Having an 850-year history, it's inevitable the Loftus Hall would hold many tales.
Few manors can boast about the legends that pass through these corridors and having a reputation for unexplained happenings, it's perfectly plausible to grant it the title of Ireland's most haunted house.
The Loftus Hall we see today wasn’t constructed until the 1870s but the history of this site goes back to 1170, with the arrival of the Norman Knight "Raymond Les Gros”. Like many settling normans at the time, he wanted to integrate properly into the country and in doing so changed his surname to Redmond. On this site, he built a castle. During the black death of the 1300s, the Redmond family replaced the castle with a new one and it became known as “The Redmond Hall”
The Hook Peninsula played a vital role in protecting the region from invasions, and as such “The Hall” was a target for attacks.
In the 1600’s it faced multiple attacks from the English, most notably from Cromwell, who was determined to seize possession of the Hall. However, the Redmonds fought and Cromwell Conceded, temporarily offering a compromise to Alexander Redmond, the head of the house. He offered to allow Alexander to live out the rest of his days in the Hall, and upon his death, the property would be handed over as part of the Cromwellian confiscations.
It was in this confiscation that the Loftus family acquired the estate, and with that renamed it to Loftus Hall. The family took out a loan for a major redevelopment of the manor in the 1880s, in anticipation of a visit from Queen Victoria. They extended the manor upwards and made elaborate (and quite expensive) additions to the interior. One of those was the grand staircase. Made of solid Oak, the staircase has a striking similarity to that of the Titanic’s grand staircase. Of course, it was the same company that designed and manufactured the two.
However, like Titanic, the families fortunes foundered in an ocean of debt. This lavish but futile redevelopment left them bankrupt and the estate was sold to the Benedictine order of nuns in 1917. It then passed hands again in 1935 to The Sisters of providence who opened a school for girls preparing for nunnery-hood.
In 1983 it was purchased by a businessman who opened the manor as a hotel but closed down within a decade. Finally, in 2011 it was sold again to the current family.
Now to the Horrors!
From its exposed setting on the shores of the Hook Peninsula to its boarded-up windows, one can’t help but feel a sinister vibe on approach. But this feeling is dwarfed by the sheer eerie sensation as you roam its corridors.
Of course, horrors can be described as both natural and supernatural.
For example, the Loftus family severed the hands of the two craftsmen who installed the mosaic tiled floor. This was to ensure that the craftsmen’s masterpiece could never be replicated or topped by an even greater work elsewhere.
Another story involves the Tottenham family who were care-taking the estate while the Loftus family were travelling. Its said one stormy night a young stranger arrived from a ship and was welcomed in. The Tottenham’s daughter Anne, became infatuated with this young man. As the tale goes, while they played a game of cards, Anne ducked down beneath the table to pick up what she believed was her missing card, only to notice to her horror that the stranger’s feet were cloven. Upon realising his cover was blown the stranger blasted off up through the ceiling leaving behind a hole which to this day can’t be properly repaired.
Anne became mentally ill soon after and out of shame, her parents locked her in the tapestry room (her favourite room) where she spends the remainder of her life. For almost a decade, she sat by the window waiting for the return of the stranger, refusing to eat or drink until her death. When she died her body was so seized from her seated position she could not be laded out flat.
Despite her waiting, the stranger, believed to be the devil, returned to the house time and time again causing physical disturbances to the house, until a priest was commissioned to perform an exodus. As successful as this was, it never rid the tapestry room of one such ghost, a girl believed to be Anne.
Other mysterious tales include the mysterious death of several of the resident nuns during the period of ownership by the Sisters of Providence and the Benedictine order.
Loftus Hall received much attention over its supernatural history.
In 2017 an Irish Gothic Horror film “The Lodgers”, shot in Loftus Hall premiered in the Toronto International film festival. The plot is set in 1920’s Ireland about two twins haunted by sinister spirits called the lodgers.