Kerri O'Kane - July '08
My family and I have just returned from Ballycastle (June 2008). Locals we met at the gravesite suggested we walk around the black nun's grave 7 times clockwise and 7 times counterclockwise and then place a hand through the hole in order to summon the ghost of the black nun. I just couldn't resist trying but I'm sorry to report that while I was totally creeped out we did not summon the ghost of the black nun. Have you every heard of this?
Conor - March '08
To be sure, to be sure! All you have
to do is visit Bonamargy and Julia will talk to you,
and if you wish she will bring a little bit of fear
with her, but this is only to be expected as she
has been dead for hundreds of years!But she is there
and will leave you feeling content and at peace
with yourself. When you visit just say 'Hello Julia'
when you enter and let her know you are praying for
her and all the souls there and she will look after
you. Sometimes she may even make you a vision.
Good luck and enjoy!
Stephen Lahey - Feb '08
My wife, Professor Julia McQuillan of the Sociology
Dept at the University of Nebraska, is understandably
interested in visiting, perhaps this summer of 2008.
she married me, an Episcopal priest who, before going
grey, had red hair. Maybe that helps with the prophecy?
christopher p mc caughan - Feb '08
have had many reports of sightings.it is a beautiful
place and people have the feeling of being watched
but it is a kind feeling.yes julia had second sight....a
red haired priest was drowned at the panns rocks...ballycastle
is becoming a major harbour port as she said..at the
end of the world the trees on the quay road would meet
russians would arrive on our beach...knocklade old
volcano would erupt the streets would run red with
blood...a silk dress would lay on the green with no
one to touch it.....people from ballycastle have a
great respect for our julia she was one of us who was
very holy but had this ability which may have caused
her pain....but she now rests in peace.
Rebecca McQuillan - Dec '07
Hello there, my name is Rebecca Mcquillan, I may be
able to shed futher light regarding the black nun prophesies.
Julia Mcquillan predicted that a red haired priest would
come from far away to say mass in the church at Murlock
and would drown the following day at a place called
the Devils churn (Pan's rock) near Ballycastle. 20th
century, red haired Father James McCann, drowned whilst
swimming off Pan's rock after saying mass at Murlock.
Other revalations about the future included "The time would come when we
would'nt know the difference between winter and summer except for the leaves
on the trees, others were similar to the Nostradamus 'Yellow race" prophesies.
The strange grave is said to have pointed to a 'treasure/map' when the sun shone
through the opposite window and through the centre hole of the headstone, sound's
very much like Indianna Jones stuff, but I think there is a secret to be found
and that might be that the Black Nun secretly worshipped a sun god and was therefore
skilled in the arts of divinatory, seems more likley, but who knows? Other odd
facts about that church are, there is a grave stone with the Skull and Bones
and a grave of a man who lived to 127yrs old.
The Mcquillan clan of Ireland have a very colourfull history, there are story's
that would inspire the greatest of writers. The death of Fin Mcquillan and Laura
Macdonalld is akin to Romeo and Juliet. The murder and betrayll of the whole
of the Mcquillan bloodline expect a few and one Rory Org Mcquillan, is fasinating,
to learn that most of my ancestors were wipped out in one single attack at a
picnic, 'Each person that sat left of a Mcquillan was to stab them in the heart!'
The Mcquillans built and resided in other Castles in Ireland, most notably Dunluce
castle Co.Antrim (which appears on Led Zepplin album cover Houses of the Holy).
Towers at Dunluce were built by the Mcquillans and if your still looking for
spooky ancestors we have one there too! Mave Rowe some say a Banshee waiting
and preparing for the day when the Mcquillan's return. The Mcquillan's were also
the 'Lords of the Route' before the massacre were no woman and child or livestock
were left alive. The name Mcquillan is Irish in origin but not an Irish name,
it was translated/changed from Huglin de' Mandeville who was from Royal Norman
blood early 12th century. Although of foreign birth they went down in history "As
Irish as the best and worst of them" and were welcomed and firm friends
of the O' Neill clan.
I hope you find this interesting.
Tiarna - Apr '07
As a child i many a time walked in the passages with my parents and many a time heard strange noises and footsteps perhaps Julia Mc Quillan is haunting Bonamargy!!!!!!!!!!
Nollaig 4 - Feb '07
A red haired cleric (Don't know what this is about-
The red haired cleric would drown at the Devil's Churn.
