Ever since Loftus Hall allegedly hosted the devil himself in the late 18th century, this sprawling country house in Ireland's County Wexford has left locals terrified of its chilling ghost stories.
Ever since it was first built in 1350, Loftus Hall has remained an architectural marvel. Though this stunning Georgian mansion in Fethard-on-Sea, Ireland has long been revered for its beauty, it’s also inspired terror for its chilling tales of ghosts.
Legend holds that a mysterious man knocked on the door one night in 1775 and, though everything seemed normal at first, the family soon discovered that he was the devil himself. As the story goes, when the owner’s daughter saw his cloven hooves, she was traumatized for the rest of her life — and her spirit has wandered the halls ever since.
To this day, Loftus Hall’s most recent owners offer visitors haunted tours and spooky overnight stays. And though they put the 22-bedroom mansion on sale for $2.87 million in 2020, whoever owns Loftus Hall in the future must surely embrace its haunted legacy as well.
The Legend Behind The Haunting Of Loftus Hall
According to the stories that define Loftus Hall to this day, it was a dark Irish evening in 1775. The wind was howling as cold rain poured from the thundering skies — then came a mysterious rapping at the door.
The Tottenham family of Loftus Hall didn’t find this unusual, however, as their private shoreline was often used by sailors as a safe haven in stormy weather. They offered the man at the door shelter for several days. He befriended his hosts and took a particular liking to one of their daughters, Anne.
Soon, the group sat down to play a game of cards. It was then that Anne dropped her ring (or, by some accounts, a card), and saw something that changed her forever. Leaning down, she realized their guest didn’t have human legs — but cloven hooves, instead.
Anne screamed in terror as the visitor vaulted straight upward through the ceiling and out of the house. A loud clap of thunder erupted right after and a cloud of smoke appeared, leaving the family engulfed by the scent of sulfur. Just like that, the mysterious figure was gone, but Anne never recovered from the incident.
She went into seclusion in the Tapestry Room and died soon after. According to some, her spirit still wanders the halls.
However, there’s much more to Loftus Hall’s colorful history than tales of ghosts.
The History Of Loftus Hall Before And After The Ghost Stories Took Root
Originally, a Norman knight named Raymond le Gros built a castle on the Loftus Hall property in 1170. According to Atlas Obscura, he wanted to assimilate into Irish society, despite having tirelessly fought to conquer its people, and changed his name to Redmond.
When the Black Plague arrived in 1350, his descendants replaced the castle with the modern-day structure — a mansion then known as Redmond Hall. But during English leader Oliver Cromwell’s brutal conquest of the island in the 1650s, the Hall was seized for English usage and taken over by the wealthy Loftus family, turning Redmond Hall into Loftus Hall.
In the 1860s and 1870s, the building underwent extensive renovations. It was then that an infant’s remains were found hidden in the walls of the Tapestry Room. Some have theorized that the legend of the devilish visitor was fabricated to hide a scandalous truth: that Anne was impregnated out of wedlock, potentially by the visitor, and subsequently let her baby die.
With the renovations costing enormous sums and the Loftus bloodline dying out, the estate languished and was eventually put up for sale. Eventually, in 1917, a group of nuns took it over and held it for almost two decades. Then a second group of nuns moved in and held it until the 1980s. The estate has since passed through several private owners, with a brief stint as a hotel, all the while maintaining its status as the area’s most haunted house.
Ireland’s Most Haunted Estate Today
Current owners Shane and Aidan Quigley purchased Loftus Hall for $800,000 in 2011. Though the mansion retains a solid foundation, the current owners decided to give it a thorough renovation. But no amount of renovations has removed the property’s ominous character for locals.
With such an engrossing story on their hands, the Quigleys opted to use the legend to their advantage. From offering haunted tours throughout the property to overnight programs allowing people to experience the creaking residence for themselves, they’ve put the legend to lucrative use.
Despite all the recent renovations, the 27,124-square-foot property is in dire need of further renovation which will cost untold sums (replacing the 97 windows will cost an estimated $400,000). This is precisely why the Quigleys opted to sell Loftus Hall in 2020.
But even after it has sold, it’s likely the Quigleys won’t be able to shake the eerie feeling described by many who’ve stepped foot inside. As Aidan Quigley said, “There is always a feeling that you are not alone in Loftus Hall.”
After this look at Loftus Hall, read the true story of the Winchester Mystery House. Then, go inside the incredibly twisted murder hotel of H.H. Holmes.