Halloween in Ireland
Scarier than Ever Before
9/11/2014 by Haunted Bay's Roaming Correspondent
Dublin, Ireland is not exactly in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the city is host to the Bram Stoker Festival and how could we not mention that! Taking the legacy of Dublin horror novelist Bram Stoker and his gothic novel Dracula as inspiration, the festival serves up entertainment and scares for all ages. Haunted Bay’s secret roaming correspondent was brave enough to attend in 2013 and offered this look at the fun (she’ll be attending this year’s Festival too (Oct. 24-27, 2014) so expect an update!):
It's not surprising that Halloween is so embraced in Dublin, Ireland given the holiday's Celtic roots via its traditional pagan festival Samhain (pronounced sow-in, Gaelic for summer's end), which marks the end of the harvest season and a time of year when the days get shorter, spirits and faeries were believed to be particularly prevalent and mischievous, and the dead walk the earth. Dublin celebrates the ancient festival with a traditional Halloween Parade that ends up in - where else - Temple Bar, and is punctuated with fireworks.
But just days earlier, Dublin offers up an appetizer of horror with its Bram Stoker Festival. Bram Stoker, best known for writing Dracula, was born in Dublin where he spent the first 31 years of his life. Most people, however, don't think of Stoker as an Irish writer given that he began to publish after he left Ireland for London. The festival provides Dublin with the perfect opportunity for Ireland to reclaim Stoker. It has something for everyone - cultural and horror events alike. In 2013 the packed event schedule included films, music, performance art, intellectual panel discussions, and an interactive vampire hunt. The festival merges perfectly with Dublin's love of Halloween, ghost tours, and Irish folklore. Even days before Halloween, Temple Bar was full of costumed revelers pub-hopping.
The Bram Stoker Festival was inaugurated in 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Stoker's death. Dublin has committed to at least five years for an annual Stoker festival. So, if you're looking for an immersive Halloween experience, Dublin may be the place for you to mingle with the undead.