What ghost story is complete without the wails of a long-lost spirit roaming the halls of a dark and eerie castle?
Our cruises feature excursions to some of the most magnificent and haunted castles of Europe, many of which possess elements of the supernatural.
A Leap of Faith
Leap Castle is one of Ireland’s most famous sites for ghosts, with a history of bloody family rivalries that is deeply embedded in the country’s extensive mythology. It is one of the daily excursions offered by the 10 passenger Shannon Princess, cruising along the River Shannon through Ireland’s spectacular countryside.
According to legends, the castle’s ghoulish saga began centuries ago when two brothers, contesting the chieftainship of their family, challenged each other to leap from a rock where the castle was to be built. The survivor would get to govern the clan. There followed a history of carnage that included the murder of a priest at “The Bloody Chapel,” where, some claim, his apparition can still be seen wandering.
But take heart! During the cruise, guests will also be treated to another kind of spirit – a private tasting at the Kilbeggan Whiskey Distillery – the world’s oldest distillery & one of the most haunted castles in Europe? Not a bad day out!
France also houses many of the haunted castles of Europe. Offering centuries of dramatic history, the Renaissance Château d’Ancy-le-Franc is renowned for its remarkable collection of mural paintings. Located in Burgundy, this stately residence is considered a masterpiece of architecture. It is also the final residence of Diane de Poitiers, the famous mistress of France’s 16th century Henry II; local legends claim that her ghost still roams its countless rooms.
A private tour of the château’s myriad, intricately decorated rooms and vast, elegant gardens brings to life the opulent world of France’s nobility.
Meanwhile, guests aboard the 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland and the 8-passenger Scottish Highlander can visit Cawdor Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, one of the bard’s most bloody plays, where witches and ghosts figure prominently. These cruises also visit the mystical battlefield of Culloden, site of the Highlands’ bloodiest conflict, and Glencoe, known for the infamous massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. Visitors say they can still hear the soldiers’ cries and the skirl of the pipes on the plaintive winds.
With so many castles and majestic homes throughout Europe that are rich in mythology and local lore, it’s fair to say that you will hear stories of ghosts and haunted spirits on whatever cruise you take with us. The most important thing to remember is that, at the end of the day, you will return to the barge for a delicious gourmet meal, exceptional wine, and great company to help refresh and fortify you for the next day’s adventure!