17 Mar Loftus Hall , Fethard-on-Sea , County Wexford
In the extreme South of Leinster , on the Hook Peninsula , the Norman family of Redmond built a great mansion in the early 14th century. The house and surrounding lands were confiscated by the Cromwellians and given to the Loftus family in 1666 , after which the name of the house was changed to ‘Loftus Hall’. This beautiful house is a must see on your tours of Ireland.
In the middle of the 18th century , the Honourable Charles Tottenham married Anne Loftus and went to live there. All went well until one stormy night , when a handsome stranger arrived on horseback seeking shelter from the weather.
He was welcomed in and , having eaten , he joined in a game of cards , playing partner to the teenage daughter of the house. She was dealt a wonderful hand and was winning the game , but a card slipped from the table and she bent down to retrieve it.
To her consternation , she saw that the stranger had , instead of a foot , a cloven hoof! She screamed , and he disappeared through the roof in a flash of fire. He reappeared periodically , much to the terror of the family , until the local priest , Fr Thomas Broaders , drove him away forever.
This is the oldest know Irish version of a cautionary legend against card-playing. It was based on the idea that heavy gambling was a trick of the devil to ensnare people , a point much stressed by parsons and priests.
The were often rumours of hauntings in very old houses , and Loftus Hall being such , it was easy for the legend to become attached to that place. The vulnerable but rather sinister old building was demolished in 1871 , and the new mansion erected on the site. Happily , no such hauntings affect the new building.
To organise your visit to Loftus Hall on your tours of Ireland contact us now.