I remember being told ghost stories when I was little. I think everyone loves a good ghost story and what better time to tell them than Halloween .Whether you are a believer or not, Tramore is filled with spooky stories that have been passed down through time. It was always part of our culture to tell stories and I don’t think we tell them as much anymore and unfortunately they get lost in time. Take for example The Haunted Well in Tramore. It is known by all the locals as the Haunted Well but I had to ask the question “why it was haunted and what haunts it?” Mostly the response was “oh it’s just haunted, I’m not sure why?”
Here are some of the stories I received and a huge thanks to everyone who kindly shared their stories/ memories with me. Even though most didn’t want a mention, I appreciate you all taking the time to talk to me.
When I was growing up in Tramore, I always remember the lights on The Prom being switched on. We were delighted as they brightened up the dirt track on Cliff Road – that’s all it was when I moved there, a dirt track, way different to what it is now. There were no lights back in my day, it was very dark, still as children we used to use the walk from Cliff Road past the well and up across the Doneraile. Girls our age used to work a lot, babysitting mostly and of course courting; you would always walk in pairs or meet friends passing through the Doneraile. One night, two of my friends who were coming from the Doneraile down the steps saw an old woman on the road by the well. They noticed she was a small woman or ‘low to the ground’ they used say. Anyway, they continued past her and quickly went up the steps which take you to Cliff Road and as they passed her they heard a scream like nothing they ever heard before. It scared them so much they ran all the way home. The woman believed what her friends heard that night was the scream of the banshee. They told her: “It’s something that stays with you for the rest of your life”. It’s like nothing you have ever heard and something you will never forget.” Those women never ever went near the place after that again. They was many sightings of the old woman. Most people found the steps scary, but she was always spotted on the road by the well. I also want to mention that we had the driest of summers but that well never ran dry. Times may have changed and the area is now well lit up, and our road certainly isn’t a dirt track but people are still scared passing the well at night. There have been so many stories and sightings since my time, but I pity anyone who’s unfortunate enough to hear her cry. (Around the late 1930s)
We were two young lads who used to love cycling into Tramore, going everywhere on our bike, how we hated those steps, always having to carry the bikes up and down them. It was worth it for the girls you would meet on the Doneraile! It was always busy with people walking or cycling. We all met up and had fun. One night we stayed later than usual, chatting up girls of course, but we were always scared when we had to pass the Well. Everyone knew it was haunted and we used run down those steps as fast as we could with our bikes. It was always such a scary place anyway but on this night it had been raining and was wet and foggy. We were going so fast I just heard my friend say “who’s that?” and there was an old lady just standing on the road. We were soaked cold and wet carrying our bikes. Given the bad night that was in it my friend turned his flash lamp towards her. What we both remember is that as the lamp shone on her legs and shoes she looked like she was dry. Her shoes were shining but we both remember they looked dry. My friend moved the bike a little as the lamps would be on the bikes back then and they were heavy and when he tried to shine the light on her again she had suddenly disappeared. We both just ran up those steps to Cliff Road as fast as we could and never looked back. We avoided going that way as much as we could from that night on. We still wonder how her shoes were dry. (Around the 1960s)
Sightings of an old woman with a shawl seem to the most vivid story I remember my parents talk about. Everybody who passes through the Well got scared, you felt that cold chill. Why we were scared we don’t know but it had to be the scariest of places to pass and still is. Loads walked the Doneraie back then during the day but by night you wouldn’t go near it.
Another story said that a screaming woman can be heard, as well as the appearance of a small girl. Seemingly horses used to be tied up along that wall years ago and a little girl was killed by an accident or one got lose. It’s presumed the mother is crying for her lost child.
More recent stories all suggest sightings of an old woman, and how the Well is haunted and scary but nowadays we don’t want to scare our children. Honestly when I asked you for your spooky stories on the Haunted Well, I didn’t know I’d get some freaky, scary stuff! Glad I had the photos taken before I knew the stories and thank you all again.
While receiving stories on the Haunted Well I thought this was worth sharing also:
I remember courting in the Doneraile and, not to be rude, but if you got the girl to cross over the fenced area, you were lucky. This was a no go area and quite dangerous to be honest when I think of it now. It was all railed off for safety, but it was known to all of us who were courting as a lovers nest. Anyhow, this one night me and my girlfriend were in the nest when all of a sudden we heard these moans and heavy breathing (not what you think) like someone climbing the cliff, hanging on for dear life. Now no one could have come up that cliff, it was so dangerous. We both watched and out of nowhere we saw a shadowy figure moving in the grass like that of a soldier crawling. Suddenly he was gone. The fence started to rattle as if someone was climbing over it. We got out of there as quick as we could. We jumped the fence and ran to the path but we will never forget the echoes of moans and screams we heard. We were told that what we heard was a scream of a fox but we know what we saw and I don’t believe any fox climbed up that side of the cliff. I believe ghosts of the Seahorse shipwreck roam the Doneraile grounds. I still wonder could we have seen a ghost of the Seahorse tragedy where 363 souls lost their lives? I always say a prayer now at the monument and think of those who lost their lives. I know what we heard and saw that night and whatever it was it was scared and in pain.
These stories are not for the faint hearted…there goes my visit to the Donearile to look at the stars!! I wonder just who is haunting the Doneraile?!