Microadventures Ireland

Camping at the Dublin Hellfire Club | Microadventures Ireland

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Between the hours of one and five in the morning, I must have woken up maybe six times to the howling wind outside the tent. It would be wrong to say terrifying so the best way I could describe each of these moments is to say that they were concerning. Having pushed my way into a thick section of bush, I felt comfortable that nobody would stumble across my being there during the night and with it being a Monday evening, I was pretty sure that nobody would be there anyway.

I had always been afraid of the place and never in my wildest dreams, did I think that I would find myself camping alone next to the Hellfire Club.

Camping at the Hellfire Club

Built in 1725 by William Connolly and some associates, the Hellfire Club was intended as a hunting lodge; somewhere for the supremely wealthy folk in Dublin to drink, play cards and indulge in whatever they wished. Although many people know about the myths involving the devil, banshees and black cats, fewer know the truth about what happened in the Hellfire Club.

Terrible things happened inside these walls. Slavery was prominent in the city back then and in some cases, it is said that slaves were taken to the Dublin Hellfire Club, never to be seen again. For the sake of explaining the rest of this microadventure, let me just say that this was merely one despicable act which took place in the confines of a supposed “Hunting lodge”.

Neolithic Spirits

Arguably the most haunting thing about the Hellfire Club Dublin is that this entire building was constructed on the site of an ancient Neolithic Passage. Furthermore, Connolly and his men ripped the stone from this passage and used it to construct the building which sits on Montpelier hill to this day.

Incredibly, William Connolly was fully aware the Neolithic people believed that these stones contained and attracted spirits so the act of removing them do disrespectfully was considered an unthinkable act which would surely lay curse to the building.

Childlike curiosity and microadventures

As mentioned, I had always been afraid of the Hellfire Club and while I had visited this building in daylight many years ago, I remember being too afraid to step inside. At the same time, I was now consumed by this same childlike curiosity for what was there and what would happen if I climbed to the brow of Montpelier Hill with the intention of staying there after dark.

View of hellfire club from the woods

Unexpected encounter and waking up during the night

It was also the last thing I needed but as soon as the tent was pitched, I could see something moving in the tree a short distance away. Knowing that I would never be able to sleep, I decided to satisfy my urge to know more and left the tent to get closer to whatever it was.

I surprised myself by staying calm on this night and falling asleep in spite of the many times during which I woke up to the sound of the wind outside. However, when morning came, I packed up the tent and marched straight back out onto the hill where I could welcome the sun.

It is now one week since I slept in a tent on Montpelier Hill and I still think about that night. While many people say they could never do this themselves, there are many more who say that the act of camping next to the Hellfire Club is not something which would scare them.

Let me tell you something; visiting the Hellfire Club during the day is one thing, visiting the Hellfire, experiencing the atmosphere around the Hellfire Club after dark is another, and then there is camping alone next to this ancient building when the lights go out and all you can hear is the wind.

You can watch my latest microadventure in Ireland and video about Camping at the Hellfire Club here.

I'm an Outdoor Adventure Blogger from Dublin, Ireland. In late 2013 I began riding a bicycle across Africa and it was during this adventure when I discovered a passion for the great outdoors and the general uncertainty of life on the road. Next April, I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

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