Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Hellfire Club

My walking/photo journal has been a bit hit and miss of late, other than laziness and tricking myself into believing that I am too busy, there is no real excuse. 

But I did go walking on Sunday, all the way up to the Hellfire Club.  It is an historical place in Dublin and one which gives you a great view of the city below.  I like going up there, mainly because I love walking in the forest, and the journey up has many wonderful forest distractions.  The breeze once you reach the top, is not for the faint hearted, so if you are going up on a blustery day, wear heavy shoes to keep you from flying off.

Historical background regarding the Hellfire Club is below for anyone interested.

The Hell Fire Club, is situated at 1275 feet, near the summit of Mount Pelier.  The site was originally a passage tomb. The tomb dates from the Neolithic Period (4500 - 2000 BC) and was constructed within a circle of large boulders known as a cairn.
Speaker Connolly built the house on Mount Pelier Hill in 1725. Connolly was one of the wealthiest men in Ireland; he had a Dublin house in Capel Street and a country estate at Castletown, near Celbridge. He constructed the club as a hunting lodge. Connolly is said to have destroyed the cairn while building the hunting lodge, making use of the boulders in its construction. (Sounds like something a modern day developer might have done in Celtic Tiger Ireland )
Anyhow, some time later the roof, which originally was slated, was blown off in a great storm. Locals attributed this misfortune to the work of the devil, in revenge for the destruction of the cairn. Following this event the lodge was seen locally as a place of evil. However Connolly replaced the slated roof with an arched one of stone.
The building consisted of two large rooms and a hall on the upper floor. A small loft was over the parlour and hall. The hall door was reached by a flight of steps. On the ground level was a large kitchen, servants' quarters and a number of small rooms. All the windows faced north, commanding a magnificent view of Dublin.
After Connolly's death in 1729, the Hunting Lodge remained unoccupied for a number of years until it was acquired by the infamous Hell Fire Club, from which it got its name. Hell Fire Clubs were established in the eighteenth century, and were associated with outrageous behaviour and depravity.
Richard Parsons, the first Earl of Rosse, established the Hell-Fire Club in Dublin in 1735. The president of the Hell Fire Club was named 'The King of Hell' and was dressed like Satan, with horns, wings and cloven hooves. One custom was that of leaving the vice-chair unoccupied for the devil - in whose honour the first toast was always drunk.
The Clubs became associated with excessive drinking. Scaltheen, a drink made from whiskey and butter was served in abundance during meetings of the Hell Fire Club.

Another story about the club concerns a young Bohernabreena farmer, who curious to find out what went on at the meetings, climbed up Mount Pelier one night. He was found by the members of the Club, dragged into the building and allowed to see the nights' activities. He was found the next morning wandering around the area, unable to speak and tradition says he spent the rest of his life deaf and dumb, unable even to remember his name.


  1. I can see why you like to go up there. The stories are just a great bonus, but those views and the house itself I would find irresistible. A great, great post.

  2. I love those pieces of history as well!

  3. It's a very creepy place, isn't it? Don't visit it on October 31st. You don't muck about with cairns and ringforts.. that's bad juju.


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