Hellfire Club Description by Austin Cooper, 1779
‘On The Top of the Hill of Montpelier stands a house built by the late Mr. Connolly, it is all arched & is now entirely out of Repair’
(Austin Cooper, 1779)
Perhaps the most important historical description we have of the Hellfire Club was written by Austin Cooper, who visited the site in 1779. His description, an excerpt of which you can see quoted above, is significant as it shows that the hunting lodge known as the Hellfire Club, had already fallen into ruin by 1779. A mere 54 years after it was first built. (6)
An unattributed illustration in the collection of the Tallaght Historical Society dated 1779 shows the Hunting Lodge viewed from the front and slightly elevated. The building looks to be in rather good condition, with what appears to be a slate roof, two chimneys, and all the cut stone around the windows. The stone steps are shown still in place, and a stone horse-shoe shaped wall forms a small enclosed area in front of the building. Despite the co-incidence of the drawing being ascribed to the same year as Cooper’s entry, and although the drawing is well executed, it is unlikely to be that of Austin Cooper himself based on the style. It also appears that it doesn’t faithfully match Cooper’s description of the ruined building, as it appears a little idealised and ‘tidied up’.