Secret Societies are cloaked in shroud and mystery. Private ceremonies, invite only parties, members who are sworn to secrecy participate in ancient rituals, indulge in hush hush rites, possibly partake in debauchery. One such place and order was the Hellfire Cave and the Hellfire Club. We travel back in time to share the origins of this mystical group and gathering spots to peek into the closed off convention.
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The Hellfire Club
To build the lodge, they say that Connolly's workmen used stones from the ancient passage tombs - their destruction marks the start of the association of the site with the supernatural.
Local legend has it that the devil was so enraged by the desecration that he blew off the wooden roof of the lodge in a storm.
After Connolly's death, his widow leased the building to the Earl of Rosse, Richards Parsons, in 1735. He was one of the leading figures in the Dublin Hellfire Club - also known as The Blasters or the Young Bucks of Dublin.
The club was one of many in both England and Ireland where rich young rakes indulged in ceremonial drinking and dining and gambling and carousing.
The Hellfire Caves (also known as the West Wycombe Caves) are a network of man-made chalk and flint caverns that extend 260m underground. They are situated above the village of West Wycombe, at the southern edge of the Chiltern Hills near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Southeast England.
They were excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Francis Dashwood, 11th Baron le Despencer (2nd Baronet), founder of the Society of Dilettanti and co-founder of the Hellfire Club, whose meetings were held in the caves. The caves have been operating as tourist attractions since 1863.