Haunted Stories

These stories were provided by Local Historian and Author Ruth Illingworth

Mount Street Along Mount Street, there is a building that was long known as “the haunted house.” The house (now a Chinese takeaway) has an upstairs window at which a face can be seen. It is said that the face belongs to a person who was leaning out the window looking at the execution of the wrongly hanged Brian Seery, when the window sill suddenly came down and broke the person’s neck. Seery was hanged in February 1846 outside the county jail at the bottom of Mount Street for the attempted murder of his landlord. The window is blocked off.

Arts Centre The Mullingar Arts Centre stands on the site of the Westmeath County Jail. Over the century in which the jail was in operation, many people were hanged there. Not surprisingly the Arts Centre is said to be haunted. Lights have come on and off without warning, doors have opened and closed of their own accord, music once started playing up in the top of the theatre and figures have been seen going through walls.

Bellview Clinic One of the oldest buildings in Mullingar is the former county infirmary on the Dublin Rd-now the Bellview Clinic. The place dates back to 1771 and was a hospital until 1936. It later became the County Library HQ. The place was said to be haunted. A figure in a nightgown was seen going through a wall on a couple of occasions. A library student was there late one evening studying in an upstairs room. She heard noises from below of books being shoved around and dropped. She assumed that it was the caretaker but when she was leaving she could not find him. The next day he told her that he had not been in the building that night. A priest was eventually brought in to bless the building and the ghost was heard no more.

Westmeath Examiner Office The Westmeath Examiner occupies a very modern building in Blackhall. But it stands on the site of a medieval monastic graveyard which belonged to the Dominican Order between 1237 and 1540 . Doors have opened and closed of their own volition and strange figures have been seen in the building late at night.

Railway Station Bridge The footbridge over the rail line at the Railway station-known as Scoutail Bridge is said to be haunted by the ghost of a railway employee killed in an accident there. There is also said to be a ghost along the old Galway line at Clonmore. This may possibly be the ghost of Thomas Anketell, the Station Master, who was murdered there in 1869.

Private Nooney During the First World War, hundreds of Mullingar men joined the British Army and fought on all fronts. Just after Christmas 1917,the mother of one soldier,Private Nooney,saw her son at the door of their house in Patrick Street. She called out to him and he vanished. A few days later the Nooney family got a telegram telling them that their son had been killed in Egypt.. He died around the time his mother saw him at the front door.

The Ghost in the Wardrobe Two children living in an old house near the town Park saw a ghost one night in their bedroom. An old woman wearing the clothes of the Victorian era appeared in the wardrobe. She said nothing but smiled at them. The children did not feel afraid of her and believed that she was a former resident of the house keeping a friendly watch over them.

The Mullingar Banshee In Irish tradition the banshee is a fairy woman who follows families of Irish origin and is heard and sometimes seen just before a family member dies. On one occasion a banshee was heard crying out near a house on the Green Rd in Mullingar. A woman in white was glimpsed sitting on the roof of the house combing her long hair. Soon afterwards it was learned that a person in the house had died. The banshee was also heard at a house in the Barrack Street area of the town. Also in Barrack Street,there was a case where a house was visited by a poltergeist.. Plates and cups were thrown around the kitchen and a chicken pulled from the oven and flung at the ceiling. The Barrack Street area is one of the oldest parts of town and was the site of a monastery and graveyard from 1227 to 1540

The Death Coach As in other parts of the country the roads in Mullingar’s rural hinterland were haunted by what was known as the death coach. Such a coach,often pulled along by headless horses and a headless coachman would be seen in an area where a death was imminent. When the coach stopped outside a house,someone inside was going to die. The coach was there to fetch the person’s soul.

The Phantom Priest One morning,parishioners gathered for prayer in the old cathedral which stood on the site of the present cathedral until 1936. A priest they had not seen before appeared and declared that he must say Mass-which he proceeded to do. As the Mass ended the priest suddenly vanished into thin air.

A Vision in the Sky John Cascani was a saddler and harness maker originally from Wexford who spent most of his long life living in Mullingar, where he worked in Loftus’s shoe shop beside Canton Casey’s pub. He served right through the First World War. One day in early November 1918,Cascani and his comrades were close to the town of Mons in Belgium-where soldiers had seen a vision of an angel, the “angel of Mons ” in the sky in the early days of the war in August 1914. Now, four years later, Cascani looked up and saw very clearly a vision of the Last Supper, with Christ blessing the bread and wine. To Cascani, this vision was a sign that the war would soon end and that Christ was blessing the world. Just a week later the Armistice was signed and the war was over. Cascani, who lived to be 101,would always remember vividly his vision of Christ and the Apostles in the sky over Mons in November 1918

The Story of Bobby Bawn For many years the ghost of a murdered landlord -Robert Rochford,known as “Bobby Bawn” because of his blond hair was said to haunt an area south of Mullingar called Dunboden. The story of Bobby Bawn begins in September 1797 outside the county jail in Mullingar. A man called Peter Dalton was about to be hanged for a crime he claimed he did not commit. As Sheriff of Westmeath, Bobby Bawn was supervising the execution. Dalton looked at him and said “Today it is me. Tomorrow it will be you.” A month laterRochfort was at home at his residence near Dunboden one night when there was a knock on the door. The butler answered and saw a strange man there who asked to speak to Rochfort. Bobby Bawn went out to meet him and a few minutes later the butler heard a scream and found Bobby dying on the doorstep. with his throat cut.. The strange man was never seen again. For many years afterwards the ghost of Bobby Bawn was said to haunt a road near Dunboden. One night a local priest called Father Shanley left a house in the area after visiting a parishioner. A few minutes later he returned and asked the parishioner to come with him, telling him that “the devil himself is down the road.” The tormented spirit of Bobby Bawn was in the middle of the road .Father Shanley confronted the ghost-telling his companion to stand within a circle around which he scattered holy water. The ghost of Bobby was whirling around in a sheet of flame getting angrier by the minute. Shanley threw holy water over the ghost and Bobby Bawn took off into the air in a burst of flame -eventually landing in Lough Ennell. The place where he landed, Rinn Point is said to remain disturbed to this day. Bobby Bawn was never seen around Dunboden again. His killer was never identified but is believed by some to have been the ghost of the wrongly hanged Dalton