Dublin is in the top five (maybe even top three) of cities I want most to visit next year when I am backpacking across Europe.
In addition to the fascinating history of this beautiful town (nearly everyone in the town lives close to a park, and the city council is adamant about providing public green space for everyone, and for planting thousands of trees every year), Dublin is one of the richest cities in the world!
As a writer and adventurer, I seek out the mysterious, and often I find myself in remote areas. One of the best remote areas that I can imagine visiting is one in Dublin where the haunted Marsh Library is located.
Of course, a ghostly entity inhabiting the library adds to the mysteriousness of the old building.
The library was built in 1701 by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh next to his home. Reportedly, although Marsh was considered a “brilliant scholar,” he was also known to be “eccentric and obstinate.” I can’t help but like him a bit because he used his own collection of books to furnish the library!
Marsh’s niece, Grace, came to stay with him and work as his housekeeper. After a time, Grace fell in love with a young minister in the area. Although the object of Grace’s desire had little money, he was “handsome and charming.”
Grace and her young man exchanged messages through notes placed in a special book in the library. Evidently the Archbishop would not have looked favorably upon the young couple in love.
Time passed. The couple made plans to elope to England on a morning in early October (some sources say September) in the year 1695.
During the time that Grace and her fiancé made their plans, Grace became increasingly anxious. She was fearful that her uncle knew something was up.
The day of the couple’s elopement dawned bright with a heavy snowfall in Dublin. Nevertheless, love persevered and the young couple successfully left to marry and enjoy their happy life together.
On the following day, the Archbishop found a note that had fallen out of Grace’s pocket detailing the young lovers’ getaway plans.
The Archbishop never saw his niece again. He died, in 1713, of loneliness and bitterness which led to ill health.
Ironically, when Grace passed away at the age of 85, her remains were buried in the same tomb as the Archbishop at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral churchyard.
Locals in Dublin believe Marsh’s ghost walks the library at night searching for more messages that might be hidden in the books on the shelves. Visitors to the library often report that books fall off of shelves for no apparent reason. Many times, books are “slammed on the desks of readers.”
The library staff isn’t too upset about Marsh’s presence; he usually puts everything back where it belongs when he is done with his tantrum.