The Devils Churn is situated at the Pans Rocks a local
fishing spot on the strand beach
This turned out to be true as a red haired priest did
drown at the churn his name escapes me at the moment
this is not local folk lore but fact
This has been passed down to most locals through stories
also when the wild geese fly over knocklayde and not
around it as they do it would be the start of a great
war that will end the world hope this helps
Reece Robinson - Feb '07
Is there a black nun in the bushmills area because i
was in bushmills education centre with my class and
a few people saw someone or something that fits the
description of a nun they say it was a ghostly figure
in black nun robes with a ghostly white face, she seems
to have lost something it was also spotted another time
with an accomplice
Connie Horner - Sep '06
Hello, I found this article very interesting as I am
a media student and I was thinking of doing a documentary
on this and at the minute i'm just researching. There
is lots of information on this topic and i've known
the place for years as i'm from the just outside Ballycastle
area. I'm trying to find out a bit about the myths and
where they arrived from, and the article was very handy.
This documentary is a big part of my course. Thanks
very much. It came in very handy.
Kimberley - July '06
People say that the black nun haunted Brea Street school
in Kensington-Liverpool. Is it true and if yes how come?
Fiona - July '06
This was a very interesting article and I hope to find
out more about 'The Black Nun'. I enjoy reading articles
about people that lived in Northern Ireland long before
me and I especially enjoyed the ghostly ending. After
reading your article I have decided to go and visit
Bonamargy Friary but I'll have to be careful I don't
get hit by any falling rocks!
Joe - July '06
Cathy, after reading your comments about the "yellow
race" ruling the world they may not rule the world
in theory but certainly contribute to everyone's everyday
life!!! They make our cars, tv's, household appliances,
even chinese / indian cuisine is more popular than ever.
So from this you could say they DO rule the world!
Also, does anyone know of a programme on Living TV
called 'MOST HAUNTED', were they visit haunted locations
in UK and Ireland and conduct overnight vigils for supernatural
activity. I reckon it would be a fantastic experience
to get those guys to visit Bonamargy to make one of
their programme's, just to see if they encounter anything!
Does anyone know how you would go about contacting them?
Cathy O'Hara - July '06
My parents came from Glendun and I often heard them
mention Julia McQuillan. The prophesy I heard most often
is not mentioned in your article but perhaps someone
else has heard of it - 'The time would come when we
wouldn't know the difference between winter and summer
except for the leaves on the trees'. I have also heard
the one about the "yellow race" eventually
ruling the world and wonder as I have just heard on
the news of the opening of the border between India
and China who between them are set to be the most powerful
economies in the world. Makes you wonder!
Ange - Feb '06
My late Mother grew up in the area and I have heard
all these prophecies . She is also supposed to have
said that the swathy race would rule the world! This
has over the years (I am 41) confused me but makes more
sense now we have probs with Iraq and Muslims over the
world trying to impose their view and religion on us.
Makes you think?
Michael Hamill - Feb '06
No one killed her, she slipped on the seventh stone
on the stairwell in bonamargy, and died on the fall.
There was another story about a rock came crashing down
upon her as soon as she stepped upon the seventh step.
That's why most people forego the seventh when using
Julia McQuillan - Feb 06
Am absolutely fascinated since my name is also Julia
McQuillan. Will no doubt be arranging to visit Ballycastle
as soon as I can manage it.
Kenneth D McQuillan - January - '06
Does anyone know who killed the blacknun?
Amy Connolly - November '05
A red haired cleric : The black nun predicted that a
red haired priest would come from far away to say mass
in the church at Murloch and would die the following
day.This did not happen until the 20th century when
a red headed Father James McCann was drowned whilst
swimming off Pan's Rocks near Ballycastle after saying
mass at Murloch, the day before. Just to help you!
Cedric - July '05
I don't actually think that Julia Mc Quillan was a nun,
she earned the name of "the black nun" because
of the fact she always dressed in black clothing.
Nevertheless, it's an interesting story, and even though
it may not have been a nun you saw, it could have been
a ghost of one of the Franciscan monks who lived in
you never know???
Dylan Starrs - July '05
I can verify Stephen "stevie" Houston's story.
When all the people met the next and recounted the story
to a large group of friends. Some were interested and
others were hugely sceptical. Being democratic and constructive
we split up all of the people who had seen the black
nun and then asked them all the same series of questions
about the night. The questions were about the events
of the evening before and after some relevant and some
less relevant. We also asked them to describe her carefully.
