Dracula’s origins in Dublin’s North Inner City were revealed for the first time today at the unveiling of a plaque and mural to Bram Stoker in Buckingham Street.
Unveiling the plaque, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring said that the fact that Bram Stoker had lived in this area had remained unknown until this year.
“Stoker’s time here had a big influence on much of his work, notably his classic, Dracula”, said the Lord Mayor at the opening event of The Big Scream Halloween Community Festival.
Inspiration for his Dracula creation included the nearby Suicide Plot on Clonliffe Road where people who took their own lives were buried with a stake driven through their hearts to ensure they would not return as vampires. Stories also abounded about people being buried alive to stop the spread of disease during the 1834 cholera epidemic. And during Stoker’s time here, there was a campaign to close down an abattoir across the road which emitted rivers of blood down the street.
In celebration of its former resident, the theme for this year’s Big Scream festival is Dracula.
Over the years, anti-social behaviour has become synonymous with Halloween in the north east inner city. The Big Scream Festival will celebrate this culturally rich community and also create an alternative focus for those who could get involved in dangerous anti-social behavour. It will help create a safe environment in which to celebrate Halloween.
“When I was growing up in the North Inner City our focus at Halloween was on bonfires, Trick or Treat (or as we to say “help the Halloween Party”) and getting off our homework (“apples are nice, nuts are better, please Mr Murphy, let us off our ekker”!)” commented the Lord Mayor. “Now the emphasis is also on fun, safe and inclusive events with some subliminal education thrown in for good measure!”.
The week-long programme of events in Ballybough, North Strand, Summerhill, North Wall, Sean MacDermott and Sheriff Street are designed to ensure that everyone in the community is included with talks, films, theatre, afternoon teas and individual events for the communities – not forgetting torchlit Gothic walking tours tracing the route of Stoker’s local influences.
“The Big Scream Festival has an ethos of community engagement, participation and empowerment at its core and it aims to give people an enhanced sense of pride in this area” said festival chairman, Peter O’Connor. “The goal is for the community to take control the Halloween, to create an event that the young people in the community can engage with without then also engaging in anti-social activities that are linked to illegal bonfires”.
The culmination of the festival on Halloween Night will be an “Spooktacular” on pedestrianised Sean MacDermott Street and Killarney Street with free fairground rides and attractions – and two haunted houses.
The highlight for Dracula fans will be a chance to enter the Bram Stoker house which will bring to life some of the elements of the Gothic horror novel. Enter if you dare!
Edel Byrne, Co-ordinator North East Inner City, Halloween Community Festival 2018 talks about the festival