As with anywhere in Ireland, Armagh City is riddled with urban legends and tall tales about years gone before. A conversation in the hairdressers got us talking about some of the most popular stories that haunt children and adults alike that have been passed down the years….
The Green Lady
Between the bricks of a house on Vicar Hill overlooking the city, is a green bottle containing the soul of a woman who has been named The Green Lady.
Although all renditions of the story seem to be a bit muddy (exaggeration makes everything better) the bare bones (excuse the pun) describes 21-year-old woman by the name of Bellina Prior, who killed a young girl Annie Slevin by drowning. This part is fact however as it was recorded in the local press in 1888.
After being sent off to a mental asylum for some years, Bellina emerged again in Dublin before being supposedly poisoned by her mother.
A flurry of stories have made the rounds about what happens when you go near the house, including having your eyes stabbed with fingernails if you look through the letterbox, and The Green Lady taking you away if you come too close to her house. Whispers of exorcisms and sightings have all been claimed, but I don’t think I’ll be investigating any of the accusations anytime soon.
The Red Rose Corridor
An unwritten induction to Year 8 in St. Catherine’s College is being told about why you aren’t allowed into the Red Rose Corridor at the very top of the school.
During the fire of February 1964, one of the nuns entered the elevator to go up to the Red Rose Corridor. Unbeknown to her, the blaze had begun and one of the students shouted to warn her. The nun poked her head out of the elevator and the doors shut, beheading her and leaving the body to travel to the top floor.
Some say if you are quiet enough you can hear her pacing the Corridor, and reports of students running up to see all the lights turn off and a feint figure appear in the distance…
The last person to be hanged in public in Armagh, Catherine McGlone was described as a local beauty, admired by many. She bore an illegitimate son, and upon falling in love with a soldier, seen her son as a problem. As a result, she drowned him in the local Callan River.
After her hanging, Catherine was burned at the stake and her ashes kicked around the local grass area of the Mall. She is said to haunt Armagh Gaol, walking around in white, looking for her love and feeling guilty for her crime.
TV series Northern Ireland’s Greatest Haunts came to the Gaol to try and capture this ghost on film along with many others, and there have been numerous claims of seeing and hearing Catherine wandering and wailing around the grounds.
Whether you choose to believe in them or not, these legends certainly create a good story, and a great source of threat for mothers in Armagh… “Watch yourself or I’ll get the Green Lady to take you away!!”
Lauren Toal is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University, Jordanstown. You can follow her on Twitter @laurentoal5 or reach out on LinkedIn at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/laurentoal.