Hellfire Club Archaeological Project
Hellfire Club Archaeological Project2018-08-16T19:54:03+01:00

Welcome to the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project

The Hellfire Club Archaeological Project is a not-for-profit project that was created to help to discover the story of Montpelier Hill.  Our main objective is to investigate the nature of the possible passage-tombs designated DU025-001001 & DU025-001002 and to obtain a better understanding of both the physical remains of the eighteenth century hunting lodge known as the Hellfire Club, and a better historical insight into the group that made the site so notorious.

Primarily the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project aims to identify, examine and interpret the archaeological remains at the site, as part of a collaborative multi-disciplinary community outreach project involving a number of bodies and groups in a phased approach.  These phases involved

  • Research
  • Geophysical Survey and LiDAR
  • Small test-excavation to verify the geophysical survey
  • The excavation of two test trenches in 2016.

The Hellfire Club dig was carried out through the month of October, and is now complete.  The excavation was directed by Neil Jackman of Abarta Heritage, with an experienced team of archaeologists alongside volunteers from University College Dublin, School of Archaeology.  The project is supported by South Dublin County Council, Coillte, Dublin Mountains Partnership as well as Abarta Heritage.  With kind support from University College Dublin, the Discovery Programme, the National Monuments Service and National Museum of Ireland.

What is the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project2018-06-30T10:36:52+01:00

The Hellfire Club Archaeological Project is a not-for-profit archaeological research project.  It aims to discover the story of Montpelier Hill through a programme of research and targeted excavation.  The project to date has focused on the large mound at the rear of the hunting lodge (known as the Hellfire Club).  This feature is recorded in the Archaeological Survey of Ireland as a ‘possible passage tomb‘ (DU025-001001).  The tomb was believed to have been destroyed when William Conolly had the stone quarried to build the hunting lodge that later became known as the Hellfire Club.  This project was tasked with trying to discover whether the remains of the mound did indeed represent a passage tomb.

The project has been carried out over a number of years, and it has included research, geophysical survey, a small programme of test-trenching, as well as the larger excavation of 2016.  When the dig was completed, a phase of post-excavation analysis was carried out.  This analysis, involving a number of specialists and experts, culminated in this free publication.

Who Funded the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project?

The project has chiefly been funded by South Dublin County Council as part of the County Heritage Plan, with additional resources from Abarta Heritage.  The project was also considerably helped by the assistance of the landowners Coillte and the support of University College Dublin School of Archaeology.  The project is not-for-profit and any future phases of the project will be carried out in the same manner.

Who Gave Permission for the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project?

Permission to carry out the excavation was granted by Coillte, the landowners of the site, and the dig was carried out in accordance with the National Monuments Acts (1930–2004), under licence number 16E0497.  The licence was issued to Neil Jackman of Abarta Heritage, by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through the National Monuments Service and National Museum of Ireland.  As well as abiding by the National Monuments legislation regarding best-practice, we also ensured we had a clear Health and Safety policy and that we carried out appropriate risk-assessments and took all necessary precautions to safeguard the well-being of the excavation crew as well as the general public.

What did the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project Discover?2018-06-30T10:37:37+01:00

What did the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project Discover?

The Hellfire Club dig in 2016 revealed a lot of new information about the site.  You can find all of the results in the free digital publication Sacred Skies and Earthly Sinners.

During the research and analysis we also made a number of other interesting discoveries, such as the original name of Montpelier Hill, more on the history of the site and the true story of the infamous Hellfire Club themselves, as well as more on the folklore, myths and legends of this remarkable place.

Will there be future phases of the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project?2018-06-30T10:37:48+01:00

Possible Future Phases of the Hellfire Club Archaeological Project

Though the project so far has discovered a lot of information about the site, there is still so much to learn about the archaeology, history and natural environment of Montpelier Hill.  This project to date has only focused on one small aspect of the overall story, and it is clear that further research, survey and possibly targeted excavation would be required to gain a more comprehensive insight into the archaeological landscape of this remarkable place.

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