From the moment we started working in Ireland there were so many places I had heard were haunted and I was itching to get in there and investigate and, crazy or not, one of the places that I wanted to visit was the infamous Hellfire Club way up in the Dublin mountains.
I had heard so many stories about this place, none of them good, and I wanted to find out for myself if they were true or just a myth, so as a new member of Irish Ghost Hunters this was going to be one of our first investigations together. Great! Investigating a derelict building way up high in a place that hasn’t got a great reputation in this day and age, let alone way back when? Scary but exciting!
The Hellfire club was originally a hunting lodge built by William Connolly. There are many legends connected to this place, one being that it was used as a den of iniquity and debauchery. The other legend that is so commonly known is that it’s meant to be connected to the devil and apparently he manifests there, especially if you “run around the building three times backwards”.
There are two stories that I know of that connects it to the devil. Firstly, when they were building it they used stones from a burial site that is situated nearby and apparently they even used a standing stone from this site as a lentil for the fireplace. Not long after it was built a great storm blew the roof off and many believed it was the work of the devil for using materials from a sacred place. But of course the most popular legend is the one where a stranger turned up at the door of the Hellfire club and was duly invited in for food and refreshments. Afterwards, while playing cards, one of the players dropped a card and stooped down to pick it up and noticed the stranger had a cloven hoof, and with that the stranger disappeared in a puff of smoke. Hmmm this story is the same story that’s connected to Loftus Hall in Wexford, Ireland, and possibly other famous/infamous places around the country (I’ve heard the same story about places near my hometown too – Ed). So I needed to get up there and see what I picked up for myself.
The journey up there was an experience on its own! Situated right at the top of Montpellier mountain, it commands a beautiful view of the whole of Dublin, but getting up there is a bit of a pain as you have to park at the bottom of the mountain and walk up to it, which would normally take about 45-50 minutes, unless you get lost! And that’s exactly what happened to us and getting lost in the dark with the necessary equipment for an investigation and filming was a bit of a nightmare, and it was really spooky! With every step we took I could feel the energy changing around us. The woods that we had to walk through held a lot of secrets, both past and present, it was eerie, and although I could sense spirits around us, to be honest I was more concerned about what we might meet that was living! It took us two hours before we finally reached it. We were tired but relieved we made it. We were being watched by spirit, I just knew it! And the closer we got to the building, the stronger the sensation and the more I felt it was a warning to stay away, but now we had come this far we certainly weren’t going to turn back.
What a forbidding building and even though it was derelict the atmosphere was awful and as we walked through it from room to room there was a very clear picture forming of just what this place was used for. It was a “gentleman’s club” and I use the word “gentleman” very lightly.
This was indeed a place where a lot of drinking, gambling and, from what I was picking up, abuse that went on in days gone by. The energy there was so negative and strong, which doesn’t surprise me really because it’s known that people still go up there even now to practice dark arts and the occult. There was one room at the end of the building that we believe was a kitchen at one stage, as we walked in I immediately sensed two gentlemen with us, both with a very strong presence and warning me to keep clear because they didn’t want me to discover their little secrets.
Our k2 metres were going ballistic and even though it was cold, the temperatures kept changing around us. These two gentlemen were frequent visitors of this den when they were alive, and were still happy to visit even though they had passed over, they wanted to keep control of all that still goes on within those walls. But they weren’t who I was focussing on at that time because there was the most beautiful young spirit girl that had joined us, aged between 16 to 18 years old.
The emotions I was feeling from her was so strong and overwhelming and as I was connecting with her I became so aware of just how much she had suffered badly in her brief life time. As I was telling the group about her and pointing to the spot she was standing the k2 metres went crazy. Her name was Rosie and she had been abused by those who frequented this God -forsaken place. She had worked there and sadly was used as more than just a servant. I felt so overwhelmed by what she was giving me and, to the surprise of myself and the group, I broke down in tears because it had affected me so much. But, as always, I didn’t want the team just to take my word for it so I asked Rosie to answer our questions through the k2 metres by lighting them up every time the answer was yes, and that’s exactly what she did. We could all feel the emotion of what she endured building up around us as we heard her story. Were these two gentlemen that insisted on staying so close to us anything to do with her abuse? Well let’s put it this way, they were definitely aware of it and in my opinion is that yes they were!
Right through the night we had activity one way or another, from changes of temperatures to team members’ emotion being affected or feeling like they were being touched. It was a night to keep on our toes because anything could happen. At one point we were on the first floor chatting away when all of a sudden one of our team members started to look spaced out – her eyes started rolling like she was just about to pass out, there was nothing coming from her, not even when we called her name to bring her forward, and yet five minutes earlier she was fine. She was standing by an open gap that used to be a window so for a few seconds it was pretty scary and we needed to make sure we got her away from that area quickly.Thankfully, once we got her out of that room she was back to her normal self. Something happened in every room we went in! People hearing footsteps, that knowing feeling that we were being watched, being touched etc… so all in all it was a good investigation, but it wasn’t over yet.
Keith and Tim decided to take a walk through the woods that are next to the building, I personally thought they were of their trolley! God knows what they could encounter from the living, let alone the dead, but of they went with torches and camcorder in hand, while the rest of us stayed behind to carry on with the investigation. After about 10-15 minutes the energy around us lifted and for the first time since we got there all felt really calm. Whatever spirits we had had around us that night had decided to leave us, which I think we were all relieved about because we were all so exhausted and just wanted our beds now. All we had to do was wait for Keith and Tim to return, and when they did they seemed pretty pleased with themselves as they had a lot of activity on their walk around, and when Tim reviewed the footage on his camcorder they had captured a bright white shining light floating past them just as Tim says “what’s that?” They had heard footsteps out there and it definitely wasn’t any of us as the rest of us stayed together in a group while they were gone. It could have been an animal, or even someone playing the fool, but it is strange that it coincided with Tim getting this footage, and it’s also strange that as they left the group and went out on their own, all the activity inside the building up and left us too! This investigation was awesome and I consider us to be very lucky to meet the spirits that were connected to that depressing place. Even if they did try to freak us out at times.
This was the first of four investigations that we ended up doing at the Hellfire Club, each time meeting with new and old spirits who never let us down with showing us what they can do and I believe there are still many more spirits to meet there, but not for me as I’ve had my fill of the infamous Hellfire Club. We had gone along and heard the stories of poor Rosie and the other gentlemen, we felt the emotions, heartbreak and anger that was in the hearts of those who walked that dreadful place a long time ago and we had touched on the secrets that still live on within those walls.
Did it live up to my expectations? Yes it did, although I didn’t meet the devil and to be honest I didn’t really expect to. If he exists and if he resides there he obviously didn’t want to meet us that night, or any of the other nights we’ve visited there. I do however believe we met with the evil behaviours that resided in the hearts of those who hid behind the grandeur of who they were and who they mixed with back then. I also can’t help but wonder how often the energy in this building is affected by those who visit there to practice dark arts and the occult in this day and age! It’s not uncommon to hear of people going up there to practice the dark arts and some of the time just for the fun of it. I truly hope they know what they’re doing because playing with the occult can bring on many problems and it definitely shouldn’t be practiced just for the fun of it! The thing with investigations are that you never know who you’re going to connect with, or from what walk of life they came from, but I have to say from my own experiences, as long as you respect spirits then spirits will respect you.