Dublin’s Darkside: 5 Frightfully Good Things to See and Do in Dublin

From chilling hauntings to thrilling bus tours, we’ve tracked down some of Dublin’s spookiest attractions for you to experience the next time you visit the Irish capital.

Planning a trip to Ireland soon? Sink your teeth into these top Dublin tours and haunted hotspots…

Malahide Castle

In its 800 year history,  Malahide Castle has generated plenty of spooky stories – and tonnes of tales of unusual, paranormal activity. In fact, the castle, located on Dublin’s north side is said to be home to no less than six ghostly residents.


One of the castle’s most frequent visitors is Puck, the ghost of a jester who fell in love with a woman named Lady Elenora Fitzgerald. Over the years, many workers and visitors have reported seeing Puck and have even captured his face in photographs taken in the castle.


Then there’s the story of Miles Corbet who was sentenced to death for crimes committed during Cromwellian times. His ghost often appears as a soldier on horseback before dramatically dissolving into separate pieces.


This Halloween, the castle is hosting a special Scary Tales event for all ages.  For further information on haunted Halloween tours, visit Malahide Castles and Gardens.

The Gravediggers Pub

Founded in 1833 by John Kavanagh and still run by descendants of the same family, it doesn’t take a genius to work out how this Dublin pub became known as The Gravediggers.


Located right next door to Glasnevin Cemetery, various urban myths have sprung up over the years including stories of a secret hatch where workers from the cemetery would be passed sneaky pints of stout.


One legend that endures is that the bar is haunted by the ghost of an elderly man.  Well-dressed, wearing spectacles and a pointed beard, he’s often spotted sitting at a corner table enjoying a pint…that is until you go to speak to him and he vanishes into thin air.


Ghost stories aside, The Gravediggers prides itself on serving some of the best, creamiest pints in all of Dublin and its interior retains many unique original features. The bar’s no music or television policy makes this an excellent choice for anyone looking to experience a quiet pint in authentic surroundings.


Address: John Kavanagh, The Gravediggers, 1 Prospect Square, Dublin 9.

Marsh’s Library

Situated beside Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and dating back to the turn of the 18th century, Marsh’s Library is Ireland’s oldest public library. Here, chilling tales aren’t confined to the pages of the library’s book collection.


The 300 year-old building is said to be haunted by its founder, then Archbishop, Narcissus Marsh.


With its towering bookcases and antique rolling ladders, not to mention Victorian ‘reading cages’ it certainly looks the part.


Why haunt the library? The story goes that Grace, Marsh’s beloved 19-year-old niece, who he’d raised from a child and was then working as his housekeeper, fell in love and planned to elope with a man he deemed unsuitable.


The morning she and her lover fled, Grace wrote a note for her uncle, explaining her decision and asking for forgiveness. Hoping the Archbishop would not find it in time to stop her, she hid the note in one of the thousands of books in his library.


Marsh died without ever finding the note, and to this day, his ghost searches high and low, slamming desks, rattling the reading cages, feverishly flicking through row upon row of books.


And the intrigue doesn’t end there. The fact that Dubliner (and Dracula author) Bram Stoker regularly popped in to browse and borrow definitely adds to the library’s gothic mystique.


Address: Marsh’s Library, St Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8, free entry.

The Gravedigger Ghost Bus Tour

Scaredy cats need not apply. This one is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Taking place under the cover of darkness, this spine-tingling two-hour bus tour kicks off at Trinity College Dublin, where grisly tales of plague and medieval squalor set the scene.


From here, the blacked-out bus trundles on to St Audoen’s Church, the former site of the ‘black dog jail’, also known to locals as ‘Hell’. Next, come stories about ghostly goings-on at Kilmainham, Bully’s Acre, Croppies Acre and St Michans before a trip to Glasnevin’s Prospect Square, where you can stop by for a complimentary drink in the aforementioned Gravediggers Pub.


With talk of body snatchers still ringing in your ears, you arrive safely back to your starting point in Dublin city centre by around 10pm. Sweet dreams.


For bookings/further information, visit The Gravedigger Ghost Bus Tour

Dracula’s Dublin

Bram Stoker, author of Dracula was born in Clontarf, Dublin in 1847. Much of the Victorian Dublin he knew still survives to this day. Start your Stoker trail at his childhood home at 15 Marino Crescent in Clontarf or check out 30 Kildare Street, his Dublin city abode.


From here, head to the cobbles of Trinity College where a young Abraham Stoker received a BA in mathematics and was Auditor of the Historical Society and President of the Philosophical Society. Dublin Castle is next on the list – Stoker worked here as a civil servant.


It’s thought the surroundings may even have influenced Dracula’s fictional castle. Finally, round off your tour at St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, the beautiful baroque church where Stoker married Oscar Wilde’s ex-girlfriend, Florence Balcombe in 1878.


Flights to Dublin


- Fiona Hilliard