Dearg-Due….. An Irish Vampire

”Hell Hath no fury, like a woman scorned”.

We all know that the Author of the most famous Vampire Dracula, was the Irish writer Bram Stoker. In fact we can also claim Sheridan Le Fanu who wrote the novella, “Carmilla”.  Le Fanu is known to have drawn on his Irish homeland for his early stories. Many historians have noted that Carmilla is the first true Vampire novel ever created,  and was probably a big influence on Bram Stoker. The Vampire whilst not always fitting the description of these Victorian era novels have in fact existed in almost every ancient culture around the globe. So it is fitting that Ireland has its own version of the creature. The Dearg-Due which means Red Blood Sucker is a Vampire which dates back to Celtic Ireland. During my research I have found some interesting leads which link this creature to a certain Celtic deity, however as this link appears to be a demonization of an old god by the Christian Church I would prefer to explore the story more before presenting it here. So I will instead tell the story of the most commonly known account of our Ancient Vampire, The Dearg-Due, a tale worthy of comparison to the best Shakespearian tragedy.


Our story tells of a girl of legendary beauty, with blood-red lips and pale blonde hair. whose name seems to have been lost in the sands of time. She was being forced into an arranged marriage against her will by her father, but as it happens she was in love with another, a local peasant boy. Unfortunately her cruel father whom was only interested in the wealth he would acquire from the union, forbade the pair from seeing each other and the arranged marriage went ahead. The husband whom was many years older than the girl was a cruel bastard whom treated her badly. After some months of enduring her terrible life she eventually gave up all hope that her true love might find some way to rescue her.  Now some say that her husband beat her to death, some say that she died of a broken heart but others say that she committed suicide as she could no longer cope with her abusive husband and the miserable life she was forced into. She is said to have been buried in a small lonely grave, near “Strongbow’s Tree,” in County Waterford. Legend says that with her last breath she vowed a terrible vengeance.


 Her husband was said to have taken another wife, while her body was still warm in her death bed. Her cruel father and family were so busy with their new wealth lives to care about her demise. The only person who mourned her passing was the young peasant boy. He visited her grave many times where he spoke of his desire to see her again and prayed for her to come back to him. As the story goes, she arose from her grave the following year on the very date she died. Overcome  with anger and vengeance, she firstly visited her father’s house. Finding him asleep in his bed, she leaned over him and placing her lips over his where she sucked the life breath from him till there was no more. She then visited her husband. He was said to have been engaged marital exploits with his new wife and never noticed her enter the room. Overcome with a furious rage she went into a frenzied attack on the couple, this time her attack was so ferocious that she not only drained the pair of their life breath but also their blood. The surge of fresh blood through her dead body made her feel alive again. She uses her beauty to prey on lustful young men. Luring them away to a quite place only to sink her teeth into their  throats and deprive them of their blood. Her hunger for blood became  all that she knew. So eager to quench her thirst,  she forgot all about her young love and never saw him again. Each night she rises from the earth to feast like a wild beast returning to her grave a bloody corpse and thus the Dearg-Due was born. She is said to rise from her grave at will and uses her beauty to lure unsuspecting men to their death. It is said that the only way to stop the Dearg-Due is to  pile stones on her grave and in doing so prevent her from rising and taking her fill of life blood from her potential victims. Locals are said to have done this for many years,  but… sometimes they forget…


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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Halloween, Historical, Legends, Samhain and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Dearg-Due….. An Irish Vampire

  1. Interesting story…Thanks!


  2. acuriousgal says:

    Well hurry, Ed!! Pile some stones on that grave, pronto!!!


  3. mengeleblog says:

    Interesting story…Thanks for share with us !


  4. Interested in hearing the real vampire story. Thanks for clicking that Like button on my blog post.


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  6. Stephen says:

    Just love these old stories…


  7. out10about says:

    Great story, thanks for sharing 🙂


  8. archecotech says:

    Love it. Keep them coming.


  9. chirose says:

    What a fascinating story.!! Poor girl…and boy…


  10. jamoroki says:

    That’s a brilliant story Ed but just remember that we don’t all know that the Author of the most famous Vampire Dracula, was the Irish writer Bram Stoker. You must assume that we are all peasants when it comes to Irish history. I remember reading ‘The Ginger Man’ by JP Donleavey. I think he was an Irish American, whatever that is! And I always remember this. I hope I am quoting correctly from memory. ” Mary Maloney’s beautiful arse is the sweet apple of sin. Oh, give me Mary’s beautiful arse and a bloody great bottle of gin.”


