A Haunting Irish Tale of True Love

Research Data

Post Type: Urban Legend

Type: Ghost

Location: Charles Fort

Date of sighting: Unknown

Persons of interest: None

Results: Unsolved

A famous Irish ghost story

The White Lady of Kinsale is a famous Irish ghost story. The tragic tale takes place in Charles Fort, where people have seen the phantom of a young bride wandering the site where she and her beloved met their fate.

Wilful Warrender was the daughter of the commander of Charles Fort, Governor Warrender.
She fell madly in love with an officer named Sir Trevor Ashurst, and with her. The couple
had a whirlwind romance and quickly decided to get married, which made the Governor very happy.

They had a grand wedding and in the evening, the weather is fine. The newlyweds decided to go for a walk on the grounds of the fort.

Flowers for her

They were walking along the castle ramparts when Wilful noticed some beautiful flowers at the bottom of the battlements.  Sir Trevor, willing to do almost anything for the White Lady of Kinsale, said he would climb down to pick some flowers for her, but a sentry on duty volunteered to climb down for him.

Sir Trevor agreed, but he didn’t want to leave the sentry’s post unattended, so he took the
man’s place, asking Wilful to go and wait for him back in their chambers because it was starting to get cold.

The sentry was gone for a long time, for much longer than Sir Trevor had expected.  Sir Trevor waited patiently, but he was so exhausted from the day’s wedding festivities, that he eventually fell asleep, leaning on his musket!

Shortly after, Wilful’s father, the Governor, came along on his nightly inspection.  Governor Warrender was an extremely strict and organised commander.  As he walked along the ramparts, he noticed what he thought was a sentry leaning against the wall.

He called to the man, who didn’t answer.  Supposing that the sentry had fallen asleep on duty, which was absolutely forbidden, the Governor shot him, straight through the heart!  When he went to see who the man really was, he realized that he had just shot his own son-in-law.

Submitted himself off the towers

Of course, after realising his mistake, Governor Warrender couldn’t face breaking the news to his one and only daughter who he loved so much, so he immediately threw himself off the battlements.

When Sir Trevor hadn’t come back and probably having heard the gunshot, Wilful went back outside to look for her husband.

When she found her husband’s body in a pool of blood on the battlement, and then looked down and saw her father’s broken body at the foot of the
ramparts, she was broken-hearted.  She couldn’t face living without them.

So Wilful wandered blindly along the castle ramparts, and then, she too, still in her wedding dress, threw herself off the castle wall and into the icy waters below.

Since that day, Wilful’s ghost, the White Lady, has been wandering around the grounds of the fort, still in her wedding dress, looking for sleeping sentries.  She wants to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to them… and, in any case, the poor soul has nowhere else to go!

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The White Lady of Kinsale


There have been many sightings of the White Lady of Kinsale.  People who have seen her in recent times say that she is a sad soul, but kind.

One local person claims that he went out for a run one night out near Charles Fort. At one point he stopped to retie his shoelaces.

He put his hand on the fort wall to get his balance, and he felt another hand reach out from the wall and interlock fingers with him.

The manager of the local ‘White Lady Hotel’ said that he saw her making toast in the hotel kitchen on New Year’s Eve!

However, the White Lady of Kinsale is not always a kind and gentle spirit.  Many soldiers who served at
the fort before it was closed, mainly captains, told tales of being pushed downstairs by an unseen force.

So, if you ever do visit County Cork, be careful if you feel a strange presence behind you!