Leap Castle is less than hour's drive from Limerick, so speak to the staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick to get directions.
About Leap CastleEvidence suggests that the site of Leap Castle has been occupied since at least the Iron Age, and possibly even earlier. The castle's main keep is generally thought to have been built sometime in the mid-13th century by the O'Bannon clan, an offshoot of the mighty Clan O'Carroll that ruled over the area.
The castle was attacked, lost and regained several times throughout the 16th century before becoming the site of fierce and bloody family squabbles, as various O'Carrolls battled for the leadership of the clan. One of the castle's many ghosts may originate in this period, when one O'Carroll brother, who was a priest, was slain by another brother while saying mass in the chapel. It is said that this room (now referred to as the Bloody Chapel) is haunted by his spirit. Other spirits may be enemies of the O'Carrolls who were thrown into the oubliette (a deep, narrow prison cellar) to be forgotten.
Leap Castle passed through marriage to the Darby family in 1659, who added extensions to the castle at great cost. In 1922, the castle was blown up during the Irish Civil War, and remained in a ruined state until it was purchased and partially restored by the Australian historian Peter Bartlett in 1974. This restoration work is ongoing under the current owner.
Leap Castle has been featured on television programs such as Living TV's Most Haunted and the American Syfy Network's Ghost Hunters International, and its spooks are said to include an old man, the aforementioned priest, mysterious lights in the Bloody Chapel, a Red Lady, two little girls, and a primitive, malignant entity known as an elemental.