The Quay in 1890.

The Quay in 1890.

A claim was made this week that the Quay in Waterford city is haunted and is regularly walked by the ghosts of long ago citizens and sailors. The person who made the claim asked not to be named but says he is a non-practising medium who has an unasked-for and unwanted ‘psychic window to the afterlife’.

After hearing persistent rumours of ghostly happenings, he decided to mount a night-time vigil and, on two recent occasions, he saw shadowy images of tall ships in the river and of men in old-fashioned attire who appeared to ‘float’ along the Quay.

When asked did he attempt to make contact with the ‘floaters’, the man replied that it was not wise to interfere with the dead. However, he pointed out that the images he saw might not have been ghosts at all. According to him, they may well have been images of long ago scenarios that occur through a natural phenomenon that sees people and places locked in time and replayed again and again but at irregular intervals.

“Despite what the sceptics say, ghosts do exist. For the most part they are benign but they are best left alone unless they actually try and make contact”, he said. “But the apparitions currently taking place on the Quay are more likely to be ‘recordings’ trapped in time”, he continued. “They are nothing to be concerned about just like images on video and films are nothing to be afraid of. The big mystery is that we don’t know what triggers off these images.”

Strange images

Our caller claimed he had been alerted to the situation by an acquaintance, a long distance lorry driver, who had witnessed the strange images as he drove along the Quay en route to Rosslare. The acquaintance claimed that other truck drivers had also witnessed the ‘ghosts’ and that many of them now avoided Waterford at night if at all possible. “I know drivers who, having been scared in the past, now go to great lengths to get through Waterford city in daylight before pulling in for a break”, said the driver.

When it was pointed out to the ‘medium’ that most people would be very reluctant to believe his tale, the man said quite a few of the city’s taxi drivers had also seen ‘strange things’ on the Quay but were keeping their mouths shut for fear of losing business or of being ridiculed.

The ‘Munster Express’ approached several taxi drivers who agreed to comment as long as their anonymity was respected. Describing the story as ‘rubbish’, one said he regularly drove around Waterford at all hours of the night and morning and had never seen or heard anything ‘stranger than myself’. However, another man said he had heard of sightings by other drivers and a third man said he ‘might have seen something once’ and, since then, he avoided a particular section of the Quay at night, especially if he was alone in his car.


Perennial question

So, could there really be such things as ghosts? It is, of course, a perennial question that has been pondered upon for thousands of years. There were and are former employees of The Munster Express and other businesses along the Quay who always swore that, in particular, the section from Hanover Street to Gladstone Street was haunted and we have a current employee who is adamant that she personally knows a house in the city that is definitely haunted.

The common perception is that most people regard such talk as ‘stuff and nonsense’ yet, when one talks to people on an individual basis, the story is altogether different. Call it superstition, folklore, quasi-religious or whatever but a significant majority of people refused to discount the possibility that ghosts do exist.

In a straw poll involving 100 people who work in the Quay area, a whopping 60% said they definitely believed in spirits and ghosts; twenty-five per cent said they did not believe while fifteen per cent said they were undecided.