The ruin of the Hellfire Club that sits atop Montpelier Hill in the Dublin mountains is a curious place indeed. The area bristles with legends and hearsay of the debauched group of 18th century rich boys with nothing better to do than gamble, drink, feck-act about with black magic and allegedly murder the odd prostitute or set fire to a hapless servant to amuse themselves. Regardless of whether the more outrageous stories are true or not, it's quite a spooky place to be. Even the route out to the site is like a map of Dublin hauntings and ghost stories. Our guide spent the bus journey filling us in on the discovery of the 130 year old remains of a girl in a pretty silk dress tied to a chair in a walled up room of Rathfarnham Castle in 1880 and the weird happenings at Killakee House which culminated in an exorcism and the skeleton of a dwarf being unearthed from beneath the kitchen floorboards. Lovely.
Upon reaching the actual building, which was aptly surrounded with eerie mist by now, we were warned that many visitors start to feel nauseous once inside, or are overwhelmed by the negative energy that envelops the ruin and have to get back outside quick smart. Suitably on our collective guard, we ventured into the pitch blackness of the lodge, jitters tempered by camera flashes and torchlight, but not at all helped by the skangers in Halloween masks who crept up to the window to frighten the baby Jesus out of the German tourists in our group.
Once upstairs, and with a vice like grip on the unshakeable Bear's arm throughout, we were told about the various faces and shadows that people have claimed to see, in subsequent photos or otherwise and how previous visitors have had necklaces snatched from their throats while in a particular room. We also came across what appeared, from where I was standing, to be discarded bits of rubbish scattered around a former fireplace, although it transpired that a small dead dog was in amongst the debris. Apparently a tour from earlier on in the week came upon a deer's head there too, as it appears that some people's fuckwittery is just too awful for words.
I was finding myself approaching the point of getting just a little bit freaked out, although in retrospect that may have been because of the much more tangible threat of an impending knack attack, what with the scumbags and their masks lurking outside and all. Either way, I was happier once we were back outside in the night air with the spectacular view of Dublin spread out below. It being actual Halloween night, that particular view was made all the better by fireworks erupting all over the city in random sparkly explosions. On our way back down the hill, the guide informed us that a member of the group had seen a six-foot shadow in one of the rooms and a few people felt the forewarned nausea. Of course, she could also have made it all up and none of us would be any the wiser, but nevertheless it certainly was a fantastic way to spend All Hallows Eve.