Located six miles west of Caldbeck among the "Back o' Skidda'" fells of the northern Lake District, Ireby is a quaint and peaceful little village that provides an excellent base from which to explore the likes of Wigton, Cockermouth, Bassenthwaite and the Solway Coast.
This area provides a stunning setting for walks for all abilities. There's a particularly pleasant walk from the village pub to Ireby Chancel, a simple, 12-century celtic church building located just three-and-a-half miles from the village. Walks to the fells and peaks of Blencathra, near Threlkeld, and Skiddaw, near Keswick are easily accessible from the village, which also offers a number of delightful little Cumbrian cottages to those who wish to explore the region at their own pace.
Ireby has had several commendations from notable literary figures - a testament to its beauty and appeal to the romantic. John Keats once visited Ireby on a walking holiday in the early nineteenth century, and talked favourably about Ireby folk and the village itself in his writing. Similarly, writer Wilkie Collins also visited, as did Charles Dickens, who described it as "a very little town with the purple and brown moor close upon its one street; a curious little ancient market cross set up in the midst of it; and the town itself looking very much as if it were a collection of great stones piled on end by the Druids long ago, which a few recluse people had since hollowed out for habitations."
For those with a penchant for a good ghost story, a trip just a mile south of Ireby to Overwater Tarn will discover a ghastly tale. The early nineteenth-century Overwater Hall, which now functions as a hotel, was once owned by a Mr. Gillbanks, who made his fortune and found a wife in Jamaica. Unbeknownst to his wife, he had a relationship with a poor Jamaican girl, who followed him all the way to Overwater Hall. One night, under the cover of darkness, Gillbanks took his Jamaican lover out to the middle of the tarn and hurled her overboard. She managed to cling to the boat, but as she did so, Gillbanks callously chopped off her arms, sending her plummeting into the Tarn's dark waters. While Gillbanks was never charged with her murder, his lover has since managed to divulge his dark secret; her armless ghost has been seen on countless occasions, particularly on New Year's Eve, and most often in Room 3 of the hotel