Are these ghosts scary - or just slimy?
Having survived several ghost walks around the world, I decided I was brave enough to upgrade to a ghost bus! I was feeling courageous and I was ready to try the Dublin Ghostbus Tour. I figured it couldn't be much different from a walking tour. If anything, it would be easier – no more exerting myself with all that walking! I would just have sit back, enjoy the ride, and see the ghostly sites from the comfort of my seat.
Brushing cobwebs aside, I bravely climbed to the top level of the bus, where it was completely black. Groping my way along the seats, I sat near the front and let my eyes adjust to the light. With thick velvet curtains blacking out the street lights, I was cloaked in fear, but not the kind you might imagine. If there’s one rule for me on trains, planes, and automobiles, it’s that I need to look out the window in order to keep my legendary motion sickness at bay. I wasn't counting on not being able to see!
In fact, we only were allowed to open our curtains three times in the first hour and the sights weren't that exciting or ghostly at all. Our guide did a great job of recounting how Bram Stoker was influenced by mysterious tales recounted by his mothers, but it was a bit anti-climactic to open our velvet curtains just to see a plaque on a building where Stoker once worked. We were halfway through the tour and I was feeling rather queasy and hadn't seen anything of Dublin at all.
Once inside, our guide regaled us with dramatic stories of debauchery and depravity of the cathedral’s past, when it rented out space in the crypt to all kinds of devious enterprises. As he was reaching the end of one particularly gruesome tale, an accomplice in costume jumped out at us and ran amuck throughout our group for a few minutes. This was the “scariest” of our ghost encounters and, even for a wimp like me; it was more startling and silly than truly frightening.
On the negative side, the encounter with the overly 'touchy feely' ghost was off putting. At first it felt like a silly joke but I soon felt uncomfortable. I was also frustrated that we spent so much time driving around the city in the dark, just listening to the guide, with nothing to see. The high price was also a negative factor. At 28 Euros a ticket, I can’t honestly say that this represents a good value unless you really, really love ghost and haunted house-style experiences. If you simply wanted to hear some ghost stories and have some fun, I would have to recommend a ghost walk. They cost about 13 Euros, saving you 15 Euros to enjoy at the pub.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. What spooky thrills do you seek out when you travel?
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
The Real "Spirit" of Travel: My Ghost Encounter
Travel Value All Stars: Walking Tours
Photo Essay: Bicycles of Ireland
I was offered a complimentary tour as part of the TBEX Conference in Dublin. This did not affect my reviews and all opinions remain my own.