Blasphemers & Blackguards

The Irish Hellfire Clubs

By David Ryan

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 & 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. *** "...this is a well-researched book that challenges many of the popular misconceptions about Irish hellfire clubs. Ryan has not been content to simply reproduce the mythologies of this culture for a general audience, but has delved deep into the archives to produce a readable and convincing account on a subject of enduring popular interest. - H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences, September 2013 *** "Ryan delivers the reality of early eighteenth-century Dublin, a city that was 'more a relic of the medieval era than a harbinger of modernity: chaotically planned, socially unstable and poorly policed.' Readers will see some similarities between the hellfire clubs and some of today's wealthy, organized-crime syndicates. (However, today's criminal cartels have economic goals, whereas the hellfire clubs' objectives were cruelty and mayhem for the fun of it all.) - The Celtic Connection, March 2014~


248 pages

Publication Date: 5/30/2012
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781908928030

Available in other formats