Is Dracula Irish?

It has inspired more than 1,000 movies and after the bible it’s the biggest selling book of all time. But does Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula owe more of its inspiration to Ireland than to Transylvania?

Was Count Dracula really a bloodsucking Irish landlord who preyed on his 19th century tenants? And were the undead and the gaunt haunted figures that fill the pages of Stoker’s famous book straight out of Ireland’s Great Famine?

These are the claims of director of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula Organization Dennis McIntyre, who says that very few people know that Stoker was in fact an Irishman.

“A lot of people are under the impression that Bram Stoker was an American, an Englishman, or a Romanian, but he wasn’t. He was very much an Irishman,” McIntyre said in an interview with Ireland’s RTE Radio 1.

First published in1897, the took has never been out of print and has been translated into over 50 different languages. But while the story of Dracula is known by every generation throughout the world, many moviegoers and readers are unaware of its origins.

It’s widely believed that Bram Stoker’s Dracula tells the story of the 15th century bloodthirsty Romanian Prince Vlad Dracula III, better known as Vlad the Impaler.

The Transylvanian prince earned this name because of his reputation for impaling his enemies and watching them slowly and painfully die.
But according to Dennis McIntyre there the similarities end, and with the exception of the setting the story is a very Irish one.

He points out that the name Dracula comes from the Irish word “Droch Ola”, which means “bad blood”. Stoker’s mother was from the West of Ireland and she told Bram about a cholera epidemic in 1832 when she witness large graves and people being pushed into them with wooden poles while they were still alive.

“They were literally buried alive. Did he get the idea of the undead being one of these?” McIntyre asked. If you committed suicide in Stoker’s time it was actually believed that you became a vampire unless you got the stake through the heart treatment, he added.

There was a suicide burial plot in Clontarf, Dublin, where Stoker lived. As a boy the author used to spend hours playing in that graveyard and St. Michan’s Church, where the Stoker family had a burial vault. “By some atmospheric freak in this church bodies are preserved by a natural mummification or they were in the past,” said McIntyre.

Bram Stoker was born in Dublin in 1847 at the height of the Great Famine. This was one of the most catastrophic events in Irish history, with hundreds of thousands of people dying from starvation and disease or emigrating in ‘coffin ships’ to America.

The famine may have inspired the visual characteristics of Count Dracula and also his infamous obsession with bloodsucking, McIntyre believes. “So metaphorically speaking we think that Count Dracula might be the landlord up at the big castle sucking the blood of the peasants.”

Stoker’s Dracula is also full of Irish symbols – storms, fog, rats, gypsies, castle, abbey, etc.

Stoker was educated in Trinity College Dublin, spend 10 years working as a civil servant in Dublin Castle and lived his first 31 years in Dublin before moving to England. But he has been the forgotten man of Irish literature, McIntyre believes.

“In Ireland we rightfully sing the praises of Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, Wilde, Shaw, O’Casey, Swift, Goldsmith, Synge, Behan and Kavanagh – but where is Bram Stoker?”

His Dublin based organization was set up as a global focal point for the study of Stoker, and to gain for author the international recognition his work and achievements s deserve.

“Sadly and shamefully the author is totally neglected in his own birthplace, by his own people,” the organization’s website claims.

 Dracula 

 The Everything Irish History & Heritage Book: From Brian Boru and St. Patrick to Sinn Fein and the Troubles, All You Need to Know About the Emerald Isle (Everything Series) 

Advertisements

About Chase Morgan
Chase Morgan is just your average, ordinary All-American writer. Chase began writing several years ago, but never published anything until the "Are You Friggen' Kidding Me?" blog launched in August of 2009. Chase simply got tired of standing around and just observing all of the craziness in the world, so this anxious writer sat down and wrote the first "Are YOu Friggen' Kidding Me?" article on August 19th, 2009. Now, any time something makes Chase say, "Are You Friggen' Kidding Me?", the issue get's transformed into an article. Chase is currently single, homeless and living under a bridge in South Florida.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: