The Black Cat of Killakee House and The Hellfire Club

Have you heard the tale of the Black Cat of Killakee?

The story begins at the Killakee House in Dublin, Ireland, centuries ago but really took hold in 1968 when a young couple, Nicholas & Margaret O’Brien, bought the decrepit house and started renovating it for an arts center.

Some say that it isn’t actually the spirit of a cat but a terrifying elemental spirit (reportedly the size of a panther). It supposedly has the ability to speak and has a humanoid looking face. Now there are many large houses on the grounds that have cats, normal acting cats doing what cats normally do (chasing mice, rats, etc.).

The Killakee cat that stalks the halls and grounds is clearly supernatural and it’s doubtful if it is an actual animal.


When the renovations began in 1968, workers started reporting strange sounds and even stranger happenings, which came to a head when a very large black cat (with glowing demon eyes) started haunting them. The incidents took place mostly at night. The cat would appear and disappear in the blink of an eye, scaring the workers. These workers were living in the house, so they could not only work at a fast pace on renovations but also provide security for the property.

Margaret O’Brien, at first thought the workers were merely being superstitious, telling ghost stories, however it wasn’t long until she and her husband also started having run-ins with the cat. It would appear in hallways and areas with locked doors, just staring or snarling.

The lead painter, Tom McAssey, had a meeting with Mrs. O’Brien about the supposed wild animal. The talks ran late and he was unable to convince her about the large black cat loose on the property, because she had not heard anything (from the cat) the entire time they had been talking. She decided to stay over and made sure that every door was locked before retiring.

Her first encounter with the large black cat was seeing it sitting in the middle of a hallway. Startled, she gasped, getting the cat’s attention. She described the look the cat gave her as a foul and hateful glare. She had never seen anything like it on any animal’s face before. She described the cat as being a panther. There was something very odd and intelligent about it. She backed off, and when she turned to look back, the cat had disappeared.

Now depending on where you read, there are several different depictions as to what happened next.

One story involves the lead painter had another encounter. He was working late one night when a nearby door swung open to reveal swirling mists behind it. He thought he could see a figure within the mists, believing someone was playing a joke on him, he called out for whoever it was to come inside so he could see them.

What entered the room was not a joke but a huge black cat with glowing eyes. It stalked into the room, growling at him the entire time. He was so scared that he ran.

The next version finds the head painter, along with two other painters, working inside the same room in the house, when the temperature suddenly dropped to an icy cold level. Without warning, the door to the room smashed open and a strange hazy figure could be seen in the darkness of the corridor.

Tom thought it was a local boy playing a trick on them, so he shouted that enough was enough, and to come into the room as the painters were not buying it. To their shock, his request was met with a growling sound. The three men threw down their tools and left the room through another door, as Tom looked back, he saw a large hideous black cat with red eyes, snarling at him.

The O’Brien’s had enough so they called in a local priest to perform an exorcism at the location. They didn’t want any guests to have incidents with this cat, once the it opened. Mrs. O’Brien felt the exorcism had worked as there were no further reports for several months, not until after the center opened to the public.

In October of 1969, one night, a group of actors staying there got drunk. Being bold and drunk, they decided to hold a séance there, as they had heard in town about the cat and it’s haunting.

What they did, not only brought the cat back but a pair of ghostly nuns as well. The nuns would confront guests in the gallery area. A local medium, Sheila St. Clair, was brought in. The medium claimed that the spirits of the nuns were women who had assisted in being forced to help out with satanic rituals by the notorious Hellfire Club in the 18th century.

The building itself may have been part of the original property, however nothing has been proven that it was part of the infamous location, other than some disturbing paintings that were unearthed in other sites rumored to have belonged to the same Hellfire Club members. The paintings depict a huge black cat surrounded by flames.



The Hellfire Club is near the Killakee House.

The area around The Hellfire Club is reportedly the notoriously most haunted locations in Ireland. Many ghosts are in the building, one who likes to tug at jewelry worn around the neck, especially religious jewelry such as crucifixes. Several people on Dublin walking tours have reported their necklaces being pulled by invisible hands, and in one case the chain was actually broken.

There are reports of a ghostly woman screaming in anguish, believed to have been murdered by being trapped in a barrel, set on fire and rolled down a hill by those who frequented the club.

Also The Hellfire Club and Killakee House are said to be haunted by a spirit of a young dwarf man, who was brutally murdered in the 18th century, during a ritual at The Hellfire Club. In 1971, the body of a dwarf was found buried under the kitchen area of Killakee House. It is said that the reason his poor soul was unable to rest is that because his killers buried his body with a grotesque effigy of a demon.

The devil himself was said to have appeared at The Hellfire Club. He supposedly appeared during a card game, vanishing when a man spotted that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of feet. The Hellfire Club burned in 1740 and is now just a shell. They claim the old hunting lodge still smells of brimstone.

Have you any experiences at either location that you can share as a comment? Please let us know! Thank you!

I am a published author that specializes in stories of paranormal, supernatural and children's books. My books are available as Kindle or paperback versions on Amazon. I have had many personal paranormal experiences besides having the best (late) Grandmother who could spin the best ghost stories ever.

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