Sounds weird and wonderful? 👻😀
Its actually a super evening walk in the Dublin hills. With a little planning you can make the experience even more special. Experience sunset in the west, moonrise from the east and a full moon all in one evening! (check online for sites that will tell you sunset and moonrise times in Ireland)
A little note of caution.. If planning a moonlight walk – always travel with people or let people know where you are going. Bring torches. Spare layers for temperature drops. A drink and a small snack. Know your route well before going anywhere in the dusk! Have a phone and spare battery pack (or spare phone) with you. Use your head and don’t put yourself in any risk or danger. Be prepared for “just in case”. What would you need if you were to get lost or have an injury on route?
This is a beautiful natural local amenity nestled in the Dublin mountains. It is visited by locals on a regular basis. Park at the Hell Fire Car park. Anyone can easily negotiate the forest trail to the top where they will find the ruins of the Hell Fire House standing looking out over amazing views stretching out over Dublin city and the east coast.
The land is owned by Coillte. It is called Mount Pelier Hill but better known by locals as the Hell Fire Club.
The main route up to the Hell Fire Club is forest path. You can at any stage disappear off into the many small forest tracks with the hope of spotting wild deer, fox, red squirrels, rabbits or hares. Kids (and adults of course!) always love these little trails in amongst the sky high spruce trees. It adds to the excitement of being outdoors.
Any walk around the Hell fire will not need huge fitness levels. It is a beautiful natural wild habitat, generally used by families, dog walkers & locals who visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The HellFire Club house itself (originally called Mount Pelier but known mostly to the locals as The HellFire Club) dates back to the 18th century. It was originally built as a hunting lodge by a man called William Conolly who at the time was Speaker at the Irish House of Commons.
The House itself was built on top of a Passage Grave which after further excavations in 2016 is now believed to be similar in size to the Passage Grave in Newgrange and possibly dating back over 5000 years. At the time Conolly built the House he used stones from the passage grave in the construction. Soon after the house was built a great storm hit and blew the original roof off the building. Local superstition believed this was an act of revenge by the aggrieved spirits for disturbing the ancient Cairn. I mean who can blame them!
Today, what remains of the passage grave can be seen to the rear of the house in the form of a circular mound with a dip at the centre.
The House has so many facts and stories entwined within its history it’s hard to tell which is fact and which is fiction. It’s believed because the house was in such a remote area that it attracted immoral groups and meetings such as the Hellfire Club. The groups consisted of high society statesmen and aristocrats who followed a motto “Do as you will…”. There are stories of sex, drinking, prostitution, gambling, devil worshipping, satanic black masses, animal sacrifices, murders and much more… There are many favourite devil stories passed down through families over the years especially the story of how he appeared one night in the form of a stranger, joined in a game of cards only later to disappear in a ball of flame. It seems like whatever went on in these meetings within the house was never talked about openly (What happens in the meetings stays in the meetings!) and we are left only with tales of mystery and flagrant carry on lingering around the ruins of the house on top of the hill. Were these groups actual devil worshippers or were they free thinkers just vilified in this manner by gossip, rumours and media.
Whatever the stories, whatever the history, it makes for an even more interesting Moonlighting walk experience up at the Hell Fire Club!
There are currently plans for development in this area which will include a large scale visitor / interpretive centre to cater for up to 300,000 visitors per annum, an associated car park, cafe, a treetop walkway and more.
Local residents and community groups have strongly expressed opposition to this plan believing “..that this proposal by South Dublin County Council will have a catastrophic impact upon an already beautiful and natural amenity and its surrounding environs. To learn more about why they believe this, visit “Save the Hellfire”
All photos and images are property of Linda Jordan ©