Today, let’s go have a pint in the Temple Bar area of Dublin Ireland. A little cozy and very haunted place called Darkey Kelly’s.
Temple Bar in Dublin Ireland
The Sensuous Mystery of Darkey Kelly
In the 1750s, in old Dublin town, it was not easy to be a young single woman from the working class, especially an ambitious one. Accusations and rumors would quickly spread. So was the case of Dorcas Kelly. Dorcas was a raven-haired beauty that was quick witted, enterprising, and, what we might call a “gold-digger”. Young women wanted to be like her and men of all ages wanted to be with her. Because of her dark hair and olive complexion she was known as “Darkey”.
Or maybe it was because she dabbled in the dark arts.
Darkey's Magical Brothel
Armed with her good looks and business sense, she opened a brothel in the Temple Bar district. It was out of the ordinary for women to own any business much less one of ill-repute. But it soon became very successful, either for its management or for its magical charms.
A Rake’s Progress: The Orgy by William Hogarth. Sir John Soane’s Museum
Darkey's Troubles with Lord Carhampton
Darkey also quickly caught the attention of the local sheriff, Lord Carhampton. He was captivated by her beauty and mysterious air, for he himself led a double life; up-standing properly-married sheriff by day and top-level womanizing member of the Satan-worshipping Hellfire Club by night.
Lord Carhampton (Simon Luttrell of Lutrellstown in Turkish Costume)
Lord Carhampton and Darkey became lovers. Darkey give birth to a lovechild. Too save face, Lord Carhampton denied publicly any involvement with Darkey. She began blackmailing the powerful, wealthy, and properly married Lord for money to support the child.
This scheme backfired on Darkey to a very grim result.
Late one night, Lord Carhampton kidnapped the wee baby, while Darkey slept in the next room. The child was brutally sacrificed in a satanic ritual held at the Hellfire Club.
The infamous Hellfire Club on Montpelier Hill (Photo Credit: Joe Hill)
A Love Affair Goes Sour
The body was never found. Some say this is because the members feasted on the small body. In her grief, Darkey threatened to expose the sheriff for all of his vile deeds. To guarantee her silence and discredit her statements, he condemned Darkey to death for the murder of a local shoemaker. To seal the sentence, he added the charge of witchcraft.
Darkey condemned to death for the murder of a local shoemaker and practitioner of witchcraft
As was common for the time, the community was eager to rally behind accusations of witchcraft.
The trial was quick but poor Darkey’s death was not. She was hanged on St. Stephen’s Green however she did not die. As a result the crowd felt the accusation of witch was proven and quickly built a fire roasting Darkey as she hung. On certain nights it is said that you can still hear her cries and smell burning flesh on the Green.
More Secrets Unearthed
After her death, her brothel was turned into a popular pub and small hotel that still operates today. During the renovations, the remains of 5 men were found in the vaults under the pub.
Darkey Kelly’s Pub acclamation of its association
Was Darkey one of Dublin’s early serial killers? Or perhaps bodies of paying customers who had died of “misadventure”?
Today, Darkey Kelly’s Pub is a charming and lively pub with good food and traditional Irish music. Attached to the pub is the Harding House, and small hotel that are the refurbished apartments of the brothel.
Darkey Kelly’s Pub
The Haunts of Darkey Kelly's Pub
Almost every night a beautiful dark haired lady appears in a dimly lit corner of the bar with a swirling mist around her. As she catches the eye of a handsome young man, she will try to lure him away for a night out but look away and she quickly disappears.
An orb caught on film believed to be of Darkey Kelly
Upstairs in the hotel, visitors have often commented about hearing a baby cry.
On a personal note, I have often seen a large black cat lingering on the pub steps as if to say, “Welcome, come inside.”
About the Author
Darla is a weekly contributor to Haunted Journey's "Darla's Haunted Jaunts", featured every Tuesday. Darla is a special empath known as a hilhornic. She uses this gift to escort guests to paranormal sites around the world. Her tours can be found at Darla's Tours and on Facebook.