Dublin’s Hell Fire Club

9 Nov

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I recently visited one of the most haunted places in Dublin, known as the Hell Fire Club. Along with other FIE students, we embarked on a night, unsure of what we would find. While we expected a “full moon walk” and a view of the city at night, we quickly realized that we would be getting more than we bargained for. We were schlepped away from Dublin in the cold and rain to a place known as “the Dublin Mountains”.  Specifically, Mont Pelier Hill. Mont Pelier Hill is a peak of one of the Dublin Mountains, overlooking the city. The clubhouse, located on top of the hill, was initially intended to be a hunting lodge, built by William Conolly, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. When the lodge was first built, there was a collection of stones and a prehistoric grave on the summit of the hill. Historically, stones from the grave were used to build the hunting lodge. After completion of the lodge, the roof blew off in a storm. Many locals attributed this incident to the work of the devil because the grave had been disturbed during the construction of the lodge. Since then, it has been believed that the lodge is “haunted”. This was further enhanced when the Irish Hell Fire Club began using the Mont Pelier Lodge as a meeting place for their gatherings. Stories of their wild, uncontrollable behavior began to circulate throughout the community. The clubhouse consists of two rooms and a large hall. At its peak, it was a place reserved only for lavish gatherings of the Hell Fire Club members.

Richard Parsons, the first Earl of Rosse, established the Hell Fire Club in Dublin in 1735. The clubs were associated with heavy drinking and partying. They were common amongst elites in various cities throughout Europe, including London. Legend has it that the building was and is still today used for the worship of Satan and other cult activities. There are many stories that center around the group and the building. In the 1760s, a fire damaged the building. There are many different accounts of how this occurred, but none can be proven. The club was re-established in 1771 and acted again for approximately thirty years.

Today, the location serves as both a tourist destination and place of Irish history. The stories that are told by tour guides to tourists intertwine many different locations in Dublin and connect them all to the Hell fire Club. The Hell fire Club also marked significance in society; only the most wealthy and most prestigious men were asked to be members. This group had the power and financial means to control the city and act in any way they pleased, even in unsafe, disturbing ways at the clubhouse. While we may never know exactly what happened in the Hellfire Clubhouse, the stories serve as a reminder of the evil that individuals can create and that the fascination with uncovering the history of the group is still apparent today.

This video gives a brief synopsis of the club and includes pictures of the club house:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZVN8bhC7yQ

“Abandoned Ireland.” Abandoned Ireland. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013.

“Montpelier Hill.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 09 Nov. 2013.

“The Hellfire Club.” Hellfire Club. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013.

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