Bram Stoker’s Dracula Organisation

Welcome to the web site of the Stoker’s Dracula Organisation, Ireland. Our Bram Stoker Heritage Centre is a global focal point for the study of Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Gothic in general.

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?

The truth is that many Irish people aren’t aware of the fact that Stoker is Irish – he was 31 years of age before he left his native Dublin. He has been ‘claimed’ by other places but our organisation have indelibly put his ‘Irishness’ on record.

Furthermore his great ‘Dracula’ novel has somehow been associated with other places. However, our detailed research has proved that Stoker’s real inspirations for the great book came from his Dublin and Irish background. We argue, that without the influence of nineteenth century Dublin the novel could never have been written.

Research and Facts: Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’

Without argument the book that made Bram Stoker famous was ‘Dracula’. First published in 1897, it has eclipsed Stoker himself and become undisputedly the world’s most enduring classic eternal gothic novel.It is essentially an Irish story with global appeal.

I. It is the biggest selling novel in the world and the only book to sell more copies is the Bible.
II. The novel has in some way inspired or influenced over 700 films.
III. First published in 1897 ‘Dracula’ has never been out of print.
IV. It has been translated into every major language in the world (including Irish) and many minor languages.
V. Its phenomenal influence on the world of the arts and the performing arts is simply incalculable.It has inspired (and continues to inspire) countless creative works.

The book is suitable for all age groups and has universal appeal.

The Irish Influences:

  • The Imperial landlord system and the upstairs downstairs nature of Irish society at the time.
  • Stoker’s mother’s influences especially her cholera stories from her native Sligo.
  • The Great Famine (Stoker was a famine child).
  • St Michan’s Church in Church Street, Dublin and the mummified bodies where the Stoker family had a burial vault.
  • The suicide graveyard in Ballybough, Dublin.
  • The seaside environment at Clontarf where Stoker was born.
  • Celtic mythology.
  • So many Irish symbols/emblems in the book e.g. storms, fog, rats, gypsies, castle, abbey etc.
  • His work as a court’s clerk in Dublin Castle and around Ireland meant he knew the country and its people.

Bram Stoker

Bram (Abraham) Stoker was born on November 8th, 1847 at 15 The Crescent, Clontarf, Dublin 3.Quite a sickly child until he was seven years old, he attended a private day school and entered Trinity College on November 2nd, 1864.He revelled in life at Trinity and enjoyed a rich academic, sporting and social life there.

When he graduated he followed his father’s footsteps into the Civil Service at Dublin Castle where he was appointed a clerk of the Petty Sessions. He lived at various addresses close to Trinity – in Harcourt Street, St Stephen’s Green and Kildare Street, and took a keen interest in drama.He especially admired the acting skills of British actor, Henry Irving who he had first seen performing in 1867 at the Theatre Royal.Stoker wrote a drama column for the Dublin Evening Mail newspaper in the 1870’s.He eventually met Henry Irving and the two became personal friends.By now his heart was in the theatre rather than the Civil Service.

In December 1878, Bram Stoker married Florence Balcombe and moved to England to become manager to Irving and his London theatre, The Lyceum.He was to remain with the actor for 27 years until Irving’s death in 1905.

Stoker’s first book, ‘The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland’ was published in 1879 – and is still a standard text!He went on to write some 18 books in all and the book that made him famous, the gothic masterpiece ‘Dracula’, was first published in 1897.Stoker died on April 20th, 1912 and was cremated at Golder’s Green Cemetery, London.

Bram Stoker has been very much the forgotten man of Irish Literature.Now, however, international scholars agree that the advent of the Bram Stoker Summer School in Dublin has changed all that.The “fangs for the memory” emphasis on Stoker and his great creation (Dracula) has been changed to a more scholarly approach.

Also the Summer School has brought the ‘Irishness’ of Stoker and Dracula to the fore. It has been forgotten that Stoker lived his first 31 years in Dublin and the Dublin and Irish influences on his output of writings is enormous.

The Bram Stoker Heritage Center

The Bram Stoker Heritage Centre is a global focal point for the study of Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Gothic in general. It offers a great new Stoker experience. The Centre is a really rich treasure cove for the visitor/researcher, containing a museum, a specialist library, a utility room that can be used (i) for talks and lectures, (ii) for cinematic purposes, (iii) for dramatic purposes, (iv) as a workshop, (v) as an exhibition area.

The Centre houses a cornucopia of Stoker/Dracula/Gothic memorabilia including books, pamphlets, articles and various scripts, photos, paintings, posters, letters, postcards, magazine and newspaper cuttings. This includes all Stoker’s writings and a truly amazing collection of critical works. There is a particular emphasis on Stoker’s own life story, the Dracula story and the geneses of the Deacula story. The centre acts as a local, national and international meeting place for serious Stoker scholars and for the merely curious casual visitor.

The Centre is the proverbial hive of activity operating a very full calendar of events which includes the annual Bran Stoker International Summer School. The Centre is open to one and all – all year round. Special arrangements are made for groups from schools (all levels), clubs and societies. A special welcome is extended to international tour groups. Guided bus and walking tours of Stoker’s Dublin take place from the Centre.

The History of Clontarf

Clontarf is a seaside suburban area on the north eastern side of Dublin City, just 3 miles from the city centre. The name Clontarf is an ancient one and has been handed down in writing for over twelve hundred years. It derives from the original Gaelic name Cluain Tarbh – The meadow of the bull.

It is famous, historically, as the site of the epic Battle of Clontarf in 1014 when the Irish High King, Brian Boru, defeated the Vikings to end their political power in Ireland. Other major events in Irish history with a strong Clontarf Connection include Daniel O’Connell and the Repeal Movement (1843), James Stephens and the I.R.B. (1866), the Howth Gun Running (1914) and the role of Clontarf Town Hall in the Irish Rebellion of Easter 1916.

Among Clontarf’s historical treasures are Clontarf Cemetery and Church ruin (dating back to 550 A.D.), Clontarf Castle (dating from 1172), Lord Charlemont’s Sicilian Casino (completed in 1773). More modern are St. Anne’s Estate (former home of the Guinness brewing family) and the Bull Island (a biosphere reserve). Clontarf has 6 churches, all worthy of a visit.

Today Clontarf is renowned as the birth place in of Abraham (Bram Stoker) the author of the world’s biggest selling novel, the immortal gothic tale “Dracula”.

More than 500 editors of the book have been traced and up to a staggering 1000 movies had been inspired by the Dracula theme/story. An annual Bram Stoker International Summer School is held in Clontarf each year. Visitors to the area should drop in to the splendid Stoker Heritage Centre