I read about the legend of Loftus Hall years ago in a book that we had at home about Ireland. I was probably too young to be reading something like that at the time but it always stuck with me and I have wanted to visit it ever since. As recently as a year and a half ago I started reading up about it again and found out that it had been in a state of disrepair for years and was on the market. I had seen some photos that people had taken of the exterior all boarded up and this further fuelled my desire to see it in person and to see what was hidden away inside.
I had forgotten all about it until I was reading a leaflet about tourist attractions in Wexford when we arrived at our hotel and I saw Loftus Hall was one of them. It had been bought and opened for tours last October and I was determined for us to visit it while we were down there. Luckily it's just down the road from Hook Lighthouse so we visited it on our way home on the same day.
Our tour guide told us all lots of stories about the house that would make your skin crawl, especially while standing in those old dark rooms. The most well known story and the one I read about years ago, is that of the Tottenham family (Charles, his wife and his daughter Anne) who were staying in the house back in the 1700s. The story goes that one night a ship arrived at Hook Head and a man who was on the ship called to Loftus Hall and was invited to stay. After being there for a few days he struck up a rapport with Anne Tottenham and one evening the family sat down to play a game of cards. The man dealt a hand, but Anne was missing a card. She bent down to get it from beneath the table and noticed the man had a cloven hoof in place of a foot. She let out a scream which alerted the man to what she had seen and with that he disappeared through the ceiling in a cloud of smoke. Not long after the incident Anne was confined to her room after a breakdown and apparently she spent the rest of her short life staring out the window at the sea waiting for the stranger to return.
There's obviously a lot of speculation about the events that occurred and there are some theories that the young woman had some form of mental illness and the family were embarrassed and tried to explain it away with this story about the stranger.
I personally do believe in spirits, although I'm not completely convinced of this story. However some of the other ones we heard on the tour would really make you believe that something haunts the house. Either that or just a lot of very strange coincidences. Even if you didn't believe in all that, I challenge anyone to go through that house and not feel a tiny bit creeped out.
After the tour we walked down to the small beach beside the house. It happened to be a gorgeous afternoon and it made me feel a lot better after being freaked out by the house. If you get the chance, it's definitely worth seeing the inside of the house, the detail in the decor is unbelievable. The wooden staircase alone is worth seeing, it is one of only three made, the other two being in the Vatican city and on the Titanic.
If you want to see the interior, there are some really great photographs on flickr that someone took in 2008 where you can see the kind of state the place was in before it was finally sold. I loved looking through these photos as we only got to see certain rooms of the house because it's in such bad condition and is unsafe for visitors.
Would you be interested in visiting Ireland's most haunted house?