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I’m daydreaming of my post-COVID travel plans. One excursion that looks totally enticing is Mike Ricksecker’s Ancient Mysteries of Ireland trip next July.

Scheduled to begin July 1, 2021, this 9-day/8-night adventure offers a variety of mystical and haunted locations in Ireland. In true Irish fashion, there are a lot of castles on the itinerary.

The first stop is Blarney Castle, where one can kiss the Blarney Stone, a ritual where a person lays on her back, leans down with the assistance of castle docents to kiss the stone upside down. Back 20 years ago, my mother did it. I declined. The act supposedly confers upon the person the “gift of gab.” The person was to obtain the ability to speak eloquently. However, the “gab” implies the ability to speak unnecessarily—not really a trait I’m seeking.

One stop that does hold my interest is Desmond Castle (Kinsale) where in 1747 a fire broke out killing 54 prisoners, most who were of French descent. The tower house structure is known locally as the “French Prison.” The building was donated to the town of Kinsale in 1791 and has served as a prison and poor house. There are several ghost stories attached to the building.

The oubliette discovered in the “Bloody Chapel” in Leap Castle.

Probably the most intriguing castle on the tour is Leap Castle (believed to be built circa 1250 CE, though some sources date it at 1500s). The striking feature of this castle is the discovery of the oubliette, an underground dungeon with wooden spikes. During a period of renovations in the “Bloody Chapel,” workers located human skeletal remains in the chamber. A watch dating from the mid-1800s shows that the act of impaling people was used quite recently. Tourists report two tales of hauntings: The Red Lady and ghost children Charlotte and Emily.

The itinerary includes several favorite tour destinations like the Jameson Distillery Midleton; Spike Island Prison, once the largest prison in Ireland dubbed “Ireland’s Alcatraz”; and “Kindred Spirits” a stainless-steel monument honoring the Choctaw Nation (U.S. Native American Indian tribe). Book your tour by following the links below. This tour combines history with interesting locations that would capture any paranormal investigator’s imagination.

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