Count on Stoker to resurrect tourism

HE hunted by night for fresh blood — his name alone instils fear more than 150 years later.

Now one of Ireland’s biggest fans of Dracula creator Bram Stoker believes the forgotten hero of Irish literature and his most famous character, the Transylavanian count and Prince of Darkness, could be just the men to help resurrect Ireland’s flagging tourism industry.

Dublin man Dennis McIntyre is sinking his teeth into an ambitious project to develop a museum in honour of Clontarf-born Stoker — with Dracula as its spectacular centrepiece.

And with Stoker appreciation societies across the globe, Mr McIntyre believes the museum will attract tens of thousands of visitors every year, and become one of Ireland’s top attractions.

He is on the hunt for a suitable premises, and hopes to have it up and running by next April, the 100th anniversary of Stoker’s death.

“Ideally, it would be in his former home which is empty at the moment, or somewhere with atmosphere, like an old church,” Mr McIntyre said.

“The idea is to honour Stoker and reclaim him for Ireland. Irish people just don’t know about one of our most famous writers.”

Stoker was born in Clontarf in November 1847. After a childhood plagued by ill-health, he recovered and went on to study at Trinity College.

He then followed his father’s footsteps into the old Imperial Civil Service at Dublin Castle and developed a love of drama.

He moved to England and died in Pimlico, London in April 1912.

Mr McIntyre is the chief executive of the Stoker-Dracula Organisation, which he founded in 1991. He has amassed a vast collection of memorabilia, including all 17 of Stoker’s books, among them several first editions, more than 1,000 films based around his works, countless photographs and newspaper articles. He hopes to use the new museum to share them with the world. However, he said the museum could host book readings, film screenings, talks and organise field trips around Dublin featuring some of Stoker’s old haunts.

“The beauty about Dracula is that it can be interpreted so many ways — but it is a totally Irish story,” Mr McIntyre said.

“Bram was 32 before he ever left Ireland — in my opinion a writer is very much influenced by his youth.”

Mr McIntyre believes that one explanation of the story is that Dracula is based on a rich, evil, landlord who, metaphorically speaking, sucked the lifeblood from the peasants.

He said the word Dracula comes from the Irish ‘droch-fhola’ which means ‘bad blood’.


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