The Irish Dracula

Owen Harding suggests that this may have been prototype for Stoker’s novel. In parish of Glenuilin, in Derry in Northern Ireland in a place called Slaghtaverty there once lived Abhartach, a fiendish supernatural dwarf who had been around for centuries. This creature gorged on human blood and its cruelty was widespread in area. The Abharach was one of neamh-mairbh (walking dead). He was at last vanquished and slain by a neighbouring chieftain called O’Kane. O’Kane buried Abhartach in a standing position, but very next day it returned and was more bloodthirsty than ever. The O’Kane chief killed him a second time and buried him as before, but again he escaped from grave spreading terror and feasting on blood of its victims.

Vlad III, Prince Of Wallachia (1431 - 1476)

Vlad III, Prince Of Wallachia (1431 – 1476)

 

The chief then consulted a learned druid who gave him advice. O’Kane killed monster a third time and this time, buried him in same place with his head downwards. It is this that subdues Abhartach’s supernatural power. This story has been passed down locally for years. There is even a lacht (monument) over Abhartach’s burial place which is still there. Owen Harding says there was a manuscript published about this legend from an anonymous writer. It was entitled The Abhartach, Dreach-Fhoula. This document was exhibited up till 1868 in none other than Trinity College which Stoker attended. So is it likely that Stoker used this story to base his novel on? Harding believes it is.Not only that, Harding tells of another macabre twist of fate which adds an uncanny dimension to story. The creature’s off spring apparently returned and wreaked havoc on several people by feasting on their blood. It was eventually killed and buried in way that stopped its power, and now lies under sea. This event occurred in Howth, County Dublin, where Stoker was born. And when? The year was 1897 – year Dracula was published!

 

Bram Stoker Bram (Abraham) Stoker, third of seven children, was born on November 8th 1847 to a Protestant family in north Dublin coastal area of Clontarf. After attending Trinity College Stoker married Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty who had previously been courted by Oscar Wilde. They moved to London where their only son was born. There, Stoker who was always fascinated by theatre met Sir Henry Irving great Shakespearean actor. The two became close friends and eventually Stoker became actor-manager of Lyceum theatre in London’s West End which was leased by Irving. Bram Stoker died of a stroke in 1912 and his ashes are interred at Golders Green, London.

bramstoker.com

 

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