Tall Story Stands Up



An 18th Century dwarf; Killakee Housee Restaurant, Rathfarnham, County Dublin


The secret of a very small sacrifice in the Dublin mountains.

Paddy asked:

There is a story, and it could be just that, that a plumber found skeletal remains in the Hellfire Club in 1970. It is said that they were “dwarf-like” and it is believed a dwarf may have been sacrificed there in the 18th century. There seem to be no official reports from the time of a skeleton being found there. It’s probably just an urban myth but the accounts that a plumber found the remains is quite specific.”

Historical contributor Sibling of Daedalus reports:-

There was indeed a skeleton found in 1970. It was not found at the original Hellfire Club at the top of Montpelier Hill but at a building nearby to which the Club relocated following the famous fire of 1740.

The premises in question is now the Killakee House Restaurant at 12 Kilakee Road, Rathfarnham (see above).

There are numerous reports of hauntings associated with the house, which is widely reputed to be haunted by a large black cat with poltergeist tendencies, a portrait of which, by artist Tom McAssey, hangs in the house to this day.

However it was only in 1970 that a plumber carrying out work to the house discovered a tiny skeleton under the kitchen floor. First thought to be that of a child, the size of the skeleton’s head led to the conclusion that it was more likely the remains of a dwarf.

No dating was carried out on the bones of the skeleton before it was buried; however the presence of a statuette of a miniature devil found under the same floor raises the possibility that its remains could well have been associated with Hellfire Club activity.

There have been no recent reports of ghosts in Killakee House. Perhaps the second exorcism, carried out after the skeleton’s discovery, laid them to rest?

Sibling of Daedalus

Pics: Huntsearch/ South Dublin Libraries

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11 thoughts on “Tall Story Stands Up

  1. Devine

    Very good I always thought the story of the Hellfire club has the makings of an excellent drama series. Lord Loftus was truly an interesting character, and you can certainly draw parallels between our 18th century forbears and the present establishment.

    Perhaps, the demise of the skeletal remains was due in part to a game of ‘tossing the dwarf’ which went terribly wrong.

    Either way a very interesting piece about a very sordid group.

    1. Steph Pinker

      It wasn’t just an 18th C. pastime; the English rugby squad who represented their honourable nation in the 2011 RWC were called to task for similar practices – practices which included the participation of the Squad Captain, Mike Tindall;


      Apparently, the unfortunate man who was thrown and abused by members of the English squad in their Dwarf Throwing Contest died in 2016 as a result of [the] injuries he sustained.

  2. GiggidyGoo

    They eventually found a clue. The skeleton had a medallion hanging around its neck inscribed with ‘ 1745 hide-and-seek champion’

      1. Joxer

        @Harry its a grand ride up on the bike , continue on past it up to the Car park below Hellfire for some good views of City and then on again along Military road to Glencree and ultimately Sally gap then left down to luggala and on into Laragh. Grand ride that.

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