Whiskey from Lockes Distillery in Kilbeggan is possessed with many rare and unique characteristics - qualities that have made it one of the most highly rated and decorated spirits in the whiskey-drinking world - but did you know it has been possessed with spirits from another world?
According to one of the world`s most famous psychics and mediums, the historic distillery is so flooded with spirits and ghostly goings on, it now seems there are more spirits floating around the historic distillery buildings than there is in its bottles, barrels and casks!
Derek Acorah - the star of TV`s `Most Haunted` and `Ghost Towns` - said from the moment he entered the distillery complex last Wednesday he was literally engulfed with the presence of spirits. But, like the whiskey for which the distillery is famous, they were good spirits. But even though the spirits pouring into the distillery were by-and-large well intentioned, good souls, they can still terrify you as they make their presence felt.
Owners, staff and management of the distillery - which dates back to 1757 and is acknowledged as the oldest licensed distillery in the world - were astounded to learn that their every move is being monitored by ghosts from the distillery`s long and often turbulent past. But Mr. Acorah assured them that the distillery`s old owners approve of what`s going on there today. They were especially happy that distillation recommenced there this year.
As he relayed messages from the spirit world, he even revealed precise personal details of the ghosts, including middle names and nicknames, that are not normally in the public domain. Manager Brian Quinn was left speechless as Acorah reeled off detailed versions of events which happened hundreds of years ago.
Speaking to the Examiner after his visit, Mr Acorah assured us that he had not read any of the published histories on the distillery, and all that he knew was what the ghosts were telling him.
Among the ghosts he encountered as he toured the facility was: *Florence Emily Locke, or `Flo` as she was known - the last Locke in charge of the distillery and whose decision to sell in the 1940`s resulted in a national scandal and Ireland`s first ever Tribunal.
Acorah relayed her guilt over the decision, but her delight that the distillery bearing her family name lives on *Matthias McManus - 18th Century distiller whose son John, a United Irishman and Rebellion leader in 1798, was executed prior to the Rebellion. Both he and his son are frequent visitors.
*John Edward Locke - son of the first John Locke. On hand to offer guidance from the other world.
Mr. Acorah also encountered several ghosts associated with the management of the distillery at some stage in its 250 year history, as well as some staff members and people from the local community - all of whom had a story to tell.
He also revealed to the Examiner that he would be more than willing to assist local Gardaí in their hunt for several missing women, and in other `cold` cases in the midlands - if asked. He also told us of how he feared for his life when he became involved in the OJ Simpson case back in the 1990`s, and he also expressed his fears that missing toddler Madeline McCann is now dead.
Derek Acorah`s visit to Kilbeggan`s famous Distillery left a distinct chill in the air. Visitors and staff who always zipped up their jackets on entering some of its colder outbuildings now know that the chill they just felt was not necessarily caused by the weather.
Speaking to the Examiner after his revealing walk around the distillery, the popular psychic said an investigation normally takes him a full day, but even though he had just an afternoon to explore the nooks and crannies of the buildings, he came across dozens of spirits, the majority of them big players in the distillery`s early days.
The synergy of the pairing was not lost on him either.
“You have the best of both worlds here,” he laughed. “You`ve got the beautiful spirit in the barrel, and the spirits that have come back are the ones who made the spirit here. There`s a great kinship between the two.”
He said there are certain personalities in different parts who come back to this distillery only for one reason only - “it`s like a tie of love” he disclosed. “They have been here, they have been part of it, they have a vested interest. There was one particular personality, John Edward (Locke) whose energy comes here a lot. Matthias (McManus) is here and he is angry because of what happened to his son John, who had been executed. I was told his son had not come to terms with the idea of being executed for his beliefs, and Matthias was angry because his son was coming here many times and Matthias was following him back. Matthias still wanted to come back but was also very happy over where he is now. He`s coming back to encourage his son John to go back with him and to forget the thoughts of what actually happened to him. It`s quite emotional.”
He said he also picked up “a very lovely lady” in the form of Florence Eccles (nee Locke). “I got her right away. She comes here very regularly and feels things could have been done differently, she felt she had more to offer.”
Flo played a part in the downfall of Lockes when it transpired a person she attempted to sell the distillery to was a convicted criminal who had attempted to bribe the Taoiseach De Valera with a gold watch.
These spirits were good souls.
“There wasn`t one of these individual spirit people who had anything negative about them,” Mr. Acorah told us. “They were all very kindred people, good souls, well intentioned. And this is why the energies at this distillery are good, and always have been good.”
But, it`s not all good. He reckoned with more time, he would have unearthed some darker material. He said the there was a tinge of disappointment, “of shock, a surprise, an exclamation of `oh no` that everything has stopped” which alarmed him. He then went onto reveal a time when everything came to a standstill “when suddenly a group of people came round to say `look, look, we`re going to help them`, and in that group, these people produced what was needed to start things up again and it was fantastic.”
The alarm bells resulted in a happy ending. “They were so, so happy. These people who ran this distillery were good souls who looked after people and in the end the same people looked after them because they did something for this family. What comradeship is that? That`s fantastic. It tells you how much love was here, and still is here.”
He said love can never disintegrate. “I don`t mean personal love - one to one - I`m talking about the greater love. When a person thinks well of another person, that love goes out into the ether, into the atmosphere, and stays within the fabric - just as evil does. If an evil situation occurs, from an evil person, that evil will go into the fabric as residual energy.
Now, there`s none of that in this place from what I can make out today, it`s all goodness.” With an eye to the future, he predicted good things for the distillery and its brands.
“Everything that`s going on in this site will be successful because the lovely people who are here, who are doing what they are doing, are being helped by a family called the Lockes. They are pushing them and wishing them well.”
He told us that visiting the Distillery was a great, happy experience for him as he all-too often visits locations where there is nothing but negative spirits. “I didn`t know what to expect - I`ve never been here before I don`t know anything about the place - but it`s been a sheer joy.”
The former professional footballer was at the distillery, ostensibly as a tourist, in the company of his wife Gwen. Asked if he planned on returning to Westmeath, perhaps with a camera crew in tow, he said he most definitely would, and he revealed that he wants to film a `Ghost Towns` series in Ireland if given the chance by producers.
As we enter the Halloween season, Mr. Acorah told us that even good ghosts can be bad. Good spirits can frighten people by movement or by a sudden change in atmosphere. Often the sensation of being watched is felt. “It doesn`t feel right, and although that`s not evil intent, that`s the spirit person coming into the atmosphere. They cause a sensation in the atmosphere which they don`t intend causing. Good spirits don`t want to frighten people, but they do.”