Do you live in Dublin? Do you like horror stories? Or do you simply love a tale well-told?
Then I encourage you to go into Eason's on O'Connell Street and buy a copy of The Devil's Hoof: A Gothic Tale by Jonathan Barry. It's available in the new titles section on the ground floor, and in the horror section downstairs.
Full disclosure; Jonathan Barry is a friend of mine. He's also the founder of the horror club of which I am proud to be a member. But I can guarantee you that the book is a gripping and satisfying read!
The novel draws on the real-life history of the Hell Fire Club, an infamous gentleman's club of the eighteenth century, located in the Dublin mountains. A huge amount of research went into getting the period detail just right, and it shows.
This is a real old-fashioned gothic tale, with all the properties fans of the genre love; mists, wolves, suspicious locals, mysterious deaths, rumours of devil-worship, a comely landlord's daughter, and so on. However, don't get the idea that this book is as cosy and safe as a warm bath...a few scenes in The Devil's Hoof gave me a genuine shock, and I'm a seasoned horror reader.
On the whole, however, it's the kind of slow-burning spooky story, building to a satisfying climax, that is all too rare in an era when the horror genre is full of hip, sexy vampires and ass-kicking Valley Girls.
Jonathan Barry is also an artist of considerable experience, and the cover illustration is his own.
So go buy The Devil's Hoof. You won't regret it!
the Hellfire club was my mother-in-law's favourite horror story, and she knew quite a few. I never knew the actual place existed until I read last year that people actually go on tours there to see where the devil was, which is at least mildly disturbing. But I'm sure wolves have been extinct in Ireland for a long time?ReplyDelete
The author tells me that wolves were present in Ireland at the time the story is set. As I said, his research was very extensive!Delete
I'm not sure the devil actually appeared at the Hell Fire club? You may know more of the story than me, though. I know that even seeing a sign for it, on a trip to the mountains as a kid, spooked me.
Wikipedia bears him out about wolves!Delete
the story she told they used the place as a gambling sìbín but it was discovered that the man who seemed to always win was found to have a cloven foot under the table, was really the devil. She died back in 1972.ReplyDelete
Interesting....I would have liked to hear her tell it, God bless her soul!Delete
I think Malachy Martin used to refer to that story. In an interview he gave before he died he was asked about Medjugorje which he said he was certain was not from God, largely because the apparition's feet always seemed to be hidden in a cloud. He said that (the interviewer) may laugh, but as he(Martin) was Irish he held with the belief that, with something supernatural, if you can't see the feet it could be the devil's hoovesReplyDelete
I don't think Medjugorje is from God either, although I'm not saying it's diabolical in any immediate way.Delete