Blasphemers and Blackguards: The Irish Hellfire Clubs


David Ryan

Cutting through the veil of myth and legend, Blasphemers and Blackguards reveals the truth about the hellfire clubs of 18th-century Ireland, and uncovers new information about their outrageous activities.

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Prostitutes, pimps, cutpurses, murderers, and bawdy houses… What were the hellfire clubs of 18th-century Ireland?

Were they really elite groups who engaged in obscene orgies, devil worship, and the ritual murder of servants? These questions have intrigued virtually everyone who has visited the supposed hellfire club meeting place in the Dublin Mountains, or heard the lurid stories that are associated with it.

Cutting through this veil of myth and legend, Blasphemers and Blackguards: The Irish Hellfire Clubs reveals the truth about these mysterious societies.

The book uncovers striking new information about the outrageous activities of these clubs – provocative blasphemy, taboo sexual activities, atrocities (most shockingly, the ritualistic murder of a servant), and the clubs’ habit of toasting the devil.

Table of Contents 

List of Plates


Note on the Text

List of Abbreviations

  1. Introduction
  2. The Dublin Hellfire Club
  3. The Demise of the Hellfire Club
  4. Regional Hellfire Clubs
  5. The Pinkindindies
  6. Daly’s Club, ‘Buck’ Whaley and the Cherokees
  7. The Hellfire Myth
  8. Conclusion




About the Author

David Ryan is a freelance television researcher and writer, who has contributed a number of articles to books and journals on 18th and 19th century Ireland. He lives in Dublin.

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