Hellfire Club with Hidden Dublin Walks and Tours
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 31st of May 2013 at 11:42:09
On a beautiful summer’s evening my sister and I decided to view the darker side of Dublin’s history with a trip to the Hellfire Club in the Dublin Mountain’s with Hidden Dublin Walks and Tours. Their experienced, knowledgeable and entertaining story-tellers, guide people to some of the spookiest spots in and around Ireland’s capital and share some of the city’s trysts with ghosts, demons and murderous villains. All the tours deliver a unique perspective on Dublin’s history and folklore in a frightening fashion!
We choose to do the Hellfire Club excursion a trip of only 25 minutes outside of the city boundaries to the Dublin Mountains. This old hunting lodge was built in 1725 by William Connolly Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, with stones from the adjacent prehistoric passage grave or cairn apparently used in the construction. It was this very deed which is said to have a released the purported evil which has since emanated from this spot and which was further enhanced by the activities of the infamous Hellfire Club which was active in the years 1735 to 1741 and then again from 1771 to 1801. A bunch of bored, wealthy and self-righteous members of the landed classes, met regularly in this isolated spot and within weeks of the initial formation of the so called Hellfire Club, horrific tales began to swirl around the Club’s activities. Already renowned for their debauched behaviour, now more sinister tales began to emerge from murders to sacrifice – both animal and human and purported meetings with the devil. These rumours fuelled Dublin society and the Club did little to dispel them with the president of the Club said to dress like Satan with horns and wings and addressed as the King of Hell. The building itself burnt down several times and today is a mere shell of its former self. However the stories of paranormal activity still persist with numerous sightings and “strange goings” on noted on a regular basis. It is not unusual to see sacrificed animals in parts of the house even today particular around Halloween and stone circles marked out on the grass.
However, whether you believe in these things or not the history of the lodge is still fascinating and even better is the amazing view of Dublin laid out before you. On this dusky summer’s evening, we saw the sun set and a tawny moon emerge over the city – the purples, oranges and yellows of the sleeping sun giving way to an impressive full moon – quite apt on a ghost tour, which led in turn to the twinkling lights of the capital.
Our guide was fun and informative and kept up a lively and atmospheric dialogue from our meeting spot at the Brazen Head- Dublin’s oldest pub all the way up the Hellfire Club. Perhaps a balmy bright evening doesn’t seem that atmospheric on a trip such as ours and truth be told it wasn’t but with the guides skill, our a scaredy- cat metre was certainly running high all along the bus journey and subsequent short 20 minute walk to the Hellfire Club. Neck hairs were raised and hands squeezed long before we even entered the ominous blackened building. The old hunting lodge is cold and dark and with the guide’s low and mesmerizing voice we were sucked into a world of demons and ghosts, murders and sacrifices and all enhanced by the fading light.
While nothing weird or wonderful happened on the tour, we learned a lot about the Club’s sinister past and the guide’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the topic was certainly infectious. After a time spent wondering through the lodge we gradually moved our way down the mountain, perhaps a little faster than when we went up. For the less brave of us – me included the sight of the bus was most welcome!
This is a great way to spend an evening – a little bit different and certainly lots of fun – despite our reservations we had lots of laughs, so whether you are a believer or sceptic or just want to see the spectacular lights of Dublin – then this tour is perfect for you! Why not include this great tour into one of the Dublin nights on our Best of Ireland or Gathering Tours?! And if you like a spooky read and perhaps are even up to stay in haunted castle, read about Ireland's Haunted Hotels and see if you are brave enough!!