As part of the lead-up to Samhain this year and my second time to explore Gothic Dublin and the Bram Stoker Festival, I thought I might post a number of articles I did for thefairytaletraveler.com last year. So to kick things off, lets start with the Vampire Hunt. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂
As you may know from my previous post last week, I had the opportunity to travel up to Dublin on Saturday for the annual Bram Stoker Festival. From 26th – 28th October, Dublin City celebrated the life, work and legacy of the Dublin horror novelist Bram Stoker and his Gothic novel ‘Dracula’. I mentioned Stoker and the Vampire connection in a previous post on the Dearg-Due…. An Irish Vampire. A big thanks must go to Christa Thompson of thefairytaletraveler.com for putting me onto the event, she even organised press passes for myself and Ed Hannon of visionsofthepast, so thank you Christa :-). There was so much going on over the bank holiday weekend, it would have been impossible to cover all the events that were happening around the city, some events would not have been suitable for photography, such as the many movie screenings or book readings, so what I will do is give you just a little taste over the next few days of some of the wonderful events that I got to see. If your interested in seeing more of what went on please check out the festivals official website.
So on with the show, it was an early start for me on Saturday, to get up to Dublin for the festivities. The girls at Limelight Communications were kind enough to have a press pass ready for me at City Hall. At 10am the Vampire hunt begun, with a quick registration process and armed with a vampire goodie bag and a list of tasks to complete off I went. First port of call was the crypt at Christchurch Cathedral and the mission to find out what the two mummified animals were that were found in a tomb, easy:-) A cat and a rat 🙂 But the catch was that you had to get your card stamped by officials at each venue and this could only be done once you had answered the associated question correctly. So with free entry into the crypt it was a great chance to have a look around the old place. The last time I was here was on a school trip many years ago. You can check out more on the great history behind one of Dublin’s two historical Cathedrals, HERE.
Moving on to the next venue on my list which just happens to be Dublin’s second historical Cathedral St. Patrick’s. Here I had to find the tomb of a knight whom was buried here and write down the date of his death in Roman numerals, Not to hard, again St. Patrick’s is another well preserved attraction within the city, you can read more about it HERE.
Next on the route was Marsh’s Library around the corner. Its the oldest public library in Ireland and was built in 1701AD. It also boasts to be one of the very few 18th century buildings that are still standing and being used for their original purpose. So the task here was to find out were Bram Stoker lived in Dublin during the time he spent researching at the Library. Now this is were things became difficult. Eventually after speaking with staff at length about this fascinating place, one of them let slip the where to find the answer to my quest, RESULT :-). Photography is not allowed within the library, but one of the assistant librarians was most helpful once she new what I did and will be arranging for me to make a return visit, with permission to use my camera, 🙂 Cant wait to share this with you, it is truly a fascinating place. You can check out the Marsh Library website, HERE.
Moving not so quickly along took me down to Camden Row and St. Kevin’s Park which houses the ruins of another old church, it appears that the grave stones were all removed at some stage to turn the area into a small park. These tombstones have all now been placed along the boundary walls. The church is nothing spectacular, but the reason for visiting was to find the name of a famous Irish person whom was interred here after being tortured and executed for treason. As luck would have it the answer to this was found on the Park notice board. You can read more about the Park and its history HERE.
The next port of call took me to the small Theatre in Chancery . Here I was directed into a screening of a trailer for the 1931 version of Dracula staring Bella Lugosi. I pretty much guessed the answer to this question. A Vampire Bat!. It was great seeing the old movie again, and as I think I may have to add it to my media drive and have a spooky night in some time soon.
At this stage my feet were feeling worse for ware, and I had been spending far too much time chatting to people and taking images. So after giving myself a verbal kick up the backside, I was off to the National Museum of Archaeology in Kildare street. My mission was to find a small statue which resembled the Dullahan or the Headless horseman and find out what castle it came from. I wrote a recent entry on the Dullahan which you can read about HERE. This was probably the hardest item to find, located in the Medieval display on the first floor, I eventually found it in a partially hidden section, which many others also passed by a number of times. The museum is a very interesting place full of great treasures and is well worth a visit, check it out HERE.
Then on to the wonderful Trinity College Dublin. A center of learning for 400 years with a remarkable history. Did you know it is also the home to the famous Book of Kells? It was here that Bram Stoker studied and was a member of the Campus Historical Society. As luck would have it this was the answer to the next quest. So all I had to do was find the event desk and have my hunt card stamped. This turned out to be easier said than done. After some time I eventually found them in the Long Room which was the old College Library. The place was packed with tourists and after fighting my way through the masses I got another task completed.
Next was the Wax Works Museum over on Foster place, this used to be housed over on the North-side of the city and was much smaller than I remembered the old Museum. Here I had to find out what color eyes the Dracula statue had. Many people seemed to have difficulty with this as the lighting in the room was quite dark. A quick burst of light from my trusty Flashgun soon settled matters and I was hightailing it across the river to my final destination.
The Former St. Mary’s Church Of Ireland Is One Of The Earliest Examples Of A Galleried Church In Dublin. Built At The Beginning Of The 18th Century, It Boasts Many Outstanding Features, Such As The Renatus Harris Built Organ And Spectacular Stained Glass Window. It opened up in 2005 as “The Church Bar & Restaurant” Here I had to find the tomb of a deceased and find out the name of the person buried along with them.
Then it was a dash back to city hall to finish. The hunt was estimated to take 100 minutes approx to complete, well I obviously got side tracked with my camera and some great conversations which ended up with what was probably the longest time of the day, Coming in at just over four hours, oh the shame 🙂 Every team that finished the hunt received a certificate of completion which I thought was a nice touch:-)