Charleville Castle – Harriet’s ghostly presence

Charleville Castle – Harriet’s ghostly presence


Charleville Castle is nestled in the picturesque county Offaly, within the charming Irish village of Tullamore. This enchanting castle stands atop an ancient druid burial ground, bearing witness to centuries of tumultuous battles between Ireland and England, as well as ancient druid rituals performed on its sacred grounds. Sketches of Charleville Castle emerged in 1798, with construction commencing in 1800 and culminating in its completion in 1812, a magnificent testament to the vision of The Earl of Charleville, Charles William Bury, and his wife, the countess of Charleville, Lady Catherine Maria Dawson Bury.

The hauntingly beautiful Charleville Castle is steeped in centuries of history and stands as one of the finest examples of gothic revival architecture.

This historic monument boasts remarkable features, like the awe-inspiring stencilling on the dining room ceiling, designed by the renowned artist William Morris in the 1890s. Amidst its storied history, the castle is also home to a legendary oak tree, known as The King Oak. The magnificent tree is said to have extraordinary connections to the family, with a long-held belief that the fall of a branch from the tree would soon be followed by the passing of a Bury family member. In 1963 the tree was struck by lightning which eerily coincided with the sudden passing of Colonel Charles Howard Bury, the last member of the Bury family to own the castle.


Venturing onto the castle grounds, some have encountered the spectral presence of hooded figures lurking in the shadows. Legend has it that these apparitions are the restless spirits of disgruntled druids, forever bound to this sacred land. Their ominous presence adds an unsettling layer to the already haunted atmosphere surrounding Charleville Castle.

Charleville castle sits on the grounds of an ancient druid burial ground where visitors have sighted the apparitions of hooded figures.

Among the many ghostly tales that circulate the castle, one tragic story stands out above all others. A young girl named Harriet, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Charleville, is said to still roam the castle halls. Harriet’s life was cut short when, in a moment of innocent playfulness, she met with a fatal accident while sliding down the main staircase. Her fall onto the unforgiving stone floor claimed her life instantly, leaving her spirit behind to linger on. Harriet has been sighted on numerous occasions within the castle and many visitors claim to have felt the presence of her helpful hand guiding them down the stairs.

The presence of young Harriet’s spirit has been seen, felt and heard around the staircase where she met her tragic and untimely end.

Harriet is described as a little girl wearing a blue and white dress, with her golden curls tied up in blue ribbons. Her spirit often manifests itself in various ways, with accounts of hearing her melodic singing in the middle of the night. Harriet is said to be a constant presence within the castle, she is most commonly sighted on the staircase, but has also been seen in her room on the top floor.

Inside Charleville Castle, guests are immersed in elegance and grandeur, a tribute to the vision of Charles William Bury and his wife, Lady Catherine Maria Dawson Bury.

Photographs taken within the castle have yielded eerie results, capturing mists and shadows that many believe to be the embodiment of Harriet’s ghostly presence. Whispers, laughter, disembodied footsteps, and blood-curdling screams reverberate through the haunted halls, further fuelling the sense of the paranormal presence inside Charleville Castle.

In the library of Charleville Castle, timeless charm and elegance intertwine with history and knowledge, creating an enriching experience for all who enter.

Adding to the haunting mystery is the sight of Harriet in the company of a young boy of roughly the same age. The identity of this mysterious boy remains unknown, but some speculate that he may be Harriet’s uncle, Henry Walter, who fell victim to the Spanish Influenza in London. Lady Catherine, the first countess of Charleville and Harriet’s grandmother, brought him back to Charleville, where he now rests alongside Harriet and five generations of the Bury family in the family crypt at St. Catherine’s Church.


Charleville Castle stands as a captivating testament to its neo-Gothic architecture and captivating history. This historic castle draws in ghost enthusiasts and curious visitors alike, evoking a deep sense of fascination and intrigue. Whether it’s the eerie sightings of hooded figures within the grounds or the haunting apparition of young Harriet, the castle leaves a memorable impression on all who dare to explore its halls. The castle is known for organising a diverse array of special events throughout the year, promising a truly unforgettable experience for anyone who visits. Whether it’s attending a paranormal investigation or a festival, a day spent at Charleville Castle definitely guarantees an extraordinary journey into the past and the world of the paranormal.

Peering through the windows of Charleville Castle, one can’t help but appreciate the captivating beauty and lush gardens, offering a serene moment for those who pause to reflect on its rich history.

If you enjoyed reading about the tales surrounding Charleville Castle you might also be interested in reading about the 5 most haunted castles in the world and the ghostly secrets they hold.

Thanks for reading!


About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Check out Amy's other work over at Amy's Crypt.

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