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Leap - An O'Carroll Stronghold

"Leap Castle, Co. Cork ( a brief history)

Leap (pronounced as if it were said "leapt" without the "t") Castle was an O'Carroll fortress. It guarded the pass from the Slieve Bloom (a mountain range in Ireland) into Munster. It was once known as "Leim ui Bhanain", for the O'Bannon clan, under-chiefs of the O'Carrolls, were the first owners of Leap.
Leap Castle is what was known as a keep. The keep itself was built in the fourteenth or fifteenth century.

It was attacked in 1513 by Gerald Fitzgerald (whom the O'Carroll's considered one of their most deadly rivals) but not taken.

In 1516, it was attacked by Gearld Og Fitzgerald of Kildare.

In 1557, Leap was attacked by Earl of Sussex. The O'Carroll family escaped.

Around 1604 or 1605, some of the territory of Ely O'Carroll was attached to Kings County, which is now known as the county of Offaly.

An O'Carroll daughter helped a Darby to escape from the castle and then married him afterwards.

In 1619 the plantation of Ely O'Carroll took place. After this, many Darbys became high Sheriff of Kings County. But the most famous Darby was Admiral Sir Henry Darby who fought at the battle of the Nile and escorted Napoleon Bonaparte into exile when he left France. John Nelson Darby who died in 1832 wrote around thirty volumes.

Leap Castle is one of the most haunted castles in Ireland."

The brief history above was an excerpt taken from a book about Irish Castles. I first heard of Leap Castle on a special on A&E. It was around Halloween and A&E had a few specials by the titles of: "Haunted England?, ?Haunted Scotland" and "Haunted Ireland". As some of you may know, I am fascinated with ghost stories. I prepared to watch these shows with great relish. Little did I know that I was about to hear about my family's past...in more detail than I really wanted to know. To be succinct, they were bloodthirsty. Leap Castle has these ...wells... that my illustrious ancestor's used to... ummmm ... throw their enemies down and either the poor people landed on a tall spike and died instantly/later of their injuries or they starved to death just a few hundred feet away from the dining hall (this would make you proud, wouldn't it?). It got worse. There was this one O?Carroll (the warrior) who killed his brother (the priest) in the Leap chapel, right there at the alter while he was conducting mass, because he wanted to make sure that HE got everything (this story always sends warm fuzzies through me).

These stories and more were shared in this episode and by the time the show was over, I was more than a bit horrified. To have the dubious honor of one of the "most haunted castles in Ireland" being an old ancestral keep was a bit unsettling. But, I figured, it's a part of my family's past and why shouldn't I share it?

I am thinking. When I get to Ireland next year, maybe I shouldn't go into this particular castle. If this castle is as haunted as it looks, maybe no one with O'Carroll blood should go into it.

What do you think?
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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