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Hidden Haunts of Donegal—The Blue Lady of Sharon House

The history of great houses in Ireland literally yields a myriad of suggestions to the understanding of the Irish people and its forever enchanting land.

Most houses, in their magnificent isolation, have evolved literally without plans while maintaining layers of their historical past.

Sharon is such a house, an important, historical, eighteenth century Country House, surrounded by mature wooded grounds and idyllic fields. The house was formerly the High Rectory of Ireland.

It took 15 years to build Sharon House with stones obtained from Drumbee Quarry and painstakingly brought to the site by horse and cart. A stone dates the original building to the year1775.

This lovely home now belongs to Mr. Vincent Tully Jr. and his wife
Mrs. Lisa Tully. They have two daughters, Emma and Victoria.

They are carefully restoring the numerous structures while maintaining their authenticity. I had the privilege to be a guest at Sharon House. I can assure you a warm welcome in an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation.

From several windows of the great house, whether you are upstairs or downstairs, you can see the ruins of Burt Castle standing proudly on the top of a hill overlooking the Lake of Shadows also called Lough Swilly.

As a writer, I had the opportunity to reside for two weeks at Sharon House, therefore, I was able to research the history of Sharon, its occupants and the infamous murder that took place in 1797. The following is a brief summary of these events.

In Ireland, there are so many more great houses with fascinating history, all different and all unique in their own way. When you visit this wonderful land and its friendly people, you'll want to return soon!

Sharon House

In the month of March 1797, on a dark and stormy night, the Reverend Dr. Hamilton, Rector of Fannet Parish, County Donegal, was a very prominent man. He was active in detecting and bringing to justice the rebels called United Irishmen; they marked him as a victim and relentlessly pursued him to be killed.

On that fateful night, he was on his way to Derry to get a regiment of soldiers to put down the rebellion in his part of the county. During those troubled days, it would have been foolish to travel alone and unarmed. So, he traveled with a servant, two horses, and two pistols.

The night was ice cold and stormy, but he crossed Lough Swilly by ferry which, at that time, landed close to Sharon House. In 1797, Lough Swilly ran past Sharon. Now, it has been diverted for more productive farming.

As the wind was getting stronger and the rain heavier, he decided to stopped at Sharon House to see his friend, Dr. Waller who was Rector of the Parish and a Fellow of Trinity College, in Dublin (It is said that he did not tell the Reverend Dr. Waller that he was a marked man and relentlessly pursued by the rebels).

Dr. Waller was in a wheelchair due to an accident that left him paralyzed on his left side. He had a servant by the name of Barney McCafferty, who attended him faithfully, day or night. Mrs. Waller was a lovely lady, a gracious, hospitable hostess. It was known that many eminent people including professors from Trinity College, in Dublin, would come to stay during the summer months at Sharon House.

At that time, the Wallers had three ladies, staying with them, two of them being the nieces of Dr. Waller. The Wallers were delighted to see Dr. Hamilton. The weather that evening was so stormy that they persuaded Dr. Hamilton to stay overnight. As the group of friends conversed over a delightful meal, they heard pounding feet. The muzzle of a gun was thrust through a window of the room in which they were sitting. The men wanted "bloodthirsty Hamilton!"
Mrs. Waller rushed to the side of her husband's chair to protect him. Dr. Hamilton followed her and crouched next to them, bewildered and frightened. The rebels shouted that all they wanted was Dr. Hamilton, not the good Waller family.

A shot was fired which struck Mrs. Waller on the ear and cut a piece off but, stunned, she remained by the side of her husband. Above the yelling of the rebels, more shots were heard. Mrs. Waller was struck again on the shoulder. She dropped! She attempted to crawl to the kitchen but she was hit again. She was carried to the kitchen, bleeding profusely from her wounds.

In the scuffle, Dr. Hamilton vanished and hid in the cellar. After a search conducted by the rebels, he was discovered, dragged out and killed without mercy on the stone steps of the entrance to Sharon House.

After the mob left, Dr. Waller sent two horsemen to get Dr. Blair for Mrs. Waller but it was to no avail! Mrs. Waller died from loss of blood.

