My dad is from Donegal, a rural county in the republic of Ireland, and my family have gone over every summer since I was born. Normally it is a fun, family filled affair, all of my aunties and uncles and many cousins join us and we spend a fortnight or so on the beach and enjoying the "Mary from Dongloe" festival.
Last year (2014) My younger sister and younger cousin decided to head over for the festival without our parents. We decided to stay in the house where my Granny and my father grew up, an old house hidden from the road and not too far from the town.
I had never stayed over in the house before but had heard a lot of stories from my older sister and my aunties about the house having spirits in it. I wasn't too worried, if there was anything (which I doubted) they would be related to me and wouldn't harm me.
On the day we arrived we were getting ready to go out for our first of many nights of the festival. I felt very uneasy in the house and couldn't put my finger on it. I had been here before, many times, when my great auntie and uncle had stayed here before moving to a more modern home on the hill, but now it felt different.
As I got dressed and put on my makeup I felt very watched. I can't describe it in any other way than saying I felt as though someone was right at my shoulder, breathing down my neck. I continuously felt like I could see something out the corner of my eye but when I turned there was nothing there.
We came home from our night out about 2AM and had decided, for the holiday, to all stay in the same room, My sister and cousin in the double bed and me, on a mattress beside the chest of drawers.
That night was one of the strangest nights of my life.
I kept waking up, shivering with cold, then would fall asleep only to wake later, sweating and over heated. One of the times I woke up I looked up at the bed and saw that my cousin and sister were both wide awake.
In the morning we laughed it off, but throughout the holiday the same thing would happen. We would move around the house, feeling watched, we would wake up at the exact same time every night and on one occasion I went into the kitchen to find all the chairs pulled out from the table, left askew.
I don't know why, but I managed not to be too afraid, I told myself it was an old house, that's why the fire didn't help the cold, the footsteps were just the creaking walls and the feeling of being watched? I must have been over tiered from the bad nights sleep.
However, when the festival was over things took a turn for the worse and I could no longer convince myself there was nothing going on.
One night I woke up, wide awake at 3AM like so many nights before, but this time I heard the sound of whistles. It can't be a tin whistle, I told myself, it's just my sister or cousins breathing. But then the it began to move more melodically, a tune. I tried to close my eyes and pretend it wasn't happening until I fell asleep.
In the morning my cousin told me that she had woken up in the night and heard tin whistles. I asked her not to tell my sister.
The next night I woke up again by a noise. It sounded like a saw, or wood against wood, friction- I turned my head to the chest of drawers close to me and saw the copper handle swinging- something had been opening and shutting the drawer to wake me up. I was petrified and tried to sleep.
Finally there came a night when I lay my head down on the mattress and felt it move, jolting- as if someone had pushed my mattress, with me on it, across the way towards the chest of drawers. I sat up and saw how much space there was between me and the chest of drawers, a good few inches. I laid back down and told myself it wasn't happening. A few minuets later I felt the push again. I sat up and instantly lay back down again; my mattress was pushed right up against the chest of drawers.
I felt as though whatever was in the house was isolating me and trying hard to get me to talk about it to my family but I didn't want to scare them. Finally it all was too much for me and I booked the ferry back home, 4 days earlier than I was meant to return.
I felt terrible leaving my sister and cousin but I couldn't stand it any more.
On the last night I spent there I woke up, 3 AM in the morning and felt as though there was someone outside my room. I could hear incredibly quiet whispers, almost like a vibration from outside the bedroom door. As if two people were discussing something.
At this point I was angry, they had ruined my holiday so inside my head I said, "if you are going to say something just say it, stop whispering" there was silence and then, very audibly I heard the word "GIRLS." I lay there, absolutely terrified and just a few moments later my cousin woke up. I didn't tell her what had happened.
I went home that morning but weeks later, at a big family dinner I was speaking to my cousin and she revealed, like me, she had experienced a lot of things that she didn't tell me because she didn't want to upset me. We told each other what we had been keeping to ourselves and our experiences where very similar. My aunties chipped in too and told us frightening stories about the house and the spirits. My cousin and I discovered we had both woken up to the sound of bicycle bells from outside in the lane. She also said she felt as though there was a woman in the house called "Nance" but she wasn't related to us. My other cousin then admitted that one night she slept over and saw a woman in her room, standing at the mantle piece, facing away. My aunties told us that "Nance" was our great grandmother's friend who would often visit the house, riding down the lane on her bicycle.
It all sounds unbelievable and to be honest, I wouldn't have believed it, had it not happened to me. Needless to say, I shall not be staying in the old house this year. Or ever again for that matter.