Fancy stumping up $2.87 million for Ireland’s most haunted mansion? Loftus Hall in County Wexford on the Hook Peninsula is currently owned by Aidan and Shane Quigley. Standing on 63 acres, it has 22 bedrooms and many period features. The brothers are selling it privately, passing on the 19th century structure’s ghostly legacy.
What makes Loftus Hall quite so spooky and worthy of the moniker of Ireland’s most haunted mansion? A famous story cemented the legend into its very foundations. In the 1760s, the site hosted a different building which used to be called Redmond Hall. On an appropriately dark and stormy night, the resident Tottenham family took in a stranger who’d landed his vessel on the weather-battered shoreline.
Daughter Anne seemed to warm to the gentleman, though her mind was changed by a sudden and devilish incident. Stooping to pick something up during a card game, she noticed the visitor had hooves rather than feet! “Upon hearing Lady Anne’s screams, the stranger made for the exit, shooting through the roof in a ball of flames” writes Mansion Global. From that moment on, Loftus Hall could count Lucifer himself among those signatures on the guest book.
Poor Anne was so shaken she reportedly lived on at the Hall after her end as a ghost. Though the tale grew even sadder and scarier as the building was worked on during subsequent years. Smithsonian Magazines writes that renovations apparently “unearthed the remains of a young infant hidden in the walls of the tapestry room, where Anne was supposedly isolated after her brush with the devil.” Could the truth have been less Satanic and more soap opera? Did Anne actually get pregnant out of wedlock, wishing a relationship with the stranger that was shut down by her family? Photos below from Loftus Hall.
The Quigleys have owned Loftus Hall since 2011, and pay tribute to the mansion’s eerie heritage. The Hall offers an array of supernaturally-themed experiences. As the Irish Times reports, Aidan’s daughter Lia’s “turn as a Communion-dress clad child that would appear to walk through walls has been Oscar-nomination worthy, he says, and had many of the €75 per head visitors blanching at the sight of her.”
Originally paying around $800,000 for the crumbling pile, Shane and Aidan carefully renovated the structure. This mammoth task included “repairing the roof and restoring the great hall’s Italian staircase and stained-glass skylight” according to Smithsonian Magazine. “Though they intentionally preserved certain historical features, like the house’s peeling wallpaper, they also added modern amenities such as a café and a reception area.”
“It was like the Marie Celeste” Aidan Quigley tells Mansion Global. “We wanted to preserve that — we hadn’t any money to do anything else, but also because it’s what people connect to”. He freely admits the property has been a money pit. The article writes, “you can’t get into some rooms because the floors have gone.” 97 of the windows on Loftus Hall’s 3 storeys are boarded up. $400,000 + is needed to bring them back to their sparkling best.
No surprise for a building with such an extensive history. The current Hall was put up by the 4th Marquess of Ely (John Henry Wellington Graham Loftus) in the late 19th century. Though as Mansion Global notes, “The house has its origins in the 12th century, and has historic connections including the Normans, Oliver Cromwell and Queen Victoria.”
Speaking of Queen Victoria, she plays a key but inadvertent role in the story. In fact the Marquess reimagined Loftus Hall in her honor. The unamused ruler was set to visit the Peninsula, though plans were called off, leaving the family with a crippling renovation bill!
In later years it became a convent and a hotel. Future author Eoin Colfer spent some time there as a teenage employee. When he was thinking of inspirations for Fowl Manor in his ‘Artemis Fowl’ book series, Loftus Hall sprang to mind. In 2017 horror film ‘The Lodgers’, starring David Bradley (‘Harry Potter’, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Doctor Who’) was shot on the grounds.
The Quigleys have had their ups and downs with Ireland’s most haunted mansion. While their bank manager may breathe a sigh of relief that they’re selling it on, the family are aware of the mansion’s importance. Aidan tells Mansion Global: “we bought it, we didn’t inherit it. This building will stand well after I’ve gone.”
For more information please visit Loftus Hall.
Steve Palace is a writer and comedian from the UK. He’s a contributor to both The Vintage News and The Hollywood News and has created content for many other websites. His short fiction has been published by Obverse Books.