Dublin’s Haunted History

I’m so not one for organized tours or anything that involves a bus with other travelers, but with limited time in Dublin, I knew the GhostBus Tour was going to be my most efficient way of getting a taste of the city’s haunted history.

Dublin GhostBus1We weren’t going to sneak up on any ghosts rolling down the street in this giant bus.

With such a storied past, I had to assume that there was more to Dublin than Bram Stroker, the famous creator of Dracula. I don’t visit haunted houses or watch scary movies, but something about hearing real ghost stories ignites my curiosity. I’m not sure if I believe in paranormal activity, but it’s certainly something that I’m not ruling out. Therefore, I boarded the 9:30 pm GhostBus with an open mind.

Decorated like something out of a campy horror film, the bus had black-out curtains and spooky noises piped in through the speakers. I took my place on the top deck next to the window. Once everyone was on board, Nick, the leader of the tour, set the tone for the rest of the evening with his ominous voice, while the driver, Francis, also added to the show with sound effects.

Dublin GhostBus5The inside of the GhostBus

Nick’s a local actor and has been leading GhostBus Tours for fifteen years. In my opinion, he made the tour. With so many stories of its infamous citizens as well as the city’s sordid past, Nick gave me a vivid idea of what life was like hundreds of years ago in Dublin. I don’t want to ruin any of the tour, but don’t expect blood and guts or any sort of ghost hunting. The GhostBus Tour is more about creating suspense and retelling old spooky tales from centuries past with a little comedy thrown in for good measure.

Dublin GhostBus4Dublin’s City Gate

Throughout the two-hour tour, I learned a bit of the macabre history of old Dublin. With goosebumps-inducing stops at the Royal College of Physicians, Shelbourne Hotel, St. Kevin’s Cemetery, and the Gates of Hell, my mind was reeling with eerie thoughts. What I liked best about the GhostBus tour is that I wasn’t simply told stories while I was driven around. I was able to go into a few places the general public can’t. Nick had a key to the cemetery and to Dublin’s city gate.

Tales of of Dr. Clausey, Mary Masters, Father O’Hurley, Darkie Kelley, and the Green Lady gave me insight into Dublin’s dark history. On my last night in Ireland I didn’t sleep very well, but as Nick might say, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

Dublin GhostBus2

Thanks to the great folks at GhostBus Tours for providing this activity for me. As always, these are my opinions, and I was not spooked into writing a favorable review.

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25 Comments
  • @mrsoaroundworld
    October 30, 2012

    LOL, only a Halloween story by Leah, in Dublin, to make me smile today! Have you packed, Leah??

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      As a matter of fact, Mrs O, I’m about to start packing as soon as I catch up on all these comments! Haha!

  • Jackie D
    October 30, 2012

    I just did two ghost tours this past month, one in New Orleans and one in Savannah. Savannah’s was so good that I was terrified to turn off the lights in my hotel room for the rest of the night!

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      NOLA and Savannah are supposed to be two of the most haunted places in the world. I’ve done NOLA, in fact, there’s a great iPhone app for haunted New Orleans. I’ve not been to Savannah, but I really want to go, and when I do, I’m taking one of those tours.

  • Kieu
    October 31, 2012

    Yay, I love it! I like a tour when it’s got a twist to it and this is just perfect. We’re thinking of doing that ghost tour in Prague.. 😀

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      Ohhh…let me know if you do the ghost tour in Prague. I’d love to do it if we have time!

  • Francesca
    October 31, 2012

    I don’t do horror films, either, but something like this definitely interests me. Maybe it’s all the history that goes with the stories?

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      Yeah, it’s totally the history that makes it for me, Francesca. It’s kind of like the mob tour in Chicago I went on. The stories just fascinate me.

  • Hogga
    October 31, 2012

    Ooo I would like to do this!

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      I think you’d be a riot to go on this tour with. 🙂

  • The World Wanderer
    October 31, 2012

    I always wanted to do a ghost tour, but never did yet! This sounds fun!

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      Do it, but make sure you find a good one otherwise you’ll be forever ruined for doing something like this. They can go really wrong. This one is good, plus Dublin is pretty awesome.

  • Mandy
    October 31, 2012

    Thanks for sharing! We are thinking of doing a haunted ghost tour in New Orleans, but weren’t sure if it would be cheesy or not…this gives us hope!

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      No! Go to the NOLA one. Get the iPhone app, The Official Paranormal Guide to New Orleans. It’s pretty awesome to have when you’re just walking around the city.

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    November 1, 2012

    I’m not one for scary tours, but this one sounds fun. We are heading to Savannah in December and MJ swears she is getting me to go on a ghost tour…we will see….

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      Yes, DJ, you have to go. Savannah is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the world. I’d imagine all the Civil War stuff is cool to listen to along with the ghost stuff. You better go!

  • John
    November 1, 2012

    I did a tour like this in New Orleans, only with vampires. A little campy, yes, but it was also a great general history lesson on the city itself. It was like a much more exciting version of high school history class, but you know, with vampires.

    • Leah Travels
      November 1, 2012

      I think I know which tour you’re talking about in NOLA, John. And I agree, if I could have taken kids out to do stuff like this I might still be teaching.

  • lola dimarco
    November 2, 2012

    scary things are NOT for me. as i’ve mentioned before, i’m a scaredy cat!

    • Leah Travels
      November 4, 2012

      We’re doing the catacombs in Paris or Rome. The end!

  • Pola (@jettingaround)
    November 10, 2012

    I don’t usually associate Dublin with ghost stories, so this certainly gave me something to think about. The tour sounds interesting (minus the sound effects though…).

    • Leah Travels
      November 12, 2012

      Lots of murders and death in a city so old. I figure there’s got to be some ghosts wandering the streets.

  • Cait Power
    April 15, 2014

    I was living in Dublin for 7 years and I always meant to go on the Ghost bus, but never got around to it. After this I think i’ll add it to my list for my next trip home in May. Can’t beat a good scare. 🙂

    • Leah Walker
      April 20, 2014

      We often miss awesome stuff in our own backyard. I’d say it’s worth the time and money.

  • Jeff Titelius
    August 19, 2014

    Oh I would LOVE to do this tour. Sounds like such a fun time and you learn about Dublin’s haunted past! I bet access to the gate and cemetery were fascinating. I am ready for Halloween for sure!!

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