Loftus Hall hosted overnight paranormal tours in October – but the haunted house is worth a visit to Wexford any time of year, writes Vickie Maye.
It's home to Ireland’s most haunted house. So where else would we opt to holiday over Halloween midterm? We booked into the Ferrycarrig, with a day trip to the ghostly Loftus Hall top of the itinerary.
Wexford’s Ferrycarrig, with its Halloween kids’ club, ticked every box for the younger ones, while Loftus Hall suitably scared the wits out of the eight-year-old — and the accompanying adults.
The old aristocratic building was the set for the recent Irish horror hit The Lodgers — and the second you reach the gates you see just why the location scouts signed up.
Stark, eerie, the driveway seems to bring you straight to the water. Inside, you begin the 50-minute tour with the ghost of a stately lord, just one of many characters you meet along the way — there’s a butler, a ghost, a spirit, even a priest to perform exorcisms. Always staying in character, somehow they manage to share the history and the folklore with good humour and genuine scares. Our group was a mix of laugh out loud laughter — and screams. This is one for older kids only.
It tells the story of the stormy night when a man came for refuge, his true identity only revealed when Lady Ann spotted his hoofed feet. Traumatised from the encounter, she was secluded in the tapestry room where even exorcisms couldn’t cure her.
It isn’t just for families though, for Halloween there were special all night lock ins, where waivers had to be signed. Paranormal experts were also on site — this was a serious week for ghost hunters. One for the calendar for next Halloween.
Entertaining younger kids? Head three kilometres down the road to Hook Head lighthouse. Even if you don’t do the tour, the playground, built into a wooden boat, will provide hours of entertainment.
Back at the Ferrycarrig there was a full itinerary for younger kids. We were greeted with a clown on arrival, making balloon animals on request. The club runs mornings from 9.30am to 12.45pm. There’s a room full of toys, colouring, arts and crafts and party games.
The all day pool opening hours for families (until 6.30pm) with a perfect kids pool depth, was another bonus. The kids’ club reopens at 7.30pm for two hours; we were also lucky enough to stay for the Halloween party — DJ and games, and even characters from Toy Story and Paw Patrol.
The menus were all designed with kids in mind too, the crowds around the pancake making machine at breakfast proof of its popularity. Later that evening we dined at Reeds. It’s more formal than the cosy bar option, but the children were made welcome and we were at our ease. While we savoured seafood and steak they lapped up burgers and chips with cookies and ice cream for afters.
The restaurant and pool/gym are built on such a level with the water that at times you feel you might be on a cruise ship. For the grown ups there’s a full schedule of gym classes, plus a relaxed residents bar with wall to wall brown leather sofas. Even the bar had a snug for adults only. The Ferrycarrig isn’t just for kids.
Still looking for extra activities? Try the excellent Kia Ora farm, or Wells house with its woodland walk dotted with carvings from the Gruffalo. Or for a piece of history try the Irish National Heritage Park with its crannogs and taste of life in ancient Ireland.
Just make sure Loftus Hall is top of the holiday list next Hallloween.
The Ferrycarrig has just launched a new Adventure Escape. They’ve teamed up with adventure suppliers in Wexford, offering everything from learning to surf or stand up paddling to sand-duning to archery or horse-riding. An overnight B&B stay based on two people sharing midweek is priced from €119, and at weekends from €169 per night.
Activities can be selected in advance and range in price from €9 to €30 per adult. Call 053-9120999 or see ferrycarrighotel.ie. The hotel also has Christmas and New Year packages: an all inclusive three-night Christmas package costs from €540 per person sharing, with two nights from €385 per person sharing