DODGY DUBLIN: 10 dark SECRETS about the city you didn’t know

Dublin has some dark secrets, so read on to find out what the city has been hiding all these years.

DODGY DUBLIN: 10 dark SECRETS about the city you didn’t know

On the surface, Dublin is a bustling city that attracts many eager visitors to feast their eyes on iconic sights like Trinity College, Temple Bar, and Dublin Castle.

However, given the many secrets the city has kept throughout the years, there are a few things you might not know about dodgy Dublin, which expose its dark and gruesome side.

Read on as we unveil ten of Dublin’s darkest secrets, ranging from torture and cannibalism to its most haunted places. If you plan to visit Dublin, this is for you.

10. St Michan’s Church – 800-year-old corpses

The weathered exterior of St. Michan's Church, a historic landmark in Dublin.  This seemingly ordinary church is rumored to hold some of Dodgy Dublin's darkest secrets, including mummified remains in its crypt.
Credit: Wikimedia / Andreas F. Borchert

There is one fascinating secret about dodgy Dublin you may or may not know, so let us tell you. In the crypt beneath St Michan’s Church, there are preserved 800-year-old bodies which can be seen today.

These eerie corpses are nameless mummies with missing fingers and crossed legs, and it is said that you can rub their fingers for good luck.

9. Darkey Kelley – a controversial resident

When it comes to tales of dodgy Dublin, we cannot forget about one controversial resident Darkey Kelley.

This local brothel keeper was said to be the lover of the Dublin sheriff at the time, who was also a member of the Hellfire Club (more on that later!).

She was accused of killing her newborn baby in ritual, as well as storing six dead bodies in the cellars of her brothel.

8. The Shelbourne Hotel – haunted by a child

The Shelbourne, a historic luxury hotel in Dublin, known for its elegant architecture and rich history.
Credit: Wikipedia / Type 17

Dublin has plenty of stunning five-star hotels to choose from, and one that oozes historical charm is The Shelbourne Hotel beside St Stephen’s Green.

But you may not know that there have been paranormal experiences here, particularly by a child ghost who had died of an illness in 1746 in the houses that used to occupy the space.

7. George’s Hill – a place for historic executions

Two nooses at the gallows silhouetted in the sun.
Credit: Flickr/ mlhradio

Ireland has plenty of places which were historically used for executions, and in Dublin, one of them was George’s Hill Presentation Convent.

For thousands of years, Christians have faced martyrdom and execution at this pivotal spot, while locations such as St. Stephen’s Green and Harold’s Cross Green have also been synonymous with executions in historic Dublin.

6. Dublin Castle – watch where you step

Dublin Castle, a historic seat of power in the Irish capital.  While it now houses government functions and museums, whispers of "dodgy Dublin" might hint at a more intriguing past.
Credit: Flickr / William Murphy

One interesting secret about the once dodgy Dublin is the story of Robert de Fynglas, who was sentenced to death by hanging but instead was starved to death in his cell.

Today, people say he haunts the castle, but not only that, hundreds upon hundreds of decapitated bodies lie buried beneath its grounds.

5. Hellfire Club – a place of satanic worship

The ruins of the Hellfire Club loom over Dublin's landscape. Once a haunt for debauchery and dark rituals, it adds to the city's "Dodgy Dublin" reputation.
Credit: Wikimedia / Joe King

Today, the Hellfire Club is a great place to go on a hike and enjoy fantastic panoramic views, yet many people are not familiar with its history.

This was a place where young aristocrats practised satanic worship, hired prostitutes, and carried out human and animal sacrifices. Suddenly, it’s hard to concentrate on the beautiful view with this information.

4. Kilmainham Gaol – an eerie attraction

The imposing Kilmainham Gaol, a prison steeped in history and notorious for its harsh conditions.  This former jail holds a dark chapter in Dublin's past, adding to the city's "dodgy Dublin" reputation.
Credit: Flickr / Sean Munson

Kilmainham Gaol is one of the most visited historical attractions in Dublin, a place where many political prisoners were incarcerated.

However, to this day, the prison is said to be haunted and eerie cold spots, unexplained noises, and door banging are just a few of the many strange things that often happen at this mysterious place.

3. Tales of cannibalism – desperate times for the poor

Photo of Christchurch Cathedral, a historic cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. The cathedral has a long and colorful history, dating back to the 12th century.
Credit: Flickr / Heribert Bechen

Seeing Dublin today, you would never think that the city was once home to ravaging cannibals. However, according to records in Christchurch Cathedral Dublin, cannibalism was commonplace in Ireland.

In Dublin, it showed that the poor people feasted on the bodies of executed criminals to survive severe food shortages between 1315 and 1318.

2. Grave robbing – a common occurrence in Dublin

An errie picture of a grave yard covered in fog.
Credit: Unsplash/ Scott Rodgerson

Anyone who has ever visited Dublin pubs may be familiar with the pub ‘The Gravediggers’ in Glasnevin, but do you know the secrets of this cemetery in dodgy Dublin?

Since medical schools purchased bodies, locals frequently engaged in graverobbing at Glasnevin Cemetery to support themselves financially. It was also common for medical students to take part in these diggings.

1. Dublin’s red-light district – known as The Monto

A photo of modern Red light district is Dublin, also known as The Monto. Around 1600 prostitutes worked in the area from 1860 - 1900, one of dodgy Dublin's secrets.
Credit: Flickr / William Murphy

One of dodgy Dublin’s top secrets, which many will not reveal, is the existence of the red-light district known as The Monto after Montgomery Street.

During the heyday of Dublin’s red-light district between the 1860s and 1900s, around 1600 prostitutes worked in the area, where brothels dotted the landscape.

So, if you thought you knew the ins and outs of Ireland’s capital city, these secrets of dodgy Dublin may give you a whole other perspective of the city’s crazy past.

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