By Allen Foster
John Francis Byrne wrote a curious account of a haunted Dublin house in his 1953 memoirs The Silent Years. It occurred in 1902, when Byrne was at university in the city.
As Byrne, his sister and two cousins were in ‘digs’ the group agreed it might be cheaper to rent a house and began searching for a suitable one.
At the end of the year they heard about a vacant house on Cork Hill, about 150 yards from the entrance to Dublin Castle and almost directly opposite City Hall.
On inspection they found it was in quite good order, only needing minor improvements.
They did discover one unusual thing. In the top back room on the third floor someone had written ‘Ghosts’ in large letters over the mantelpiece.
However, this did not worry the four and they decided to take the property and sublet the lower floors as offices, and live on the top floor.
While they were inspecting the house they heard footsteps in other parts of the building and assumed it was other prospective viewers.
When they left the house they asked the auctioneer who had let them in, referring to the other people. To their astonishment, he said that no one else had gone in.
Undeterred, they four decided to take the house, as it was a bargain, and Byrne’s cousin, Mary, paid the year’s rent of £60 in advance.
She got the keys and later returned to the house to check areas that need repairs. While there she heard footsteps coming from the stairs. They were so loud she went down to the hall door to check if it was closed.
It was, as were all the windows.