after giving birth to a son and being locked in her room in a turret by her husband. Rumor has it that she may have fallen to her death from the turret window while looking for her baby, although some stories maintain that she was thrown from that same window by Lord James. She’s apparently a friendly ghost, and the current proprietors have dedicated “The Ghost Room” to her in a turret in the oldest part of the castle.

Tragedy at Sea at Old Head

The drama of the coastline may scare you a bit in your time playing Old Head, especially when the wind picks up. But there’s another reason to be spooked by the course — the sea has a tragic history that may serve up ghosts, as well. In 1915, the RMS Lusitania was sunk by German U-Boat 20, just off the coast of Old Head. Nearly 1,200 people died in the boat’s sinking, and the use of torpedo warfare turned popular opinion against Germany. Many historians credit the tragedy of the Lusitania with the U.S.’s entering World War I. While attempts have been made to recover the sunken boat, the ill-fated vessel still lies at the bottom of the sea off Kinsale.

Find A Different Kind of Spirit at Old Bushmills Distillery

If ghosts aren’t your thing, Ireland and Northern Ireland offer a completely different kind of spirit for you to encounter. The water of life, or whiskey, is distilled throughout the country, and can give you an otherworldly experience, if that’s what you’re looking for. The Old Bushmills Distillery offers a look inside Northern Ireland’s oldest licensed distillery, along with exclusive tastings of bottles you can only get on-site. With 400 years of history, the location surely has a few ghost stories up its sleeve, but you don’t have to buy into ghost talk to get into the spirits they serve.

No matter what sort of spirit you’re looking for in Ireland and Northern Ireland, we can arrange a custom itinerary to meet both your golfing and cultural experience needs. Get in touch today to find out more.