All of the answers married, all of the descriptions
were the same and all the descriptions matched Stephen's
brothers sketch. This proves that they were not making
it up. Indeed the people that saw her would have found
no pleasure in making anything like that up. Maybe I
believe them because myself two friends and a dog called
herbie met her one night.
We saw her at a window on the gable wall as we approached
the main part of the friary from the wee gatehouse.
It was a dark and still evening. We were dandering along
at a nice pace and then we all just stopped. A pale
luminescent face with dark eyes and a habit peered out
at us. It was silent. Deadly silent. She was moving
but made no sound. We walked a bit closer and she dipped
away but returned to the window.
We stood for quite some time just looking at her and
each other and the dog with his cocked head and one
pert ear. We were not scared. Indeed we all agreed afterwards
that we were instilled with a feeling of well being.
Feeling privileged at such a show we just decided we
had seen enough and left. Weird but absolutely true.
On returning in the daylight we noticed that the walls
are so thick that it would have been physically impossible
for a person to look out the window in the manner the
black nun did. Simply, a person would needed to have
been in the wall to look out the way this figure did.
Thomas P. O'Connor - July '05
I was in Ballycastle last night with my future wife
and her two nieces. Mary [my fiancee] told the girls
the story of the Black Nun as we passed Bonamargy Friary.
Like most chaps from Belfast, I thought it would be
wonderful if I started to tell the two girls ghost stories.
After a run in the car, we decided to head back into
Ballycastle. To cement their imagination with stories
of Nuns and Ghosts, we pulled into the layby and walked
into the Friary at around dusk [21.30].
We trooped around the ruins and came out into the Church
via the side entrance. We walked up towards the Black
Nun's grave and pass it to stand on the pathway. I stood
facing my Fiancee and the two girls when they let out
an almighty scream.
My first reaction was that Mary was attempting to startle
me. She did. She then asked did I see 'it'. 'See what?',
the Nun she replied. I looked behind me and could only
see a plastic bag. I then looked around the corner and
as clear as day, I saw a Nun running into the side entrance
[where the famous stairs] are. She was dressed in a
Nun's Habit and scandals and had a white face. I absolutely
froze in shock. My first reaction was that it was someone
messing around. The place was deserted except for ourselves
and it was late [getting dark]. I asked myself why someone
would dress up in a full Habit and scandals to play
a prank particularly at that time of night. I didn't
hear footsteps running.
The incident spooked the life out of me and I endeavored
to leave as soon as possible. Bear in mind that I am
35, 6"2 and a big man - I was surprised that I
didn't freeze with shock. I have attempted to rationalise
what I saw today but the image still haunts me. Mary
claimed that a Nun in white with blackened eyes stepped
out behind me to face them. She didn't speak - Mary
instantly suspected pranksters but..... they couldn't
have covered the distance in lightening quick time.
Yours [still trying to rationalise the incident].
Jason Horner - May '05
I was there i found a grave stone with skull and bones
on it. i also found a grave, a man lived to a 127 years
old. he breaks a guinness world record. i am only twelve.
Beth Mc Bride - May '05
Hi my name is Beth mcbride and i am from Ballycastle
i am 11. Your story is very spooky but not as spooky
as mine. when me and my family were there my brother
con dared me to step on the black nuns death step. A
day later my brother told me i shouldn't have step on
it because you will have the black nuns curse.
Jason Horner - May 05
When my mum was a young girl she saw a black figure
on the ground holding a old fasioned candle stick she
was shouting at my granny and granda and pointing but
they could not see it.
Whats the history of broombeg view?
Ann Marie - February '05
Anyone who has been to Ballycastle will know the house
at the other end facing the golf course (it's yellow
and white and now belongs to a youth club). The house
is also said to be haunted, I have been in that house
and can tell you without much doubt she is still there
myself and 11 other witnesses saw the black nun standing
in the large window to the right of the front door on
the second floor. I have no doubt that we saw her and
she has been seen before in the house.
Michael Curran - December '04
Before World War 1 when "The Irish Electric Power
Co" was installing Light to the town by invitation
from the Council, one of the workmen was inside the
Water Wheel at the Old Mill where the Power House was
to be based, the Water Wheel was to assist a "National
Gas generating set". The wheel was started accidentally
and the employee was injured, breaking a leg with other
injuries. Was this the blood from the "Black Nun's"
'B'Castle - Nov '04:
I heard the one about the red haired priest
drowning at the pans rocks, dunno if he had red hair
or not but there was definately a priest drowned there.
