As part of The National Neighbourhood, second year students from St Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School, Dublin 8, visited Marsh’s Library with poet Enda Wyley and were inspired to write their very own ghost stories.
Here are some of their haunting tales, poems and musings…
Walking in the city through the cold air,
feeling the wind through my grey hair.
As I stumble upon St Patrick’s close I feel
the ghost of Marsh’s Library.
It reminds me of the clashing of cages
and cold, frosty air.
I hear the ghost story on repeat in my head….
I hurry past and continue down the road.
I walk by the graveyard
And feel a tap on the shoulder.
I quickly spin around and nobody there.
Is it the ghost?
The ghost from the story?
Could it be the ghost of Narcissus Marsh?
Will we ever know?
I always felt different, like there was something in me.
But when I went to Marsh’s Library, it all unravelled.
Something came from within me.
A ghost. It looked like Grace, the niece of Narcissus Marsh.
She flew and started going through the books, looking for something – a letter…..
It was a bright summer’s day. I was living with my uncle Narcissus Marsh. I worked for him as a maid. Every day I would spend time cleaning, cooking and assisting him. I wasn’t allowed to go out of the house. I was only allowed to go in the library to clean the books. The only time I was allowed to go out was once a year. On my day out, I met a wonderful man. He doesn’t live in Dublin but in the countryside. He is a farmer and on that one day we fell in love. He asked me to run away with him to the countryside. So, a year later, I decided to run away and I waited to tell my uncle about it. I could feel my heart beating faster and faster as I approached his bedroom door. I felt shivers down my spine as I got closer and closer I got less confident…
I watched the sun go down into the ocean, the oranges and blues contrasting vividly. It eventually turned to a dull ink colour and I knew night-time was here.
I stood at the cliff with the sound down below being washed away by the tide. There were seagulls screeching all around, breaking the silence of the wind with each noise. The waves crashed themselves violently against the cliff. I moved back when they started splashing foam onto the grass, drenching it. I backed away slowly, each footstep crunching the grass and rocks underneath my soles.
As I made my way back to the house, the seashells rattled. The grey door of the hut I called my own stood out in the growing fog somehow and I rushed towards it. My family would be worried by now. I pulled down the sleeves on my dress to cover my hands. The sea behind me was loud and it was dark around me already. I gripped the door handle, expecting the wood to shoot splinters into my hand, but instead it was a cool metal. I pushed forward, moving back now to be met in the fire from the hearth. There was a girl. I went to ask a question, but her words beat me to it. ‘Mum! Ghost!’ The water filled my lungs. Again.
Just think of what went on years and years ago…Gun fights from 1916 and from 1921. These people that have died over the years could still be roaming around us now, wondering what is going on. Why is there so much peace, new clothing, houses and mobile phones? I just get a cold feeling rushing through my body thinking about what went on and how those people could be trying to communicate with us….
He looked at the time. 2 o’clock in the morning. He’s been reading for hours, his eyes were sore. He’d never been in the library this late before. He remembered the ghost story and a shiver went down his spine. He reminded himself that it was just a story, told himself not to be silly and kept reading. The seconds ticked by. The clock was really creepy. He should have gotten rid of it ages ago. It ticked and it tocked. It ticked again. It didn’t tock. His heart skipped a beat. He looked up. It ticked. It didn’t tock. He looked at the time. 3 o’clock. He felt cold breath on the back of his neck. The word ‘the’ was the last thing he ever said. What a boring word to end your life on!
Everything stood still. The temperature dropped, and chills ran down our backs. The lights were flickering and something dashed into the other room of the house. We went to investigate the incident. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more eerie. We felt something spirit-like go through us. We no longer felt like it was only our presence at the house.
We knew then we were with ghosts. Our next thought was: were these spirits good or evil?
I meandered through the intricate pathways with a sense of urgency and worriedness. The only thing keeping me going was the thought of my bed. The dreary and dark vibe of the city streets only made my strides larger. Each step formed a cold sweat. I was just overcome with intense uneasiness for some reason. I sensed a type of presence around my surrounding area. The fear was too overwhelming. My vision enclosed and my peripheral was opaque…and then all of a sudden, I felt something sink into my side….
The street was dark,
so dark there were
no street lights,
or lights in the windows.
My fingers numb;
my face frozen.
I could see the lights
from the main road
up ahead, they gave
As I walked up
it seemed as if
full of malice
and dark emotions –
clawing for the light.
With the National Neighbourhood, we want every neighbourhood to know and “own” their city’s cultural resources so we build cultural projects in community settings. We connect artists, groups and villages with libraries, museums and creative places to deepen their understanding of each other and themselves.
The National Neighbourhood spans the Dublin City Council region, and brings together Dublin City Council’s City Library & Archive, the area offices, the City Arts Office and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, in partnership with National Cultural Institutions (The Abbey Theatre, The National Museum of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland, The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Concert Hall, The Chester Beatty Library, The National Archives and The Irish Museum of Modern Art).