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Sunday, March 29, 2015

A ghost story: meet the Banshee of Dunluce Castle #RB4U #RomFantasy

Banshee
You have to love research, it inspires you to create such wonderful things you never considered! Thanks to recent research, my mind is on Gothic tales… so who knows what will evolve in the coming months. I thought I’d share one that really caught my attention:

The castles of Ireland have some really awesome stories attached to them, and one of my favourites is also connected to the Irish Banshee myth. I’ve never set a story in Ireland, and only recently did I create my first Irish hero, so I’ve been reading a lot about the myths and legends of the Emerald Isle. I found one about a grand, brooding fortress called Dunluce Castle. It stands on a breath-taking, beautiful rocky crag on the northeast coast, in County Antrim. History dates back to the 14th century, and it’s had various owners/occupiers over the years. However, the outcrop on which it stands has a history of human involvement that goes back many centuries to ancient times. The site has been seen as significant both spiritually and strategically and has often been fought over.

Kevin Murphy Photography
Many people have met their deaths on this rock that stands high above the sea with sheer drops on all sides. Now the ruined castle on its summit can only be reached by a narrow bridge from the mainland. Within its cold grey stone walls there have been reports of ghostly sightings and apparitions for hundreds of years. One such story is that of Maeve Roe, thought to be the only daughter of Lord MacQuillan. Defying his wishes to become betrothed to Richard Oge, MacQuillan had her held in the north eastern turret of the castle. Maeve had given her heart to another, Reginald O’Cahan and every day and night she looked out of her prison in the hope that he would come for her.

Wail of the Banshee
It was a dark and stormy night when Reginald O’Cahan did eventually come to the castle to rescue his love. With the wind whistling through the battlements and beating against the thick stone walls the couple secretly fled the fortress. Into the cold night air they descended to a large cave that opened in the rocks below Dunluce. Their spirits high the two lovers set out in a small boat to cross the turbulent seas towards the seaside settlement of Portrush. Fighting against the white topped waves the small boat was tossed mercilessly by the cruel sea. Pushed in all directions, this way and then that, the little vessel eventually succumbed and was thrown against the rocks. Maeve Roe and Reginald O’Cahan clung together as they sank down into the cold salty depths.

It is said that the body of Maeve was never recovered from her watery grave. Although her earthly remains have gone forever the story of the love of Maeve Roe can never be forgotten. For her spirit haunts the dark wind swept ruins of Dunluce Castle. On dark stormy nights visitors to the castle come back with strange stories of disturbing heart rending wails and screams coming from the Northeast Tower also known as MacQuillan’s Tower. Those that know the history of the castle will be able to tell them exactly the source of these frighteningly sad cries. Lamenting her lost life and love it is the Banshee of Dunluce Castle; Maeve’s sad and troubled soul forever looking out across the sea from her prison tower, searching for a rescue that will never come.

Famed musical group The Irish Rovers have a wonderful ballad about the place:





13 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

Loved your first post, Denysé. :)

Suzie Tullett said...

A grand and brooding place, indeed. Very atmospheric x

Cara Marsi said...

Wow, what a great story about Maeve Roe and her lover. Gave me chills. Great pictures too. Thanks.

Lynda Bailey said...

Awesome post, though the love story about Maeve Roe and Reginald was tragic. Thanks sharing your research! ;)

Melissa Keir said...

Awesome post! Thank you for sharing. I love Irish history!

Denysé Bridger said...

Thanks, everyone. This was a such a neat story when I ran across it. I love Irish folklore and legends, the mythology is fascinating stuff.

jean hart stewart said...

Wow, what a great bit of history. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Tina Donahue said...

What a great post, Denyse. :) I love the castle picture..the perfect place for a brooding hero (Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester).

Rose Gorham said...

Awesome post. Love reading about castles and the ghosts walking the halls. Thanks for sharing.

Denysé Bridger said...

Thanks. I agree, Tina - perfect spot to set a brooding Gothic tragedy/romance... This is the kind of thing I love to read about, it really stirs up the imagination.

R. Ann Siracusa said...

Awesome tale. Great first post. I'll be looking for a book set in Ireland from you.

Denysé Bridger said...

Thanks again. I think this Castle will have to be revisited in a story sometime... Hugs and love to all, and many thanks for all your wonderful comments!!

Janice Seagraves said...

A sad and chilly tale of lost love. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Janice~

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