Haunted Happenings at Killakee

On the Killakee Road, across the road from the site of Killakee House, the former home of the Massys, are the steward’s house and stables. This House was built around 1765 by the Conolly family of Castletown as a hunting lodge. In the early part of the twentieth century, the house was visited regularly by George Russell , George Moore, W B Yeats and Katherine Tynan. It is said that Countess Markievicz recommended the house to men on the run from British forces, because its unexpected stairways, leading to convenient exits, made it an ideal hide-away. The Conolly family also built the nearby infamous Hell Fire Club.

 Steward's House Killakee 3

During the 8th Baron Massy’s tenure the house was the residence of his steward, Maurice Fox. Following the loss of Killakee House by the Massys in 1924, ownership of the steward’s house passed to Miss Margaret Fox, his daughter. In 1968 the complex was purchased by the O’Brien family and developed as an Arts Centre and tea-rooms. On April 29th 1970, the Irish Independent reported that Mrs. O’Brien, who had just spent two nights on her own in the house, had been terrified by noises each night, that her dogs were howling, “a weird howling, as if they were scared out of their skins”, and had discovered a great deal of damage throughout the house despite no evidence of a break-in. The O’Briens had experienced a number of mysterious happenings in the house since they moved in, in 1968.

The Black Cat of Killakee

The Black Cat of Killakee

Tradesmen, whom the O’Brien’s hired to undertake alterations, refused to stay in the house because of “ghostly” happenings, a freezing atmosphere, and a door that would not remain closed, even with an eight inch bolt in place.  One night, a carpenter saw the door opening to admit an enormous black cat “as big as an Alsatian” which glared fixedly at him and then disappeared. No one believed the story and, even when others saw the cat, the matter was treated as a joke. Some weeks later, when artist Tom Massy was helping with the final stages of decorating, he saw the cat crouched in the hall, its red flecked amber eyes fixed on him. He and another artist friend saw a small crippled man, 3 feet tall standing at the door of the hall and when the men retreated, the small man turned into a cat. When the noises at night made sleep impossible, it was finally decided to have the house exorcised in the early 1970s. Since then, the apparitions have not appeared, but there have been other ghostly happenings and poltergeist-like activity. It is not known if the house is still haunted.

In more recent years, the house became known as Killakee House and was turned into a restaurant but is now a private residence.

Sources: If Those Trees Could Speak by Frank Tracy and Knocklyon Past and Present by Pat Bradley et al.


2 thoughts on “Haunted Happenings at Killakee

  1. Pingback: 6th Class Tallaween Part Two – Kilakee House | St. Dominic’s National School

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