Posted by daev at 9:49 PM on October 30, 2006
Halloween Special: This is an expanded version of an article I had published recently, as part of the programme for Conor McPherson's play The Seafarer, currently being staged at the National Theatre in London. I was asked to write a piece dealing with the mythology of Howth and places in the Dublin landscape. I soon discovered a sinister relationship between some of these places...
Posted by daev at 11:39 PM on February 17, 2006
In yet another episode in a never-ending series, blather.net returns to the lair of the English Hellfire Club - Sir Francis Dashwood's party-house at Medmenham Abbey, and the fantastically kitsch tunnels in West Wycombe.
Posted by daev at 11:56 PM on December 28, 2003
On December 28th, the Blather Editorial Committee and friends launched an expedition into the remote reaches of the Dublin mountains...
Posted by daev at 8:26 PM on November 7, 1999
[ This is an edited version of a talk given by Dave Walsh on November 7th 1999 at Fortfest, held in College Park, Maryland. © Dave Walsh 1999 ]
When first asked to speak at Fortfest, I thought I'd traipse through a subject close to my heart, the story of the 18th century Hell-Fire Clubs.
What I didn't expect, in the months leading up to today, while I fooled myself into some form of pseudo-objectivity, was how close I myself would come to my subject of Accidental Satanism. While I can appreciate the works of Anton Lavey, the founder of the Church of Satan, enjoy the often hit and miss humour of Aleister Crowley, and wonder about young murderers who mysteriously become Satanists after reading Anne Rice novels, what truly fascinates me are those who become known as Satanists without ever having claimed such a title.
Posted by daev at 4:21 PM on November 6, 1998
A matter of days after the Samhain issue pitter-pattered into the mailboxes of the Blather clientele, one Sam Smyth of the Irish Independent started an article titled Ultimate sacrifice for new boy Simon thus: 'bright-eyed and eager, Simon Coveney was led into the Dail like a virgin being inducted into the Hell-Fire Club'. Coveney is a newly-elected member of the Irish parliament (Dail TD) for Cork South Central. Is it mere coincidence that Mr. Smyth should employ this Hell-Fire comparison, or did Blather's far reaching influence create a snowball (in hell) meme?
Posted by daev at 12:14 PM on October 30, 1998
The history of Dublin's Hell-Fire Club, Rathfarnham. Overlooking Dublin city from the south west, at an altitude of 383m (1264ft), is a foreboding ruined hunting lodge, marked on Ordnance Survey maps as the 'Hell-Fire Club'. Current urban lore insists on telling us that it was - and still is - a site commonly used for the practice of 'Satanism' and other occult activities, and that the Devil himself made a brief appearance there at some unspecified time in the past. In a story similar to the one attached to Loftus Hall (a haunted house on the Hook Peninsula), a mysterious stranger seeks shelter on a stormy night, and a card game ensues. A member of the household drops a card, and sees that below the table, the otherwise affable and charming visitor has a cloven hoof. His or her screams made the Devil 'aware of her discovery, and he at once vanished in a thunder-clap leaving a brimstone smell behind him' (Seymour and Neligan).
Posted by daev at 5:39 PM on June 5, 1998
A few months ago, Blather spent two issues telling the tale of the Irish Hell-Fire Club of the 1730s and 1740s, whilst exploring the available (and often apocryphal) evidence of the alleged 'satanic' behaviour of the ruling classes of the time. We now turn our attention to the English Hell-Fire Club, which operated from the late 1740s and into the 1760s.
Posted by daev at 5:32 PM on June 5, 1998
Photographs from the Hellfire Club, West Wycombe These photographs are quite old - for newer, better photographs, check out my photographs (2006) of the English Hellfire Club - Medmenham Abbey and the tunnels at West Wycombe