There’s a number of spooky Halloween destinations on the Celtic Routes of Wales and Ireland.
These Celtic destinations have a broad history of legends, myths and ghost stories for visitors seeking spooky locations.
Halloween tourism is big business and worth $8 billion industry in the USA alone. Demand for spooky attractions and destinations surges in the run-up to October 31st.
Why not beat the crowds at busy Halloween destinations and explore the quieter, mythical destinations on the Celtic Routes?
Halloween destinations on the Celtic Routes
Whilst most people associate Halloween with the extravagant festivities in the USA it actually evolved from ancient Celts?
This pagan religious festival, called Samhain (pronounced: Sow-an), meaning ‘Summer’s end’ in old Irish. It originated from a Celtic spiritual tradition, celebrated from October 31st to November 1st.
Samhain marked the end of the Celtic Year and the start of a new one. It was believed that this was a time of transition.
Barriers between the physical world and the spiritual world would break down, allowing more interaction with the ‘otherworld’.
Halloween Celtic origins
Over the centuries, Halloween transitioned from a pagan ritual to a day of parties, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and scary tales.
In the spirit of Halloween, we’ve got a chapter packed full of ghost stories and folk tales from across the Celtic Routes.
These destinations can be found counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in Wales, and Wicklow, Waterford and Wexford in Ireland.
Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This megalithic dolmen, defined as a specifically constructed stone tomb, is a site of great intrigue.
The Pentre Ifan burial chamber was constructed from the same Preseli Bluestones used on its ‘big brother’ at Stonehenge.
It’s generally considered to be a communal burial chamber, but no traces of bones have ever been found here.
Even more mysteriously, stories originating from Celtic folklore have been told of fairies at Pentre Ifan.
They are said to dance upon the stones of Pentre Ifan during the twilight hours of summer. The “fair-folk”, [as they’re called], are said to exist all around us.
Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Dinefwr is a stunning 800-acre estate, occupies an important place in Welsh history. Historic Newton house, set within the estate, is supposedly occupied by an individual who passed centuries ago.
The National Trust states that Newton House is “thought to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain”.
Over the years, many ghost sightings or paranormal activity have been allegedly witnessed at the house.
One such sighting involved the spooky spectre of a young woman. Apparently, she glided across the room and disappeared through the cupboard door.
Visitors have reported feeling as if they are being choked when walking up and down the cantilever staircase.
This is believed to be related to the strangling of Lady Elinor Cavendish, the cousin of the lady of Newton House in the 1720s by a lover whom she had rejected. She is said to be wandering the halls to this day.
Devil’s Bridge, Ceredigion, Wales
At Devil’s Bridge, there are three separate bridges span the 90m waterfalls of the River Mynach, one built on top of the other between the 11th and 19th centuries.
According to local legend, the original bridge was built by the Devil himself, as it was considered too difficult a task for mortals.
The story begins with an old Welsh woman. She needed to cross the deep Mynach gorge to get her cow back from the other side of the river.
The Devil offered to build the old woman a bridge. However, it was on condition that he’d take possession of the soul of first living thing that crossed it. The old lady agreed, and the Devil built the bridge.
Before crossing the bridge, the old lady took out an old crust from her apron. She then threw it towards the cow on the other side of the bridge.
Her hungry dog eagerly chased it over the bridge. The Devil, expecting to get the soul of the old woman, got the poor dog instead. It’s one of the most mythical Halloween destinations on the Celtic Routes.
Quay of Waterford, Ireland
Many claims have been made of ghostly sightings at the ancient Quay of Waterford city. Waterford has had a long maritime history since it was established by the Vikings in the 10th century.
And over the centuries many people have reported sightings of ghostly figures of sailors and ships from long ago.
A local psychic decided to conduct a night-time vigil after persistent rumours of ghostly happenings.
The psychic confirmed that he witnessed images from long ago of tall ships and shadowy figures.
