Research on Bram Stoker's family tree offers new insights into how he created the vampire Count Dracula.
“I myself am of an old family…”
Count Dracula to Jonathan Harker.
Count Dracula is one of the most terrifying figures in popular culture. He first appeared in print in 1897, as the title character in Bram Stoker’s book. Since then the name ‘Dracula’ has become shorthand for all vampires.
In the century since its publication, critics have dined out on the blood-sucking aristocrat from Transylvania. They have pored over Bram Stoker’s early life and formative experiences, to try and explain how this former civil servant could have imagined the gothic horror of Dracula. Now new research has uncovered aspects of Stoker’s family history, previously unknown, which reclaims the story as essentially Irish.
Through painstaking research, we have traced and documented Bram Stoker’s direct descent from Manus O’Donnell (Manus ‘the Magnificent’ d. 1563), one of the most famous men in early Irish history. Through descent from this O’Donnell lord, Stoker could trace his own lineage back more than a thousand years to 561A.D.
Our research has proven links between the writer’s family, the oldest surviving Irish manuscript in existence, and one of the greatest treasures held in the National Museum of Ireland.
Intriguingly, Bram Stoker himself knew of these family connections, and was probably influenced by them when he wrote his best known novel.