Is Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” Irish?

Bram Stoker’s famous character has inspired thousands of films and stories and the mentioning of the name “Dracula” conjures up images of dark castles in the exotic country of Transylvania. Many people don’t even know that Bram Stoker was an Irish writer and that his novel “Dracula”, of all the novels he has written, is perhaps the most “Irish” one.

Firstly, let’s have a look at the places and stories that Bram Stoker drew his inspiration from. Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland and went to Trinity College. In addition to this, he has also worked as a civil servant for ten years and travelled around Ireland, learning about its culture, topography, folktales and myths. He had a keen interest for Irish politics and continued to do so when he moved to London in 1878. There he worked as a manager at the famous Lyceum Theatre in London.

During his time as a civil servant at Dublin castle (which might have inspired the home of Count Dracula) he also wrote theatre reviews for the local newspaper the “Dublin Evening Mail”. These were deemed overly dramatic, however, his place descriptions and short stories received a lot of praise by critics. Dublin castle and its dark stories about torture and the sad fate of impaled prisoners might have inspired “Dracula”.

What about Bram Stoker’s childhood? He was a sickly child until the age of seven whose imagination was fueled by the stories and folklores his mother Charlotte told him. It seems that especially tales about the cholera epidemic of 1832 which claimed thousands of victims particularly struck with him. Young Bram Stoker often spent his time playing at the grounds of a church near his home where the family had a vault full of skeletons.

There is no doubt that “Dracula” was inspired by his childhood and Irish folklore, but it is also known that Bram Stoker did a lot of research on Eastern European myths and folktales, hence, “Dracula” can be seen as a combination of folklore from all around the world, the experiences of his travels (but he never travelled to Transylvania) and the memories of his childhood.

Jenny Bui
Jenny Bui

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