Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland


Ballygally Castle sits about a half hour north of Belfast, Ireland on the coast at Ballygally Bay on the Irish Sea. It is the only 17th century still used as a residence in Northern Ireland and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Ulster.

The castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw of Scotland. He came to the area and rented the land from the Earl of Antrim for 24 pounds a year. The castle was built with 5 ft. thick walls and loopholes for muskets.

The Shaw family owned the castle until 1799 when it came into the hands of William Shaw. He sold the castle and estate for 15,400 pounds. During the 1950’s, the castle was bought by Cyril Lord, the carpet tycoon. He extended and renovated the actual castle. The Hastings Hotel Group is now the owner of Ballygally Castle.bal2

Ballygally is home to a number of spirits. One of the most famous is the wife of James Shaw, Lady Isabella Brisbane Shaw. The story goes that James locked his wife in her rooms in the castle and was starving her. She fell to her death from her bedroom window. Since her death, she has roamed the halls of the castle knocking on doors and then disappearing.

Another spirit is that of Madame Nixon, who lived in the castle in the 19th century. This lady is known by the sound of her silk dress walking around the castle.

In December of 2003, the Ballygally manager, Olga Henry, had set up the Dungeon Room in the tower for expected guests. The table had been set up neatly in preparation for a meal. Everything was perfect in the room when Olga locked the door and left. When she went back later to check on the room, she found quite a surprise. The entire table was a mess. All of the napkins were unfolded, there was an unusual scum on all of the glasses and they were arranged in a perfect circle on the table.

There have been mediums staying at the hotel over night, that have told people there that they have felt more spirits in the building than guests during their visits.

There is a very special room in the corner turret of the castle. It’s known as the “Ghost Room” and it reserved for the spirits that stay at the castle. No human guest can reserve the room, but they are welcome to go to the room and visit freely.

Although I can find no direct link for Ballygally Castle, you can find much information by simply googling their name.

Deb Daniel Jansons

Deb Daniel Jansons

Assistant Director / Haunted Locations at National Paranormal Society
I am Deb Daniel Jansons. I was born and raised in the Huntsville, Al area, but lived in Ontario, Canada for 12 years, before coming back home to be with my grandson. I have had an interest in the paranormal since I was a small child and had my first experience. I love going out to places that are known to have strange things happen, but I always look for an explanation of anything that might happen when I am there and take nothing at face value. I also love to read anything that I can get my hands on concerning the paranormal and other people’s experiences. One of my hopes is that the day will come, during my lifetime that we will have absolute proof that there are spirits, aliens, etc out there. Until then, all we can do is investigate and hope.
Deb Daniel Jansons

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