Leap Castle, Coolderry, Ireland

The Most Haunted Building In Ireland

There are varied accounts as to when exactly the main tower/keep was constructed; ranging anywhere from the 13th century to the late 15th century, but most likely around 1250 CE. It was built by the O’Bannon clan and was originally called “Léim Uí Bhanáin” (as was the fertile land around the castle which was associated with the Bannon clan), or “Leap of the O’Bannons”. The O’Bannons were the “secondary chieftains” of the territory and were subject to the ruling O’Carroll clan. There is evidence that it was constructed on the same site as another ancient stone structure perhaps ceremonial in nature, and that that area has been occupied consistently since at least the Iron Age (500 BCE) and possibly since Neolithic times.

Leap Castle is said to be the most haunted castle in Ireland.  It has had a horrific history with each passing century being punctuated by ferocious acts of violence.

One of the most gruesome murders to take place in the castle occurred  in a room above the main hall of the castle which is now know as ‘The Bloody Chapel’ where in 1532 ‘one-eyed Teige O’Carroll’ murdered his own brother as he celebrated Mass in for the rest of the family.  The priest’s spirit is said to haunt the Bloody Chapel and is thought to be one of Leap’s earliest ghosts.

The Bloody Chapel is said to be the home of many a ghoul. People have said on passing the Castle at night they have seen a very bright light shooting out of the upper windows.This occurrence has been reported since the time of the Darbys. However neighbours have called the current owners the Ryan’s to report that the Chapel was in full Illumination. Strange smells of rubber have also been reported during peoples visit to the upper hall.


One of the more sinister features of the Bloody Chapel is the oubliette. The oubliette is a small chamber located in the North-Eastern corner of the Bloody Chapel. It is thought that the original use for these chambers was to store valuables. They were also used as a place to hide in the event of a siege. The O’Carrolls used this chamber for a more a deadly purpose. They adapted this chamber to serve as a small dungeon where the poor prisoners were thrown in, dead or dying. The entrance to the chamber is a narrow hole originally fitted with a form of trap door. The name is derived from the French “to forget”.

Since the burning of Leap Castle in 1922, the Priest’s House is still an empty shell so most of the accounts relate to the times of the Darbys. At present, shadowy forms are most seen wandering through the empty building.

Castle Ghosts of Ireland (HD) (1995) (COMPLETE EPISODE)


Leap was burnt out and destroyed in 1922 by the IRA while the Darbys were living in England. The castle lay in ruins until it was purchased by the current owners Sean and Anne Ryan in 1991.  Sean has restored the castle and was a most gracious host when I called to visit Leap to take these photographs.  Sean has frequent sightings of the numerous spirits of Leap but thankfully the Ryan’s have never encountered the Elemental who for now seems to have retreated.  Despite some early skirmishes he has found that his family and the resident spirits have been able to coexist quite happily at Leap.

Here is a YouTube video of the current owner the very talented musician Sean Ryan talking of the Castles Ghosts and there are quite a few.




The photos are property of respective owners






Leap Castle “Another Haunted Irish Castle”

The Green Hill dance club, by Ferdinand of S.

Inaugurated at the beginning of the 80’s, this dance club was very popular in the coastal centre of Portugal. Bringing people from places as far as Lisbon, 100 km away, the Green Hill was the favoured night establishment of three generations between 1980 and 2013.

It had three dance floors, a lounge bar, and an open air bar terrace.

After entering the third millennium, maintenance costs were harder to keep up. The economic crisis of 2008 made the matters worse. Many patrons lost buying power, with no ways to consume the expensive drinks of bars and dance clubs, choosing instead traditional festivities of rural villages, which had cheaper drinks and began having DJ sets.

The owners of the premises sub rented the place to a businessman, but still in April of 2013, the Green Hill dance club closed doors definitively.

Currently, the place is part of a court action because of debts. While the proceedings drag on, the place is completely abandoned. Stripped of everything of value, including wiring, furniture and other props. All that remains are the walls, insulation, broken glass, a lot of junk. Parts of the roof have collapsed, have holes and infiltrations and the premises are completely accessible to anyone.

Photos – Ferdinand of S.


Batalha Monastery – Part III


Although it could be considered simplistic, the study of architecture according to its styles, or based on the characteristic motifs on buildings of recognisable forms, does nonetheless serve a purpose as a way to understand them. The isolated study of forms has led us to conclude that the evolution of styles is cyclic, normally beginning with primitive or archaic forms before achieving a moment of harmony, frequently referred to as classic, and then coming to a head in a period of exuberant creativity, sometimes dramatic, singular and extravagant.

What remains for us to see at the Monastery of Batalha (since two 16th century cloisters and their annexes no longer exist) is predominantly gothic. In the church, the sacristy and the Royal Cloister, the first architect Afonso Domingues made use of a language which, within the gothic style, came to be known as radiant, coinciding with the classic moment of that period’s architectural development

With the arrival of Huguet, who would substitute Afonso Domingues up on the old master’s death, the repertory of flaming gothic architecture made a sudden appearance at Batalha, for the first time in Portugal. The word flaming derives from the Latin term flama, or ‘flame’ and gains its significance in final Gothic from its decorative and structural characteristics, such as the frequent appearance of the counter-curved arch resembling a flame. As this was also a moment where gothic art achieved a kind of international critical mass, flaming is also known as international gothic. Prevalent in the flaming gothic style and appearing constantly at Batalha is not only the counter-curved arch but also a more complex approach to certain structural elements such as the nervures of the vaults or the columns, normally grouped in pillars. Sliced transversally, the nervures have metamorphosed from a kind of square with ballooning corners, in the radiant, to a triangular form, in the flaming. The columns maintain the cylindrical shaft but their extremities are no longer round but faceted. On the capitals and endparts or keystones of the vaults, the plants, flowers and fruits which are the habitual decorative motifs no longer are built up in levels or slices but suddenly are full of energetic movement.  This style would be continued by Martim Vasques, who followed Architect Huguet.

