Ruins of the Exclusive Hellfire Club

The abandoned Hell Fire Club (also known as ‘The Shooting Lodge’, ‘Conolly’s Folly’, ‘The Haunted House’ and ‘The Kennel’) is off Old Military Road (R115), the county Dublin, Ireland.

This Palladian architectural styled hunting lodge was originally named Mount Pelier by William Conolly. It is believed to have been built in 1725 and was used as a meeting place for one of the high society clubs of 18th century Ireland. A Hellfire Club was used a place for ‘people of status, quality and character’ to meet and partake in immoral acts. Most of the time members of the clubs were those involved in politics and membership was hard to obtain.

Depicted as a haunted place because the stones of its construction were taken from a prehistoric burial site that was at the top of Montpelier Hill. A nearby Menhir (standing stone) was used for the fireplace. Shortly after its completion a storm blew the roof off of the lodge and locals believed it to be the work of the Devil for moving the standing stone. A new roof was placed on, this one remains to this day. The lodge consists of 3 floors with 2 reception rooms, kitchen, servants quarters and bed chambers.

William Conolly died in 1729 and after this it began to be used as a Hellfire Club. The lodge was allowed for use by the Conolly family to Richard Parsons, 1st Earl of Rosse. It is truly unclear how much activity actually occurred in the lodge due to its remoteness. Most of the stories surrounding the building are from local folklore and former superstitions. Several stories include animal sacrifices, the sacrificing and eating of a farmers daughter, the cloven hoofed devil joining the members in a card game, demons being released and pacts with the devil.

The house was damaged by fire with the true cause being unknown. Many stories circulate how it happened including one that involves a member, Thomas Whaley, pouring brandy on a man and lighting him on fire. Another story states the members of the club lit the building on fire to give it a more sinister look while another says it was burned after the son of William Conolly no longer wanted club to use the building.

The lodge was noted to be in disrepair in 1779, as reported by Austin Cooper, an antiquarian of that time. It has been abandoned ever since.

Where is the abandoned Hellfire Club of Montpelier Hill located? You can find it with these coordinates. 53.251908,-6.330129

Images 1 and 2 used and licensed under CC By NC SA 2.0. Images 1 and 2 by Jeremy Sharp / Flickr / theodric.
Images 3, 4, 5 and 6 used and licensed under CC By SA 3.0. Images 3, 4, 5 and 6 by Joe King / Wikimedia Commons.

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