From the Belfast Newsletter, 15 April 1901:

“Tomorrow the Easter sittings in the High Court… begin, and according to old time ceremonial… Easter marks the beginning of the legal as it does the Christian year. So the Lord Chancellor Lord Ashbourne… holds a levee at his residence, 12 Merrion Square… in his gorgeous robes of black and gold and all the majesty of a full-bottomed wig… receiving members of the Bar of Ireland and the principal officials of the courts… The exodus from the.. mansion forms into a stream of carriages and cabs thence to the Four Courts. In the great hall… the full company… are marshalled into procession… walking with stately head, to the Benchers’ Chamber.”

Lord Ashbourne

According to the Dundee Evening Telegraph, 16 December 1896, the Ashbourne residence at 12 Merrion Square

“was once tenanted by a husband and wife, the former of whom, being mortally ill, discovered that the latter had laid in a stock of widow’s weeds… annoyed at what he considered misplaced foresight and thrift [he] angrily told her to take her chloral and go to bed.  but she took an overdose and died.”

Subsequently both Lord and Lady Ashbourne experienced visitations from this ghost, ‘sometimes in a white dress and sometimes in a black.’

12 Merrion Square today

Now 12 Merrion Square consists of luxury office suites, and Lord Ashbourne is best known for being the father of Violet Gibson, who later attempted to assassinate Mussolini.

Perhaps her childhood in a haunted house had something to do with it?

Photo Credits: (top photo) (middle photo) (bottom photo)