HALLOWEEN is just around the corner and to celebrate the spookiest time of year, Tourism Northern Ireland is encouraging everyone to have a bewitching time and explore the frightfully haunted places and skin crawling events that are available all over NI.
Whether you are planning a short break or dress-up days away with your little wizards and witches there are lots of great happenings to choose from including fireworks displays, spooky tours and fancy dress competitions.
There is something for everyone and thrill seekers are sure to find something that’s spine-tinglingly good explained Tourism Northern Ireland’s Destination PR Officer Pauline Gormley.
“Halloween is celebrated all over Northern Ireland and is the perfect time of year to dress up and explore all the wickedly wonderful spooky goings on that are happening with friends and family,” said Pauline.
“Whether it’s creepy castles or haunted hotels that you would like to visit or perhaps something a little less spooky and more suited to families, there is something to suit everyone this Halloween.
“We’ve put together a terrifyingly good list of just some of the events and would encourage everyone to check out what’s happening in their local areas for some guaranteed fun,” added Pauline.
To help get you started, Tourism Northern Ireland has put together a list of spooky events to make sure you get into the Halloween spirit:
The Dark, Dark Room, The Mac, Belfast, October 24 – November 1. Bring your little ghouls, ghosts and goblins along to The Mac in their best fancy dress to explore this Halloween sound installation.
Halloween Monster Mash, Titanic Slipways, Belfast, October 31, FREE event. Head along to Belfast’s biggest Halloween celebration featuring haunting street theatre, fire jugglers, music and an impressive fireworks display.
Paranormal Tours at Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, 15-31 October. This special edition 60 minute tour will take you to the various hot spots of the Gaol where Paranormal Activity has been reported and the guide will tell you of the harrowing stories associated with these areas. There have been sighting, noises and unexplained happenings within the walls that have seen 17 men executed over its 150 year history.
Broomstick Belle Steam Train, Belfast, October 31. Ghosts and ghouls of all ages are invited to come along in seasonal costume to sample the unique steamy atmosphere aboard this Steam Trains Ireland trip from Belfast Central Station to Whitehead and back. Children with a ticket receive a Halloween themed Spooky goody bag from the Wicked Witch.
Little Spooks at the Navan Centre, Armagh, October 29 – November 1. Have spooktacular fun as you meet with Hansel and Gretel at the witch’s house in the woods. Visitors should beware of what could be lurking in the trees and enjoy the interactive ‘Billy Bones’ games and activities.
Halloween Arts and Crafts Club, Palace Stables, Armagh, October 29. Children can unleash their creative side at the Palace Stables by experiencing hair raising fun with arts and crafts workshops as well as action packed games and entertainment.
Hallowtides Festival, Newcastle, October 31, FREE event. The popular seaside town will host a jam-packed calendar of frightful events as part of its annual Halloween celebrations. Go along to experience live music, a fancy dress competition, themed float parade and one of the area’s largest
Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, every weekend throughout October (excluding 17 and 18). Visitors can pop along and enjoy some autumnal fun with their ‘little spooks’ such as popping into the café to dunk apples in molten chocolate before playing conkers.
Pumpkinfest, Castle Ward, Downpatrick, October 24 and 25. Kick your half term holidays off with a bang at this year’s Pumpkinfest where families can choose their favourite pumpkins, scoop out the insides and draw on their own unique designs before handing them to expert carvers to complete before taking home. Visitors can also create their own spooky scarecrow to enter into the scarecrow pageant with some fantastic prizes. Other activities running across the weekend include organic pumpkin soup sampling, an autumn trail and horse and carriage rides.
Halloween at the Outlet, Banbridge, October 30. Come along to The Outlet in Banbridge for a spine-tingling Halloween. Enjoy a fun filled evening packed with creepy characters, fair rides, costumes and spot prizes.
Scary Newry Halloween Festival, Newry, October 26 – November 1. Discover Newry’s most famous ghosts and grisly history with Newry City Tours. Choose between a Pyschic Ghost Walk which ends in the haunted tunnels beneath the city streets and the kid-friendly Children’s Ghost Walk, which follows a ghost buster on an adventure through Olde Newry in search of ghouls and ghosts.
The Dark Side of Ballycultra, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, October 28 – 29, 6.30pm and 8pm. This is a rare and unique opportunity to visit the museum at night and hear lots of spooky stories from members of staff who will take participants through their experiences of ghostly happenings. Children must be over 12 years.
Visitors should also come along on October 31 for the Halloween Family Festival where they can embark on a mysterious adventure through the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum Cultra’s misty rural dwellings and dark train carriages.
Share Halloween Howler, Lisnaskea, October 29 – 31. This spectacular event promises to entertain the whole family with lots of frightful fun and hair raising activities. One of the highlights of the experience will be a Ghost Ship where there will be storytelling, games and ghoulish snacks on board.
