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Paranormal Investigation 88
The country-styled house with castellated decoration is situated near Balbriggan, County Dublin, and is set in 200 acres of public parkland. The ‘castle’ was originally called ‘Prospect House’, the central section built under the supervision of Reverend Robert Taylor in 1738, with the west and east wings added in the late 1800s. Previously, the land was owned by Robert Usher – a wine merchant. When Taylor bought the land it was largely wooded (hence, the name Ardgillan, deriving from the Irish ‘Ard choill’ meaning High Wood), so he employed ex-service soldiers and itinerant labourers to clear-out the timber. They were paid one penny and given one meal a day, as well as being provided with sleeping accommodation. Robert lived a solitary life, spending most of his time writing sermons. Reverend Edward Taylor (Roberts grandnephew) and his wife Marianne St Leger occupied the house in 1807. It was during this period that the house was castellated and extended. The family mixed with the social elite, holding society balls at Ardgillan, alongside attending dinners at Newbridge House, Malahide Castle and Hampton Hall. The house remained in the Taylor family until 1962 when the estate was sold to Heir Henrich Potts – a German industrialist. It was then purchased by Dublin County Council in 1981, and is now under the ownership of Fingal County Council. It was officially opened to the public in 1992. Ardgillan Castle is three-story over basement house, with landscape grounds overlooking a restored walled garden. Formally, the ground and first floors were the living accommodations for the family/owners, while the west and east wings were servants’ quarters and estate offices. The basement consisted as a Service Floor, Kitchen and Stores. The Dining Room features carved oak panelling by Italian brothers Guardorici, dated 1889. The Taylor Family crest is cut into the wood.
Lord Langford of Summerhill House in County Meath brought his newly wed wife, Lady Louisa Augusta Connolly to Ardgillan Castle as he went on a hunting trip in Scotland. Against the advice of the Taylors, she went swimming (November time) in the sea and drowned. Her body was found a few days later. Lady Louisa is now believed to haunt the castle and the nearby ‘Lady Stairs’, and has become known as the ‘Lady of the Stairs’. She has also been referred to as the ‘White Lady’, because of the all-white dress she is wearing when appearing to witnesses. ‘Uncle Ned’ as he is known, is said to be the ghost of Reverend Edward Taylor. Edward is reputed to have died in the corner of the Dining Room, reading from the Bible. He collapsed, after having a heart attack, which resulted in the Bible falling to the ground. ‘Uncle Ned’ still walks the corridors, looking for his Bible, and has been seen by the Yew Walk in the castle demesne. Finally, one of the rangers at the estate had allegedly encountered the Banshee on his walkabout. She asked him for a comb, so he gave her one, but never saw it again.