How to Visit Gimghoul Castle in Chapel Hill
Secret societies, legends, and ghosts all inhabit this real castle in the Triangle
When you think of castles, places like Ireland, Scotland, and England may pop in your head. What about Chapel Hill? Probably not, but surprisingly, this part of the Triangle does have its own legitimate French-style château, Gimghoul Castle. It even has exclusive inhabitants and a ghost story to complete the package.
This medieval inspired structure broke ground in the 1920s and sits on top of Gimghoul Road. The stronghold’s labor intensive construction, 1,300 tons of stones, was built by actual stonemasons. But who would want a castle on top of a hill? The Order of Gimghoul, a University of North Carolina (UNC) secret society paid for the project handsomely at $50,000, which in 1920 was a considerable amount. Supposedly, the society started in 1889 after inspiration from a local ghost story.
Legend has it that Peter Dromgoole fell in love with Miss Fanny, dueled over her love, and was shot and killed near the present day Gimghoul Castle. His wounds bloodied a rock that you can allegedly still find till this day in the area. The story goes that Peter haunts the castle and the neighboring woods. Looks like he has left a light on for you!
Here’s what you need to know to make your visit to Gimghoul Castle fun and memorable. First, put 742 Gimghoul Road into your GPS, not 705 like Tripadvisor claims. You’ll know you’re on the right course when you enter a residential neighborhood near UNC’s East Campus on Gimghoul Road. From there you will go straight uphill until you hit a dirt road. Shortly after, you will see the castle to your right. Park your car on the loop that is an extension of the dirt road. Take your selfies, snapshots, and travel vlogs, but make sure not to trespass onto the private property. There are signs and barriers to mark the boundaries. Recall the stories that hang onto this citadel like a fog. The experience will probably only last a few minutes, but if you are in the area it’s definitely worth checking out.