The Hell Fire Club is undoubtedly one of the most famous landmarks on the Dublin Mountains skyline, but this stunning new drone footage from Rob Clifford Video gives a whole new perspective on it.
As well as the fantastic views over the city, the video clearly shows evidence of the ancient past of the site which was originally a passage tomb, dating from the Neolithic Period (4500 – 2000 BC). Speaker Conolly built the house as a hunting lodge in 1725. Conolly, Speaker in the Irish House of Commons, was one of the wealthiest men in Ireland. He is said to have destroyed the cairn while building the hunting lodge, making use of the boulders in its construction. 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 Conolly replaced the slated roof with an arched one of stone.
After Conolly’s death in 1729, the lodge 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.
These associations, as well as its rather ominous name, have given life to lots of ghost stories and superstitions about the spooky goings on at the Hell Fire Club.
You can get a guided tour of the site with historian Frank Tracy on Saturday 25th July at 11:00am and Wednesday 26th August at 11:00am, as part of South Dublin County Council’s History and Heritage 2015 programme.