Halloween Fest and Craft Fair, Florence Court, Demesne, Enniskillen, October 25. Come along for a hair raising, fun filled afternoon where families can meet the gardener to discover what it takes to grow the perfect pumpkin or even take a spooky house tour to meet the ghosts and ghouls of Florence Court.
Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry~Londonderry, 29 October – 1 November. This world famous celebration of Halloween will allow revellers to experience creepy GhostBus tours, night-time markets, thrills and spills galore, with a week-long hive of devilish activities that everyone will adore.
Attractions include the Trail of terror, Awakening of the Walls, Hall of Horror and a Family Funday with fortune telling, scary storytelling, dance performance, arts and crafts, games, apple bobbing, gunge dipping and much more. Key highlights of this festival include the world famous spooktacular carnival parade- the biggest in Europe, culminating in the explosive fireworks cascade.
The Rise of the Ghostly River Gods will also offer a packed programme of events which includes the Chateau le Fear which will bring a trail of terror to Ebrington from October 16th to November 1st.
Halloween Day Tours to Derry~Londonderry, October 30 and 31. Ulsterbus Tours have teamed up with Visit Derry to offer exciting days out to celebrate the spooky season taking revellers straight to the heart of the action on one of their luxury coaches. For further details go to www.translink.co.uk/Special-Offers/halloween-daytours-to-derry~londonderry.
Haunted House on the Hill, Springhill, Moneymore, 29-31 October. Not for the faint hearted, this is for people brave enough to visit one of Ireland’s most haunted houses. Aimed at adults, this event allows people to experience the spooky story behind the house and encounter witnesses of the headless horseman and will be tasked with navigating their way through ancient woodlands amidst freshly dug graves.
Halloween Torchlight Tours at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, October 29-31. Take your friends and family along to a tour of the outdoor museum where you can listen to ghost stories as the darkness falls.
Pumpkins and Potions, The Argory, Dungannon, October 24 – 25. Come dressed in your most frightening costume and enjoy a weekend of family fun. Go along with your family to enter the spooky shed for ghoulish tales and a creepy Halloween trail.
Fright Night at the Courthouse, Cookstown, 22-31 October. This Halloween, the Old Courthouse, located on Chapel Street, Cookstown will be opening its doors from October 22nd for a frightful fear fest. The team behind the popular Crumlin Road Gaol, is bringing Belfast’s number one scare attraction to Cookstown for the first time. The special event will also give visitors a chance to see inside the Old Courthouse building – but be warned to expect some scares along the way.
There are lots of places all over NI which are rumoured to be haunted and Tourism NI has put together a list of these below:
Haunted Hotels and Castles
Ballygally Castle Hotel on the North Coast is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous haunted hotels. A ghost called Isabel Shaw is said to wander the corridors at night knocking on guests doors and giving them a fright. Visitors who are feeling particularly brave can request to stay in the ghost room.
The White Horse Hotel in Derry/Londonderry is rumoured to be haunted by a mail stage coach whose driver pulls up and enters the hotel only to then mysteriously disappear.
Dunluce Castle was once the scene of a tragic accident as a few centuries ago the kitchens slipped into the sea below and took some members of staff fell to their deaths. It is reported that on certain nights you can still hear the screams of the people as they fell to their watery graves.
Carrickfergus Castle is said to be haunted by Button Cap who carries his head under his arms as he walks through the battlements. Dobbins Inn, also in Carrickfergus, is said to be haunted by his girlfriend.
In Mullanakill, Co Armagh, there is said to be the ghost of a headless horse. It is claimed that Sir William Verner took his trusty steed Constantine to battle in the Napoleonic Wars and when it was killed in action, he brought it home to bury in the family graveyard.
Tollymore Forest Park is haunted by the Blue Lady, a former resident in the seat of the Roden family at Tollymore House. Visitors have reported spotting the ghostly vision wandering through the forest park and along the tree lined avenue.
Beware if you are taking a walk through the Mourne Mountains as legend says that the Slieve Binnian light will block the path of unsuspecting walkers to steer them away from the haunted trees near Spelga Dam where it is claimed that an Irish Chieftan is buried.
There have been reports of ghostly sightings at Bogey Hill which overlooks Newcastle Harbour. A fishing disaster occurred in 1843 and since then, sightings have been reported of a grieving woman dressed completely in black, sobbing and looking out to sea in the hope of seeing her loved ones.
Sightings of a huge black dog have been seen at St John’s Church, Newcastle and the dog is said to have eyes of blazing fire and gleaming white teeth.
Mussenden Temple which is situated on the Downhill estate on the Causeway Coastal Route is said to have blood appear on the floor only to mysteriously disappear within minutes.
Newcastle Harbour is the location of many spooky legends including a banshee which has been seen walking silently among the tied up boats and lobster pots. Locals have described the banshee as a small woman with a high pitched voice.
For more details on these and other events click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/events, visit your local tourist information centre or log onto www.facebook.com/discovernorthernireland.