He’s urged people to not attempt to make contact with the figures floating along the Quay though.
The Dearg Due of Waterford, Ireland
There are many stories of vampirism in Ireland and one of the most frightening creatures is known as the Dearg Due, meaning ‘Red Thirst’.
Many centuries ago in the area that is now known as Waterford, there lived a beautiful young woman. She was deeply in love with a farm labourer and they had made plans to marry.
Unfortunately for them, her father cared only for money. So instead, he forced her into an arranged marriage with a much older, wealthy man.
The young woman’s husband was a cruel man and kept her locked in a tower until she died. The villagers took her body and buried her under what is now known as Strongbow’s Tree.
There was an old Irish practice of placing a tall pile of stones on the graves of the recently deceased so they could not rise again. For some strange reason, on the night of her burial, this did not happen.
It is said that her spirit rose and sought revenge on those who had ruined her life.
The spirit of the young woman preyed on young men, luring them with her beauty before feasting on their blood.
Hook Lighthouse, Wexford, Ireland
When it comes to lighthouses, none come with a longer history of protecting seafarers than Hook.
It’s the world’s oldest operational lighthouse, having stood for over 800 years on the Hook Peninsula.
Local legends talk of a fire beacon that has been there since the sixth century, tended by monks.
Powerful knight William Marshall is believed to have built the existing lighthouse in the mid-13th century to guide ships to his port of Ross. With a history so rich, stories of a supernatural nature are inevitable.
An eerie feeling seeps throughout the lighthouse, having been reported and written about by many visitors.
It’s said that William Marshal himself haunts the lighthouse, keeping an eternal vigil of the seas from his tower.
Bray Head, Wicklow, Ireland
County Wicklow is known for its walking trails, and the coastal path from Bray to Greystones is one of the best.
However, a Romeo and Juliet type fable haunts the spot known as Lover’s Leap Rock in Dargle Valley, situated along the trail.
It is rumoured that every year on June 21st, the ghost of a devastated woman appears.
Having been unfaithful to her beloved [which led to his untimely death due to his immense heartbreak], she is said to have sat at his graveside for several days.
She then tragically took her own life on the rock by leaping into the raging waters below.
What are the Celtic Routes?
Celtic Routes borne out of partnership between six Irish and Welsh counties encouraging visitors to ‘go deeper, stay longer’.
A cross-Irish Sea set of collaborative counties in Ireland and Wales has formed a partnership to deliver a new tourism heritage project known as the ‘Celtic Routes’.
This partnership aims to bring Celtic culture, spirit and soul to a new audience.
The relationship between the two Celtic nations has been established on the basis of an unbreakable bond formed through their shared heritage of untamed landscapes, ancient crosses, chapel ruins and sacred stones.
Shared Celtic history
Irish migrants who settled in Wales in the 5th century left their mark through the Ogham stones that still line the Welsh coastline today. And in return, Wales gave St Patrick to Ireland – or so they say.
The Celtic Routes aim to showcase this primal relationship to new eyes and ears.
Visitors can discover untamed nature and roads less travelled, that still follow the pulse of the changing seasons and rhythms of the natural world.
And where legends of saints, giants and princes will transport visitors to whole new worlds.
How do I get to the Celtic Routes?
Road – Your Celtic Routes adventure is accessible by car, driving along the coast of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion before crossing to Ireland.
Sea – After exploring Wales’ Celtic Routes offering, you can catch a ferry from Fishguard in Wales to Rosslare in Ireland. And vice versa.
Air – Fly direct from Cardiff, Bristol or London airports to Dublin from which you can hire a car and drive south to Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford.
Thanks to Celtic Routes for partnering with me for this content. To start planning your trip across the Celtic Routes, go to celticroutes.info for more information and inspiration.
What do you think of our collection of Halloween destinations on the Celtic Routes? Are you planning to visit any in the future? Let us know in the comments below.
Celtic Routes Travel Planning
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