Keeping calm at the Hellfire Club


Sir, – Jim Callan (April 10th) ends with a plea: “Let us make the hilltops open, accessible and welcoming for everyone.” Michael McCarthy (April 3rd) says “this is a place of restorative calm, woodland pathways, mountain streams and muddy puddles, just now crowded with frogspawn. I have been getting away here from the built-up city every week since I first came to live in Dublin in 1968”.

The project to create a visitors’ centre at the Hellfire Club in the Dublin mountainas, being promoted by South Dublin County Council officialdom at vast financial cost both locally and centrally will, if permitted by An Bord Pleanála, in the words of a local councillor “destroy the hillside”.

If this is the result environmentally the biodiversity of the area and plentiful wildlife will be destroyed in that essential habitats will disappear under concrete, tarmac and drains. Footfall may increase in that tourists may be bussed in to spend money in the centre on food, drink and “Hellfire mugs”.

Those of us who regularly visit both Massy’s Wood and Montpelier Hill believe the area is “open, accessible and welcoming for everyone” precisely because it at present provides for people looking for “restorative calm”, animals requiring fast-disappearing habitats, children needing space and new experiences, elderly wanting gently sloping pathways and not least teenagers with backpacks and tents hoping for a little springtime excitement.

Claire Redmond (April 3rd) expresses it neatly: “nobody needs a visitor centre to enjoy this wonderful amenity; in fact one would only take from the beautiful natural surroundings.” – Yours, etc,


Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.