Overlooking Lough Carra in County Mayo stands the burned out family manor of one of the most influential families in Ireland. A burned out shell that has touched on the worst parts of Irish history and was said to have been built on an ancient curse.
George Henry Moore was a prominent Irish Politician in the eighteenth century and both he and his descendants rose to distinction in military, political and cultural fields. Moore himself emigrated to Spain following the implementation of the penal laws and rose to prominence gaining a place in the Spanish Court. He set up a business trading in brandy and fine wines, which afforded him the luxury of having enough money to build his own mansion upon returning to Ireland.
With many sites to choose from, George Moore settled on Muckloon Hill overlooking Lough Carra. Locals vehemently warned against such a location as the land was deemed to be cursed. In around 400 A.D The King of Connacht, Brian Orbsen was slain by his enemies. The King’s Druid, Drithliu, however made good his escape. He sought sanctuary on Muckloon Hill but failed to outrun his pursuers who caught up with him and Drithliu bled out on the shores of the Lough.
The stubborn landowner went ahead regardless and Moorehall was built by Waterford Cathedral architect John Roberts, with Moore taking up residency in 1795. Shortly afterwards George Henry Moore suffered a stroke and was left blind. And so the curse of Moorehall had begun.
George’s son John trained as a lawyer and was made President of Connacht which was a Republic at the time of his commission in 1798. Unfortunately, his position was a short-lived affair following the appointment of Command-In-Chief of Ireland, the1st Marquess Cornwallis in direct response to the Irish Rebellion. John was arrested by the Lord Lieutenant and was given the death penalty. George Moore used some of his fortune to secure the best lawyers he could find and had his son’s sentence commuted to a deportation order. While on remand awaiting the transport ship John succumbed to the injuries he sustained in custody. Just a few months later George Moore was also dead. The curse had struck again.
The next owner of Moorehall was also named George Henry Moore. His money was made in horseracing yet not without tragedy. In 1845 his brother Augustus was jockeying a horse by the name of Mickey Free in the English Grand National. He fell from his horse during the race and died. George himself won the Gold Cup the following year and used the money to buy grain and cattle for his famine struck tenants. It was documented that not one of the people on Moore land became victims of the Famine.
George Augustus Moore was to be the last resident owner of Moorehall and the great grandson of the man who had built the very same. Born in 1852, he went on to study the arts and become a prolific writer as well as a founder of the Abbey Theatre. George’s social circle included Oscar Wilde, folklorist Lady Gregory and occultist and esteemed writer W. B Yeats, all regular visitors to his grand ancestral home.
While George was residing in England at the height of the Irish Civil War, the anti-treaty IRA took umbrage at his cousin Maurice’s political stance and after commandeering Moorehall, set the mansion with explosives and burned it out. Was this the final part of the curse?
The facade remains, exposed to the elements. Creeping tentacles of ivy crawl through the dark soulless voids where the windows once reflected the beauty of the sky and the Lough. If you pass through the undergrowth and the age weary tunnel at the rear of the once majestic building, you can see the lowest level of Moorehall, left much as it was in 1923, whatever remains within peering up into the twenty first century sky.
Visitors to the cursed site describe ominous sensations and the overwhelming feeling that they are being watched by some unseen presence. There have been reports of hearing children’s laughter and seeing shadows darting through the remaining structure. The woods themselves that encompass the fallen noble home are said to have an oppressive and foreboding silence within them.
Historic tragedy has befallen the residents of Moorehall over generations, which has directly led to accounts of paranormal activity within the ruins and the tale of a serpent like creature known as a péist dwelling in the waters of Lough Carra. It should also not be forgotten that the Moore family are interred close by in their ancestral vault. Included is John Moore who’s body was not located until the mid-twentieth century where he was brought home and laid with his kin following a full military send off.
So could the murder of an ancient Druid on Muckloon Hill have created a curse so strong that is has spiraled down through the centuries? Is part of that curse that the Moores’ remain in residence for eternity? No one will ever know for sure. No one but a Druid named Drithliu.