Boo-m! 1,000 seasonal jobs thanks to our love of a scare
HALLOWEEN and Ireland's love of the spook-tacular have delivered a surprise economic boom.
Almost 1,000 jobs have been created this month as Irish fright fans flock to a host of Halloween attractions ranging from US-style themed spook shows to tours of Ireland's most notorious haunted houses.
Malahide Castle, Renvyle House, Kilmainham Gaol, Charles Fort and Charleville Castle are all considered to be haunted and have been inundated with Halloween bookings.
Dublin's ghost walk and spooky bus tours have also reported record bookings this month. Loftus Hall in Wexford, famed for over 100 years as the country's most haunted building, has attracted 40,000 fans in its first year as a public attraction. Its permanent workforce of four will expand to 35 this month to cater for a flood of spook tourism.
"We're coming up to our first anniversary of being open to the public and the reaction has been absolutely incredible," said Loftus Hall tour manager Alan Boland.
"We are now running an average of eight tours a day, and this year we will have catered for 40,000 visitors. It has been incredible."
The Wexford mansion, located on the Hook Peninsula, is Ireland's most famous haunted house. Legend has it that it was visited by the devil in the guise of a shipwrecked young man in the 1770s.
The house is now supposedly haunted by the spirit of a young woman, Anne Tottenham, who starved herself to death after becoming mentally ill.
Loftus Hall's reputation was so eerie that it was the focus of repeated exorcisms in a bid to end its poltergeist activity.
An American-style attraction, the Nightmare Realm 'fright house' in Cork, has created 60 jobs and expects to host 50,000 visitors.
"Ghost stories are part and parcel of Irish heritage, and we see this as a continuation of that culture in a modern context," Ken Tobin explained.