Located on St Patrick’s Isle, Peel, Isle of Man, the castle is reached over a causeway. The castle buildings are now in ruin but the outer walls are mostly intact. The first fortifications were built by the King Magnus Barelegs of Norway in the 11th Century. The Viking castle was made of wood, though there were earlier Celtic monastic structures on the island. The main round tower was originally part of the Celtic monastery.
The wooden fortifications were eventually replaced with sandstone. After the Vikings the castle was used by the Church but was abandoned in the 18th century. In 1860 the castle was extended with new defensive emplacements.
There is a giant legend attached to the castles construction. A giantess was carrying the one of the bigger sandstone blocks used to build the castle in her apron with some other stones. The apron strings snapped and the collection of blocks she had fell into the harbour.
The Moddey Dhoo or Black Dog is supposed to haunt Peel Castle. Leeds Castle in Kent is also haunted by a Black Dog. What these two fortifications have in common is the fate of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester and wife to the Lord Protector who was tried and convicted of witchcraft and treason circa 1440. She was held at Leeds for a short time prior to her trial and then incarcerated in Peel Castle for life where she spent her final fourteen years in captivity.
One legend of the Moddey Dhoo is based in the reign of King Charles II (1660-1685). The Moddey Dhoo would appear each night and sit by the fire in the guardroom. No one would walk around the castle alone at night for fear of this large black hound and even the patrolling armed soldiers went in pairs. One night a drunken young soldier declared that he would walk the castle passages alone to see if the hound was just a dog or perhaps the devil incarnate. He took the castle key to deliver it to the Captain of the Guard, the Moddey Dhoo got up from the fire and followed him. The soldiers screams shortly rang out around the castle. The young guard man returned alive but terrified and would not speak for the next three days. Then he died. It is possible he died of fright. From that day on, no guard saw the Moddey Dhoo again.