The Hell Fire Club is an old Hunting lodge located just South Dublin on Montpelier Hill, 6.5 km south of Rathfarnham. Hell fire club walk, also know as the “Montpelier walk” is an easy to moderate 4 km loop walk that will bring you from the Hell Fire car park to the Hell fire lodge located on the 383 m high Montpelier Hill overlooking the City of Dublin. If you are looking for a short walk close to Dublin, the Hell Fire Club walk is for you!
The Hell Fire Club walk offers a spectacular view of Dublin City, Dublin Bay and even Howth Head from the top of Montpelier Hill. Hellfire club lodge is one of the most notorious Dublin landmark and has been known since the 18th century to be the most haunted place in Ireland. It is associated with tall tales of devil work-shipping and black masses. But today, it is just a ruin .and kids love going in exploring the strange building.
It is great spot for a family picnic overlooking the entire city of Dublin and an ideal location for great selfies with a fantastic view of Dublin or the Hellfire club in the background.
And sure, if you have a bit more time or if the weather is not that great, you can always go the Massey Wood Estate just across the 115 road from the Hellfire car Park. The Massey Wood forest walk offers a vast ecological resource of flora, wildlife, tree species, ancient walled garden and even an ancient ice house.
Explore the full Hellfire Club Walk profile below for trail map, Driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure right at the doorsteps of Dublin.
And don’t forget to leave your own review of this walk right at the end of this post!
Hell Fire Club Walk Snapshot
Hell Fire Club Walk: How to get there & trail head
Getting to the Hellfire Club By Car
The simplest way to get to the Hellfire Club is by car (access via the R115), park at the Hellfire Car Park at the base of the Montpelier Hill.
The Hellfire Car park is located in South County Dublin, approximately 12.8km southwest of Dublin City Centre and approximately 6km southeast of Tallaght and 6.5km south of Rathfarnham on R115 road to Glencullen.
Coming from Rathfarnham, drive south along the Ballyboden Road, turn onto Stocking Lane and follow the road for a mile or two until you reach the car park at Killakee
Hellfire Car Par Opening time:
The car park can take approximately 70 cars and can fill up pretty quick on good weather day. It sometimes overflows onto the narrow roadways adjacent to the site. So drive carefully.
The Hellfire Club car park open between 7 am and 9 pm from April to September.
The Hellfire Club car park open between 8 am and 5 pm from October to March.
Please be advised not to leave any belongings visible in your unattended car.
Getting to the Hellfire Club By Public Transport
The nearest bus stop to the Hellfire Club appears to be the Dublin Bus Stop 6283 at Ballycullen Road (Hunter’s Avenue). This stop is served by the Number 15 bus. From there, the Hellfire Car Park would be around a 40 minute walk.
Hellfire club Walk: The Montpelier Loop Walk
Once you park your car at the Hellfire car park, you will spot the entrance of the main forest road. Simply follow this main forest trail that goes up and around the Montpelier Hill.
After 0,5 km or around 10 min walk, the trails reach a crossing point where you can see a steep trail on the right leading directly to the Hellfire club. Whereas you might be tempted to take this trail up, I would suggest you carry on the main trail that will bring you gently to the top of the Hill right next to the Hellfire Club.
After a bit more that 25 min walk from the start (around 1.5 km), you come across a fork. Take the trail that go slightly down on the left. There you will admire the beautiful view of the the Glensamole Valley and the Piperstowwn Gap.
After another 1 km, the trail veers off to the right and you will be ready to attack to last straight line leading to you final destination: The Montpelier House, better known as “The Hellfire Club”.
There, I suggest you stop for a while and have a picnic with the kids and admire the beautiful view of Dublin that this spot has to offer.Try to locate the area you live in, maybe some famous Dublin landmarks like Phoenix Park or Howth head. It is a good idea to bring binoculars if you have some at home. Let the kids explore the two storey Hellfire house and tell them some spooky stories about it.
To go back, follow the trail down to your starting point and for the longer walk, continue north to the entrance to Massey Woods.
Did you Know?
William Conolly’s Hunting Lodge
The Hell Fire Club was an shooting Lodge build in 1725 by William Conolly, son of an inn-keeper from Ballyshannon, who became a speaker of the Irish House of Commons, and one of Ireland’s richest men in his time. William Conolly is also responsible in 1722 for building first winged Palladian house in Ireland, Castletown House in Celbridge, County Kildare.
The HellFire Lodge was built using the all the stones from the great cairn of a neolithic passage tomb located just behind where the lodge stand today.
And this is where the folklore and the legends associated with the Hell Fire Club began. It is said that the Devil himself was so angry that this big ancient tomb was destroyed, that he blew off the original slate roof of the lodge. William Conolly had the roof replaced with an arched stone roof constructed in a similar fashion to that of a bridge, and you can still see that same roof today, some 300 years later.
Who were the Hell Fire Club?
William Conolly died just four years after the building was built. After that, the building stayed abandoned for a while until it is believed that Lord Rosse, Richard Parsons who was the leader of a group of aristocrats that called themselves the Hellfire club, has started to lease the building from Katherine Conolly (William’s widow).
The Hellfire Club was an organisation that was rather short lived in Ireland (from 1937 to 1740) made of 5 aristocrats (4th Baron Barry of Santry ;Simon Luttrell, Lord Irnham; Colonel Henry Ponsonby; Colonel Richard St George and Colonel Clements.
The members of the Hellfire Club were described by Jonathan Swift, writer of Gulliver’s Travels, who was a contemporary of these aristocrats and lived in Dublin at the time, as “a brace of monsters, blasphemers and Bacchanalians”.
This group of wild and non-conformist young aristocrats was also know as “The Blasters” or the “Young Bucks of Dublin”.
According to Neil Jackman, managing director of Abarta Heritage, responsible of the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project and the the Hellfire Club dig carried over in 2016:
“many of these fellas were head bangers but very entertaining ones. They didn’t, as an organisation have any big religion belief but they did love to mock religion, so they use to do things like black masses and try to conjure the devil, but that was more to shock polite society more than anything else.”Neil Jackman
The club was one of many in both England and Ireland where rich young rakes indulged in ceremonial drinking and dining and gambling and carousing.
But a few clubs crossed the line into sex, blasphemy and sheer bloody badness – or so the rumour goes.
The Dublin’s Hellfire Club met at the time at the Eagle Tavern on Cork Hill beside Dublin Castle.
In an article for the Irish Times, David Ryan- author of the book, Blasphemers Blackguards: The Irish Hellfire Clubs – calls the founder, the Earl of Rosse ” a notorious libertine fond of playing outrageous practical jokes on members of the clergy”.
Folklore and eerie stories
It is believed Hellfire Club members played cards with the devil. The story says that one stormy night a stranger arrived at the HellFire Club and was invited in and joined the member of the Club in a card game. One player dropped his card on the floor and when he bent under the table to retrieve it noticed that the stranger had a cloven hoof. At this point the visitor disappeared in a ball of flame.
Other stories tell they burned a servant to death and were visited by a priest who exorcised a demon from a black cat.
Interesting Links about the Hellfire Club:
Brilliant podcast by Fin Dwyer about the HellFire Club featuring an interview of Neil Jackman, managing director of Abarta Heritage
Read more about the notorious Hell Fire Club in the Dublin mountain
Article about the 2016 Archaeological dig that took place in 2016 in the HellFire
Full report of Neil Jackman’s the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project here
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