Bram Stoker’s Dracula, In Irish But Not Of The Irish

Mary Robinson of the Special Collections and Archives department at Maynooth University Library has published an interesting post in the lead up to Samhain or Halloween, “Spooktacular Treasures from Special Collections“, which includes the following:

“…among our cob webbed bookshelves you will come across a 1933 Irish language translation edition of Bram Stoker’s (1847-1912) infamous and fearsome bloodsucker, Dracula. Although not the first vampire fiction, Stoker’s creation is probably the most well-known and has fuelled many literary, film, TV and stage adaptations. Stoker continued to write horror fictions including The Lady of the Shroud and The Lair of the White Worm before his death in 1912.”

The translation was published in 1933 by Seán Ó Cuirrín, a talented writer and poet, who reused existing terms such as súmaire “a leech, parasite” for a vampire or invented new ones for the neamhmhairbh “the undead, zombies”. However, please note, despite the numerous claims linking the tale of Dracula to nebulous terms like droch fhola “bad blood” or supposed folkloric figures like Abhartach, we can be quite sure that Bram Stoker did not find any inspiration for bloodsucking ghouls or vampires in Ireland’s native mythology. Because there were none.

For those of you with an interest, Dracula as Gaeilge is available in an eBook format.

Dracula, Bram Stoker, translated into Irish by Seán Ó Cuirrín, Oifig Díolta Foillseacháin Rialtais, 1933. Design: AóM (Austin Molloy). Courtesy of John Moore/Little Museum of Dublin
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One comment

  1. There does however seem to be a strong link between Gothick horror and writers of Anglo-Irish descent. Maybe they were raised on tales of sitting in a storm-battered old house frightened that the starving dispossessed were about to come for their revenge.

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