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Was Dracula Irish?

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Count Dracula moves in upon his victim, his hypnotic gaze holding her entranced and then he speaks — with a voice like Diarmuid Gavin or Terry Wogan. It just wouldn’t work, would it?

But novelist Patrick McCabe believes there’s more than a touch of the Irish in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In suitably gothic style, McCabe explores Stoker’s sickly childhood growing up in Ireland and how folklore and politics influenced his finest creation. Still not convinced? Nor is McCabe for a while, but then he is told the story of Abhartach, a brutal sixth-century chieftain in north Derry who demanded a bowl of blood from his subjects to maintain his undead status.

In the end, he was slain by a sword made of yew — not that far off a stake through the heart after all… begorrah!


Irish novelist Patrick McCabe explores the influence of folklore, legends and stories from Ireland on the development of fellow countryman Bram Stoker's most famous literary creation. The writer also examines late 19th-century Irish politics and their role in shaping the celebrated gothic tale, and questions whether the count himself could have hailed from the Emerald Isle.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Patrick McCabe
Producer Louise Clarke

Documentary Arts

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