In the middle of the 15th century, with the Cloister of King Afonso V, Fernão de Évora would inaugurate a transformation in the project which cannot be explained away solely by the cyclic theory of styles: the exuberance of the flaming would be juxtaposed with a dramatically unadorned style (with the exception of the keystones of the vaults), reminiscent of the Cistercian structures built before Batalha. It was Vergílio Correia who baptised this phenomenon with the name ‘linear gothic’. As in Cistercian monuments, the nervures are characterised by their quadrangular cross-section, with chamfered ridges that are frequently set into corbels.

In the last years of the 15th century and during the first two decades of the 16th, the so-called Manueline style would make its first appearance at Batalha and indeed Portugal, which, as the name suggests, corresponds to the reign of King Manuel I. The brilliant inventor of the architectural language this time became known for was the architect Mateus Fernandes. His work, visible in the crosspieces of the windows and in the stall of the Royal Cloister, as well as in the doorway of the Unfinished Chapels, is an explosion of exuberant imagery that is only tempered by the Cloister of Fernão de Évora. The architecture is suddenly treated as if it were a monumental sculpture. Nonetheless, the works of Mateus Fernandes are still noted for their rigorous geometric faithfulness to the traditional basic flaming style of Batalha. As a matter of fact, the geometric base was not only maintained but refined even further: the arches would reveal numerous intersections and planes, and the faceted shapes would bend in order to intersect at various points.

The Manueline style is considered a monument to final gothic, with specific national traits, as would also happen in neighbouring Spain with the ‘Plateresque’ style. Nonetheless, Manueline architecture (and Plateresque) contain the germ of modernity, in the sense that they belong to those cases which reveal the limitations of stylistic analysis, when it is automatically assumed a style’s final moments are symbolic of its decadence and extinction. On the other hand, while we are able to recognise a formal style of Manueline architecture, it is also the case that there is a world of difference between the work of Mateus Fernandes and, say, João de Castilho (who emerged from the Plateresque tradition), Boitaca or the Arruda brothers. This is why the work visible on the higher parts of the Unfinished Chapels, of unidentified origin, is so different from that on the great doorway of Mateus Fernandes.

By way of contrast, above that same doorway we see a Mannerist gallery, by architect Miguel de Arruda, who nevertheless made an effort to blend in with the Manueline structure around it. The long-vanished cloisters were also in the Mannerist style.

Source: mosteirodabatalha.gov.pt

Photos – Obscurena/Paulo Janela


Batalha Monastery – Part II – The Church

The Church

When one enters the Church of Santa Maria da Vitória through the main door, one cannot but be impressed by the majesty and grandiosity of the church’s interior. The grandiosity (more than 80 metres in length, by 22 metres in width and 32.5 metres in height) is understandable, as the church is the realisation of an ambitious project by King João I: a monumental programme that was much more of an expression of his power and an affirmation of the Monastery as a royal pantheon than a mere monastic vocation called for, particularly as the Dominican community in Portugal did not have the numbers to justify the scale of the construction.

The church was organised into three naves, with two side naves that are narrower and lower than the central nave. The naves lead to the transept, where, in the centre of the crossing, one finds a modern high altar before the chancel proper. The chancel is made up of five polygonal chapels, whereby the central chapel is higher and deeper than the four side chapels. The elevation of the High Altar over two storeys, with tall lanciform windows filled with stained glass panels, the oldest of which date from the early 16th century, represents an innovation in Portuguese Gothic architecture. Together with the great height of the High Altar, which is equal to that of the central nave, this solution serves to project the latter, with the apse serving as a luminous and transparent finishing.

The vaulted ceilings in the central and side naves feature ogival ribs and sculpted chains and have large ornamental keystones with botanic themes of a highly natural aspect, leading one to believe that the master builder Huguet was responsible for completing the ceiling.
The side door, which has four ogival archivolts, was designed by Afonso Domingues, who used what was then becoming a somewhat archaic language in the decorative elements of the archivolts and in the definition of the pointed gable. What was new about the door was its positioning, in relation to the field defined by the gable, of the expressively sculpted coats of arms of the Monastery’s founders.

Source: mosteirodabatalha.gov.pt

Photos – Obscurena/Paulo Janela


Ana Gonçalves

Name: Ana Gonçalves

Birthday: 20/02/1988

Country: Portugal

Talent: Model.

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Ana Gonçalves, the young woman born in 1988 in Lisbon, with a congenital disease named Spina Bífida and Hidrocefalia, always fighting for her life from the first minute of life and for every minute of life that passes and will always pass, her The motto of life is to never give up no matter how much it does not even seem that there is no more force to fight for itself.

Graduated recently in Technical Course of Information and Tourist Animation, she likes to sing Fado, to do crafts, photography and to be surrounded by those who love her and feel respected. A great example for everyone who surrounds her and be the harbor of shelter for those who need only a friendly word.

Hugo Pinto Photography


Nelson Rodrigues da Costa Photography