In the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Dubh Linn gardens sit on the site of the original black pool. They are decorated with intertwined brick pathways representing eels. The central lawn double jobs as a helicopter landing pad, while small gardens, such as the Garda Memorial Garden, occupy the corners. It is also the site of the Chester Beatty Library, one of my favorite places to visit in Dublin.
Dublin Castle sits in the heart of old Dublin, on the highest point of land in the area, a ridge between the Liffey and the Poddle (which now flows underground). A sheltered harbour on the Poddle, Dubh Linn was the original Black Pool from which Dublin gets its name. It was probably the site of an ancient ringfort which guarded the harbour, and from the 930s a Viking settlement stood there. The Norman castle was founded in 1204 and the gates were once decorated with the decapitated heads of rebels and invaders. This gate is on Palace Street, the shortest in Dublin with only two addresses, one of which is the Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society, founded in 1790. Next door to it is the lovely Chez Max.
Montpelier Hill looms large in the supernatural tales of Dublin and even larger in Dubh Linn. Standing on top of it is the Hellfire Club, once a hunting lodge built in 1725. Stones from the cairn beside it were used in the construction and that sort of thing never ends well. It was used by members of the Irish Hellfire Club for meetings and the stories of wild behaviour, gambling, drunkenness and deals with the devil soon followed. They abandoned it after a fire which was reputedly started by one of the members when a footman spilled his brandy. His solution? Setting the man on fire.
Strange occurances, ghostly reports and bad luck continue to be associated with the Hellfire Club.
Doorways to Dubh Linn are everywhere. Sometimes they can be seen and sometimes not, but there’s always some sort of marker, something to identify them. While doing research for A Hollow in the Hills on Bray Head we came across this tree (or maybe these trees?) right in the middle of the path (I use the term loosely, it’s quite a scramble). I had to put it in.
Shielmartin hill is part of Howth Head, overlooking Dublin and features in A Hollow in the Hills. Local tradition says that the cairn on the summit was the burial place of Crimthann. Most of the summit appears to be made up of the cairn, with other cairns built on top of it.
One of my many magical places around Dublin featuring in A Crack in Everything and A Hollow in the Hills.
I’m going to post some more of them over the next while. Stay tuned.
In the meantime check out the Goodreads giveaway running for another 8 days.