Irish hotel named as the scariest place to stay in Europe
The never-ending deluge of hotels in Ireland, often at the cost of the erasure of existing public spaces, is a frightening enough development as it is but if you're looking to stay in a haunted one, read on.
It turns out that the country boasts a few notably spooky getaways, according to a new study.
UK-based price comparison website Uswitch.com analysed 75 hotels from around the world, determining the scare factor by drilling down into user experience data from travel websites such as Travel and Leisure, Tripadvisor and CN Traveller.
Given the inability to survey ghosts directly, the study relied upon guest reviews, highlighting ghoulish keywords like 'scary', 'terrifying', 'creepy', 'paranormal' and 'haunted'.
To avoid inaccuracies – this is serious business, after all – special attention was paid to reviews that contained the above words with ambiguous meanings.
The resulting breakdown is split between Europe and the rest of the world, with some standout Irish spots flying the haunted pirate ship flag on the European side.
Topping the list is Ballygally Castle in Antrim, which is said to be home to the ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw.
Here's a moody black-and-white shot of the hotel in 1890, which automatically makes it 10 times scarier, we think you'll agree:
Elsewhere in terms of Irish interest, Monaghan's Castle Leslie Estate ranks as the third best haunted hotel in Europe thanks to "many ghost sightings" including a monk and a mysterious figure known to the locals as Lady Constance.
The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, meanwhile, rounds out the European list at 15.
As for the full top 15...
15. The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
14. The Langham, England
13. Parador de Jaén, Spain
12. Toftaholm Herrgård, Sweden
11. Dragsholm Castle, Denmark
10. Karosta Prison Hostel, Latvia
9. Roch Castle Hotel, Wales
8. Airth Castle, Scotland
7. The Bell, England
6. Ruthin Castle Hotel & Spa, Wales
5. Chillingham Castle, England
4. Dalhousie Castle, Scotland
3. Castle Leslie Estate, Monaghan
2. Mermaid Inn, England
1. Ballygally Castle, Northern Ireland
The full study, which includes the rest of the world breakdown, can be viewed here, if you dare.
Featured Image via BallyGally Castle – Instagram