The Blue Lady of Sharon

When Mr. Vincent Tully Jr. and his lovely wife, Mrs. Lisa Tully, bought Sharon House, it was in need of total repair. But, they loved it at first sight!

What they didn't expect was that a ghostly tenant also came with the house.

Mr. Tully was the first one to see the apparition at the foot of their bed. Needless to say, he was shaken. He heard the rattle sound of the lock on the trunk at the foot of their bed. The figure of a lady surrounded by blue light was extending her arms toward him. There was no face, only a vaporous figure, blonde hair. He estimated the lady to be between 30 to 35 years old. He knew, then, that it was Mrs. Waller who had been murdered at Sharon House. Frightened, he got up and opened the window, when he noticed that the curtains were moving. Mr. Tully could see the apparition go outside. He closed the window and by that time, his wife had awakened. Then, they heard three knocks on the window. Then, nothing

Since that night, the figure of Mrs. Waller, the lady in blue, has reappeared almost nightly. Lisa, also saw the apparition, several times, in their bedroom. She was just sitting at the foot of their bed, staring at the wall. Mrs. Tully was upset and frightened. It took some time for her to accept that the Blue Lady was living with them.

Their daughter, Emma, who was six at that time, also reported seeing from the upstairs window of her room, a man in a long black coat, however, she never saw the Blue Lady.

Strange things began to happen-constant problems with the electrical appliances, in the dining room, a Westminster clock that worked perfectly in the repair shop, refused to work properly at Sharon House, their daughter's computer was constantly breaking down, yet, when checked several times, the computer shop found absolutely nothing wrong with it. Another frustrating thing was that they could not make the fountain located in front of the house, work. No matter what they tried!

Then, there was another problem. Mr. Tully had converted a front room into a game room and bar. Even after they had installed electric heat, that room would not get warm. So freezing cold it was, that the family could not use it!

Mrs. Tully had tried to speak to the apparition, to tell her that they were a new family living at Sharon House and they didn't mean any harm.

Mr. and Mrs. Tully, including young Emma, who joined them in their bed, nightly, were getting no sleep until dawn. Lisa was terrified but Vincent Tully Jr. vowed that he would remain at Sharon House. No matter what! make a long story short, one night, a séance was held in the dining room until dawn. Everyone participated except Mr. Tully. Most people involved sensed the presence of Mrs. Waller. Some, felt intense fear, others, felt intense cold. After a long time, the presence made herself known through one of the participants who communicated the message that a pond which had been dug next to Sharon House, was a source of great danger, and that the pond should be filled immediately.

They heard a gunshot, one of the participants felt a burning pain though her shoulder. The spirit of Mrs. Waller appeared as a tear shaped brilliant light, rising upwards then, it was gone!

The exhausted participants returned to Sharon's kitchen where Vincent Tully had been praying all night as he kept watch over his daughter while she slept.

A few hours later, in the early morning, a tractor was brought up to the House and the pond was filled!

To this day, there has been peace and harmony at Sharon House. Mrs. Tully has a new baby named Victoria. This is the first baby at Sharon House.

The Blue Lady rests in peace!

Incidentally, the Westminster clock in the dining room is now, keeping perfect time, the computer always works and the fountain is happily spouting sprays of water!

Author's Conclusion

When I stayed at Sharon House, my bedroom was what used to be the coachman's room.

I had no feelings of ghostly presence but I can tell you this, my first night at Sharon, I was awakened with such a start that I sat up in bed, startled, heart pounding.

I got up and looked about the courtyard below as well as the front lane leading up to Sharon. It was harvest moon and everything was illuminated in silver. I saw nothing but I can't help wondering what in the world gave me such a start!

Maryvonne Martin
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Maryvonne Martin, a freelance writer, specializes in articles about California. She also writes about technology, travel , various interviews etc. Her specialty is being able to produce good clean copy, well researched and accurate, in a very short time.

As a freelance writer/journalist, she covers a wide range of topics. Her attitude is that anything's possible, backed by solid evidence.