Richill Castle Investigation, Co. Armagh, January 2010
The first paranormal investigation of the year, my first as an official team member of BumpzInTheNite, took place at Richill Castle in County Armagh.
The land on which Richill Castle is built was part of the lands under the control of the chiefs of the clan O’Neill who were kings of Ulster and claimants to the high kingship of Ireland. In 1607 Earls Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell fled Ireland with a hundred or so lesser chiefs. The lands then became property of the English Crown.
Francis Sacheverell, the owner of lands in 1610, first built a house here. In 1660 the then owner Major Edward Richardson, an English officer who was M.P for Armagh and also High Sheriff of the County who was married to a descendant of Francis Sacheverell, decided to build a larger house on the lands. He designed and built an elegant and comfortable unfortified manor house and the lands surrounding it developed into a thriving village known as Richardson’s Hill. Over time this became shortened to Richill.
Members of the Richardson family were very high-profile and held in great esteem in the area, serving as M.Ps, as magistrates and military commanders, contributing greatly to the commercial and social life of the area. The wife of William Richardson, ‘Dolly’ Monroe, was a famous Irish society beauty.
In 1906 Major Berry owned and lived in Richill Castle with his wife Blossom. When Blossom died she was buried in the grounds, but on Major Berry’s death she was re-interred in Kilmore graveyard. In 1925 the Ministry of Labour in the Northern Ireland government used the castle as an agricultural college. The castle and lands later passed hands several more times until the present owners, the Lyttle family, purchased it. The Lyttles have restored much of the main building and gardens to its present appearance, but there is much more work and maintenance to be done to restore the building to its original grandeur.
Richhill Castle is so well-known for its ghosts that the Ulster Paranormal Society meets there regularly to experience the hauntings. Dolly Monroe, who was married to William Richardson, is its most famous ghost. According to the current owner, Gordon Lyttle, who has not seen any of the ghosts of the castle himself; “My sister-in-laws relatives have though – one of her sisters chatted to the spirit of a lady on the stairs and reckons it was Dolly. “I tend to resent the fact that people can see things, while I live here and I can’t. If they prove there is a ghost here I will accept it.”
We conducted our investigation by first doing a walk around so that we could familiarize ourselves with the building. After setting up our equipment including video surveillance cameras and a monitoring station we began the investigation proper. We started off in a room upstairs with a table in the centre. Both I and others in the group took turns to call out but with no reaction. I did feel footsteps on the floor boards at one point, but this could be attributed to somebody in habitation next door moving around, as the part of the building next door was part of the Lyttle’s private residence.
Next we investigated the ‘death room’, the room people inhabited when they were sick or dying. We conducted a séance here but had no activity to report. We did however find an interesting light anomaly in a photo taken of somebody sitting on the bed that almost looked like a smoky halo above his head.
We later investigated one of the bedrooms on the ground floor. Here a sensitive picked up on a little girl in long white socks standing near the window. However, he felt it was residual haunting, similar to a playback of a past event and as such there would be no response to our calling out.
We continued our investigation, repeating in the upper floor, but our endeavours were fruitless. Those in the monitoring station did record an unusual bang from the ‘death room’ when we were all in the room with the table which could not be accounted for and there were a few interesting light anomalies on the video footage, but other than that there was little of interest.
Throughout the investigation all members of the team spoke of feeling quite comfortable and at ease in the castle, nobody reporting any eerie presences.
On this occassion we had no activity of interest, but we will however return to Richill Castle to conduct further investigations. Spirits do not perform upon command, just as living people do not, so we hope to return to Richill Castle in the hope that they will one day be more cooperative with us.