  11. Interesting story and great photos as always. Thanks for sharing.


  12. Carol Donaldson says:

    Hi Thanks for visiting and liking my blog. I really enjoyed looking at your photos and reading the stories attached, particularly this vampire tale.


  13. I love that top photo-wonderful contrast and tone-and what an appropriately creepy story to go with them-nice!


  14. MR Traska says:

    I love that a wronged woman became a vampire … though it would’ve been nice if she’d remembered her first love once she turned and been kind to him. Ah, welll. Great photos, wonderful story. Nice job. — Marie from SpookyThingsOnline @ WordPress


  15. Mary Carver says:

    I found that story wonderful!!


  16. Pingback: A Monster a Day, the Dearg-Due, Irish Vampire Legend |

  17. Robin Girr says:

    LOVE your stories! I really do!

    Now, if I might respectfully give a bit of grammar correction: you wrote “whom” three times when it should have been “who”. When you are talking about “who did what”, for example, “The husband hurt his wife.”, then you use “who”. i.e. “The husband, WHO was many years older than the girl, hurt her.” But, if you are talking about doing something TO someone, then you use “whom”. i.e. “The young girl, WHOM the husband hurt, vowed revenge!”

    I hope that was clear. And again, thank you so much for your fascinating stories! I am disabled, and I can’t travel to exciting places like I wish I could, so I thoroughly enjoy your exciting and interesting tales!


  18. Curious tale, have never heard of the Dearg-Due before! Does the story quoted have any age to it or is it modern fiction? Google brings up lots of retellings of this story but can’t seem to find any giving an older source 😦 Would love to find out more!


    • It sure is, the tale I presented seems to date no further than christian times in Ireland. I have come across some faint sources of a much older vampire story which may have influenced this one but im still researching this one as it might only be a demonization of the old gods by the christian church. I keep ya posted 🙂


  19. What book is the tale from that you quoted above? Good to hear it’s an old story! 😀 Look forward to reading your further research on this!


  20. Pingback: Bram Stoker Festival, Part 1: The Vampire Hunt | EdMooneyPhotography

  21. What a great story! Another spooky one. Keep ’em coming! Love the pictures, too.


  22. Evelyn says:

    Such great story-telling Ed. Enjoyed this tremendously. The depiction of Dearg Due is fantastic and the photos superb ! Thanks for sharing this one.
    The Castle Lady ; )


  23. themofman says:

    Interesting variation.


  24. Vaisakh says:

    Fascinating tale.. some parts similar to the vampires found in folklores of my native 🙂


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  26. Intriguing story. Merci, too, for visiting my blog.


  27. terryspear says:

    Fascinating, love it. I write vampire romance (and werewolf), but I love to mention legends of various places. I hadn’t seen about this one. I added about the Baobhan sith, female vampire fairies, from their native Scotland, in a young adult fairy story, Enjoyed your blog!


    • Thanks Terry, Delighted that you liked it. Its an old Irish tale. I think the entire Vampire genre has some appeal alot of people. I never heard about vampire fairies in Scotland? Unless its a christian influenced folk tale. Must look into that further!

      Thanks for stopping by, 🙂



  28. colonialist says:

    When the locals forget, I imagine that finding a body sucked dry acts as a strong reminder! 🙂


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  30. johnscherber says:

    Ed, let me put in a plug for my two vampire novels: ‘And Dark my Desire’, and, ‘And Darker my Wrath’. They don’t get as much coverage as my Mexico books because people think of me as only having a Mexico platform, but they’re well worth a look.
    There’s a sample of both on my website:

    Liked by 1 person

  31. the tow path says:

    I love cemetery photos. (and the story was good too)!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. sandydunne says:

    The mood of the photos is perfect! Happy to find your site, thanks!


  33. RDoug says:

    A great tale accompanied by some really great photography — as always.


  34. Mary Michelle Scott says:

    I always love your posts! Very interesting stuff in this one 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. BellyBytes says:

    That was a blood thirsty love story!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Pingback: Spooktacular 2015 | Ed Mooney Photography

  37. Pingback: Aoife and Strongbow - Stephen Morris, author

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