The layout of Inch Abbey is in the shape of a cruciform and the east wing, still standing today, features striking examples of early Gothic architecture - particularly the arched windows. Inch Abbey was inhabited by monks who came to Ireland from Furness Abbey in Lancashire, and they enforced strict laws that actually forbade the Irish from entering the abbey; in 1318 the monks were allegedly accused of hunting local people with spears in an attempt to keep them from straying too close to the Abbey.
Throughout the years there have been stories of odd occurrences around the Abbey, and many locals believe it is haunted. Spectral monks have been glimpsed in the mist as it rises over the banks of the river. It is thought there was once a causeway across the river, linking Inch Abbey to the Mound of Down, and there are various accounts from locals of shadowy figures seen moving in the mists offshore, as though walking on the surface of the dark water…
|A View from a Hill: Down Cathedral as seen from Inch Abbey|
|The Parish Graveyard by Inch Abbey|
In more recent times the Abbey and parts of the surrounding area have been featured as locations in Game of Thrones; most notably in series one and two when it provided the backdrop for ‘The Twins’, Walder Frey’s castles in the Riverlands. It is here that Lady Catelyn Stark learns of the execution of her husband Eddard and vows revenge...
While exploring the ruins, my friends and I encountered a local man walking his dog. He took pleasure in telling us about the time he was walking around the ruins in the ‘wee hours’ (very early morning, just after midnight) and came upon a child’s doll. As a joke he hid it in one of the windows of the tower but was chilled to the bone when, returning to the ruins the following night, he noticed the doll had moved and was now peering out of the window at him… He added that while he didn’t believe in spirits, spectres, fairies or 'little men', the place holds something of a creepy reputation amongst those who live nearby, and people avoid it after dark.