Kay McKenna - August '04
How wonderful to see this article about Bonamargy after
spending a vacation in Ballycastle in 2003. Staying
at Collier's Hall B&B we had to pass the Friary
each day on our way back from the town . Our group consisted
of 6 women and we had heard about "the nun"
and we had a great late night embellishing the tales
as we had just heard at the Boyd's Arm, It was one of
the things we shared with our families on returning
to USA! Wonderful memories, will come again!
John - August 2004
I was once told that there was a ghost in the field
beside Ramoan Church in Ballycastle. Apparently a local
church goer was visiting the church was walking though
the graveyard towards the way out. At the time a new
housing development (Ramoan Court) was being built beside
the church and a wall separated the two areas. The man
thought he would go over and have a look over the wall
to see how the new housing was getting on. As he was
about to leave, he then saw a monk-like figure in a
dark brown robe walking through the building site. As
it was the weekend he thought it was an intruder on
the site and climbed over the wall to challenge the
As the man tried to get closer to the figure, it kept
moving away, the man stopped his pursuit and stood still
and shouted at the figure and just as the figure was
about to turn around and face him, it disappeared! Very
Some say that the old marine hotel was haunted, I don’t
know about the new building though. The old hotel was
destroyed by a bomb during the troubles.
Another building which was known as "McEldowney's"
was a really scary place. It was a large house which
sat near the edge of the cliff on Clare road opposite
the caravan site. Some folk say it was the most eerie
place you were likely to come across. Although the building
was recently knocked down the whole area still gives
people the creeps! Me included!!!
Elizabeth Magorrian - August 2004
Do the Magorrian Boys live in ireland?
IGOR - August 2004
Actually she said that a red haired man would drown
at fair head, and in the 40's or 50's a red haired priest
drowned at the pan's rock, near to fair head.
Martin - 3 May 2004
They're strange fairie rings near Hannastown.
- August 2004
Re: Gerry Curran's Comments
The river to which the black nun referred was in fact
the tow river in Ballycastle, however it has never
been known as the hilltown river but may have been
called the "Milltown" river from time to
time as is is situated around what was known as the
Milltown area of Ballycastle, near Fairhill street
and Glentasie drive.
The tow river flows from outside
the town towards the sea via the Margy river, which
in turn is situated beside Bonamargy friary.
Another story is that the monks
who were living in the friary hid gold chalices and
various precious items somewhere up in the glenshesk
area of Ballycastle.
I don't know if anything has ever been recovered though.
But I was once told that at
a certain time of the year, if you time it right,
that the sun will shine through one of the windows
in Bonamargy and will reflect a beam up to Glenshesk
and point to exactly where the treasure is hidden,
sounds like something out of indiana jones but you
Gerry Curran (April 2004)
I noticed Brian's comment that 'The Hilltown River
would flow with blood'--- My grandmother Maggie Curran,
born in Hilltown Co Down in 1884, made reference to
this quote many times in her lifetime. She also linked
it with another one that she often said to me as a
"It is forecast that the Black-man would come to Ireland
to bring the faith back to the Irish people as they
would turn their backs on it"
I never paid much attention to the first one until
the 1970s when a man was severely injured and then
died after a booby-trap bomb blast. He died very close
to the Hilltown River which is actually called the
'Owenglass River' and it is possible that the blood
from that incident was hosed into the storm drains
and then into the river.
Her second quotation is actually happening before
our very eyes. Ireland has given up on its faith especially
the young and vocations to the priesthood etc are
almost nil. What will the next ten or twenty years
bring---clergymen from other countries?
Stephen Huston (April 2004)
I have spent many years in Ballycastle on holiday. On
one certain night after midnight we went round to the
grave of the black nun and then round to the seventh
step. Myth has it this is how you see her. I had enough
and went back onto the golfcourse but my brother and
three others stayed. They returned a short time later
shaken and swore they had seen a figure. The next day
we met and discussed the night before. My brother being
an artist pulled from his pocket a picture he had drawn
of what he had seen. All the others agreed that was
exactly what they had seen. I still have the picture
and have no doubt that they did see the black nun.
Would it be possible to e-mail
the site a copy of this picture? It would be wonderful
to let others take a look at it. Perhaps someone else
might recognise her. (Editor)
A red haired lady would fall off Fairhead.