The Hellfire Club, Dublin

23 Oct

Last night I climbed Montpelier Hill in order to tour the ruined building that stands on the top. The Hell Fire Club, a hunting lodge built in the 1700’s by William Conolly, was one of several that were established in Britain and Ireland in the 18th century. They were exclusive clubs for high society political figures who met to take part in immoral acts ranging in everything from common debauchery, gambling, and prostitution, to devil worship and satanic rituals. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Literally. We were told nothing the excursion by FIE, who organized the trip, before we got there. When our guide described the building as a lodge, I imagined a one, maybe two room wooden hunting lodge type building. What we found couldn’t have been more different. If you’ve ever seen the “Blair Witch Project”, that’s what you would have thought of. It was a multi-room stone castle type building with walls so thick you would have thought it was a fallout shelter. This helped keep the inside a lot warmer than the outside, despite the lack of windows and door coverings, which you would think would have made it a lot more inviting. But it wasn’t. 

Our tour guide told us that along with being home to Satan and the spirits of dead children and “gray men” alike, it had first been home to the wealthy men of the Hell Fire Club. Isolated on top of the hill, they were free to practice satanic rituals and black magic. It is said to be built on the site of a scared Stone Age tomb. Stones that were found on site before construction began in the 18th century that were rumored to be portals for the devil were also used in the architecture of the building. It is not uncommon, it is said, to smell sulfur when the devil himself is present, as well as sightings of a huge black cat, the Black Cat of Killakee, which haunts the woods and surrounding areas. Since the members of the Hell Fire Club were so wealthy and had so much free time on their hands, it was pretty easy for them to do whatever they wanted. Their favorite activities while on top of the mountain included animal and human sacrifice, including the sacrifice of dwarf whose body was found years later at the Killakee house, and setting people and animals on fire for fun. They also practiced things such as summoning and worshiping the devil. But before they could do all of this, let’s not forget their “anti-christening” of the building, in which they squeezed the blood of newly born, unbaptized babies into every corner of every room. 

Despite the club’s questionable past, I enjoyed the trip a lot. I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits or anything like that, so I never felt uneasy at any point in the trip. On top of that, the view of Dublin at night from the top of the hill was spectacular. The pictures I took would never do it justice, but it was breathtaking to say the least. 

Elizabeth Zona

Pictures (above) and Sources from:




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