Derry Vox Pop: Do you believe in ghosts?

There are many spooky stories and legends associated with the north west of Ireland and with Hallowe’en fast approaching - a time when our ancestors way back in the mists of time believed the veil between this world and the otherworld was at its thinest - we took to the streets to ask local people whether they believed that ghosts were real....

By Conor McClean
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 9:53 am

Mickey English is lifelong Derry City fan who is 80 years of age. He says the city has “stacks” of tales about ghosts.

“Derry has some stories about ghosts,” he said. “There used to be an asylum years and years ago. It was down the Strand Road. It was a workhouse that was then converted at the time of the Famine.

There were all sorts of stories attached to it, and even stories of people who weren’t ghosts, but gave the idea of being a ghost. Like half-hung McNaughton, out the Prehen Road.”

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Bob Cuddihy and Aislinn Lawlor from Kilkenny.

Daniel Brown is 18 and from Derry. He said: “Not necessary naw, but I was chatting to a mate of mine and he said he had an encounter. But personally, I haven’t been in contact with any ghosts. As they say, if you get the shivers or something, that’s someone walking over your grave. The mate was telling me that he definitely felt something. There was one night he was lying in his bed and he said he was pinned, and he didn’t know what it was. He looked and saw the glare behind him and he freaked out, he didn’t know who it was.”

Marian McLaughlin from Belfast said: “Not really, no. It’s not a subject that I would really go into. When I was young I would’ve believed, you know.

There’s plenty of places around Belfast which have tales. Near where Henry Joy McCracken was hanged. He is supposed to haunt White’s Tavern.”

Ciaran Moore said: “I believe I saw one about 10 years ago. It was in my house and sitting at the bottom of my bed, It was a bit scary. I was so scared I pulled the quilt over my head and couldn’t wait until the morning.”

Mickey English.

Bob Cuddihy and Aisleann Lawlor were visiting from Kilkenny. “I don’t believe in ghosts, no. But Kilkenny Castle is supposed to have a story, and Kyteler’s Inn too. Alice Kyteler, she is known as Ireland’s first witch. So she is supposed to haunt the bar and restaurant.“

Kayleigh Sheerin said: “I wouldn’t rule it out like. I’m a bit sceptical of ghost sightings and stuff, but I’m interested in the whole thing. I know Boom Hall is a place that has ghosts. I mind my ma was talking about some bar that had a ghost upstairs. That’s kind of all I know really.”

(Photos by George Sweeney / Derry Journal)

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Daniel Brown
Marian McLaughlin and her brother Peter from Belfast.
Ciaran Moore.
Kayleigh Sheerin.