Bram Stoker Festival 2014 – Awakening Dublin’s Gothic Heart

21st October, 2014

Macnas, a VampWire and an Underground Train Journey all part of Gothic Festival


Dublin, 21st October 2014  The darkness is stirring and the shadow are rising ahead of the Bram Stoker Festival, taking place this weekend,  Friday 24th through to Monday 27th October.  The 2014 programme includes; a Macnas procession, a VampWire over the city and an underground train journey through a tunnel that many thought mythical.


A Dublin City Council initiative in association with Fáilte Ireland, the festival is inspired by the heritage of world famous Dublin horror novelist Bram Stoker and his notorious novel Dracula.  From large-scale spectacle to intimate performances in unusual spaces and a whole range of film and literary events there is something to whet the appetites of all.

This year the festival will infiltrate the very crevices of the city, awakening the dormant gothic that sleeps in the heart of Dublin and painting the city red with the legacy of Bram Stoker.

Macnas will present The Summoning, an unforgettable street spectacle through Dublin’s city streets. The mercurial tailors with a glee for stitching laughter to darkness; will summon monsters and marvels from drains, lanes and street corners. World famous, Macnas energise audiences with interactive performances at festivals and celebrations around the globe, bringing stunning large-scale images and brilliant chaos to the streets of the world. Macnas are ambitious, contemporary and utterly unpredictable.

Underground Gothic will take guests on an unforgettable journey through the almost mythical Irish Rail train tunnel deep under the Phoenix Park to discover the dark side of Dublin’s underground. With music by acclaimed composer Tom Lane and directed by Maeve Stone this unique performance will rattle under the city for one night only combining, sound, movement and chilling performances.

The VampWire will see vampires young and old take to the skies in Dublin’s first ever free city centrezip-wire. The VampWire is a real and slightly scary opportunity to make like a bat and zip over the city. Golden tickets for this event will be allocated by ballot.

These three events are in addition to an already packed programme, revealed last week including; the ethereal Shapeshifter’s Ball from party masters Body&Soul at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, presented  in association with the Bram Stoker Festival and the Irish première of The Curse of Styria featuring Stephen Rea – a secretive, sexy and sinister film based on Le Fanu’s Carmilla.


There is a festival treat for Stoker aficionados of all ages, in five key strands; Children of the Night, Street Treats, Deadly Words, Dark Energy and Sinister Screenings.


A number of Sinister Screenings chosen by film curator Maeve McGrath are sure to entice latent
Goths out of hiding with a range of exciting, rare and frightening silver screen classics. Screening at Meeting House Square are; eighties cult classic The Lost Boys, spreading their unforgettable mantra, “Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire” and for Gothic music fans, The Cure in Orange, a little seen recording of an outdoor concert filmed in 1986. The festival will also host the Irish première of Beautiful Noise, the first-ever documentary about one of the most influential, underground music movements of the 20th century with special guest appearances from musical icons and, at Christchurch cathedral, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari with live music by 3epkano. In addition John Cocteau masterpieces La Belle et La Béte, a much-loved gothic fairytale and Orpheé, a magical retelling of the Orpheus myth will have special screenings at the Brookes Hotel cinema, and  the annual IFI Horrorthon will be screening a gory array of shocking films from Ireland and abroad.


Street Treats, will firmly place the city streets within Bram Stoker’s grasp with a number of outdoor happenings penetrating the city hot-spots. Participants are invited to join an epic battle in the Goths V Zombies Dance-Off, a fancy dress, music and dance battle between two legions of horror lore on the mean streets of Dublin with an advance free online Goth/Zombie make-up tutorial. Glaswegian artist Claire Biddles will be inviting the public to a Goth Karaoke where they will have the chance to live out their teen Goth fantasies by performing live on stage, meanwhile, A Gothic Fair will pop-up in Smithfield’s Generator with food, drink, music and over 35 market stalls inviting bargain hunters to ‘fall victim’. Finally, shrouded in the forest of St Anne’s Park, Clontarf, a very special performance of Der Vampyr from Opera in the Open will resonate through the trees.


The Dark Energy programme offers an eclectic mix of unusual events for curious culture hunters and the quirky trendsetters including; Blood and Earth, an interactive food cookery demo with Domestic Godless; Blood a gory, educational exhibition at the Science Gallery and The Judges House, a tailor made audio-horror experience hidden within Marsh’s Library. Straight from Edinburgh Festival Fringe the sold out Total Theatre Award winning hit, Near Gone, will put words to the unspeakableand from Transylvania, DJ Nico de Transilvania will host Romanian Night, an inexhaustible night of Balkan electro. For the first year there will be a ‘roving festival club’ with official nightclub partners The Opium Rooms in the Camden Quarter, Generator in Smithfield and Alfie Byrne’s at the Conrad Hotel each hosting a Gothically themed evening-time soiree with blood-curdling cocktails, heart-pounding tunes and unsettling interactions around every corner. The Camden Quarter will host The Weekend of the Dead, with silent disco, on-street performances and Ireland’s biggest séance and at Alfie Byrne’s, Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, alife drawing class and cabaret extravaganza will pop-up.


Events within the Children of the Night part of the programme,are family friendly day time occurrences suitable for mini-vampires and parents. In Temple Bar, the Project Arts Centre will host the terribly cute Vampire with No Teeth, a production of three spooky mini-stories told using interactive storytelling and live illustration. The Ark present two fun fearsome events; Dracula’s Basement Spooky Sounds Laboratory where Dracula will raid The Ark’s music cupboard for all their weirdest instruments and put them in his sound lab in the basement and Minnie & the Illywackers Family Halloween Concert, a warm and friendly musical event for families from this delightful jazz, blues and country band featuring Dracula inspired songs, sounds and gothic pumpkins.


Finally, the literary programme Deadly Words will serve up a slew of vicious vocabulary. At The Stoker Lecture Professor William Hughes will explore the influence of Le Fanu on Stoker and at The Stoker Debate: Madness and Sexuality Dr. Jarlath Killeen and psychiatrist Dr. John Griffin will examine Stoker’s state of mind at the time of his writing. Veteran war correspondent Sean Hillen will present Digging for Dracula, detailing his World wide adventures in search of literary truths and the meanings of centuries-old myths and in association with Horrorthon, the festival will host a combined reading of Dracula and Carmilla. In association with Trinity College, the festival presents Hearing Voices with leading Irish actorsPhelim Drew and Owen Roe reading a selection of Gothic literature highlighting the immediacy and drama of the spoken word, and a Hammer Classics event where renowned authors Lynne Truss and Joanna Briscoe will discuss their terrifying new novels. Gaelgoiri will be enthralled at Dracula – An Chéad GaelGore presented by Áras Inis Gluaire and Fíbín Teo, where one thing is certain – there will be fola. To top it all off Dublin will host Literary Death Match an event where four authors pitch their words and wits in literary battle and comedic irreverence in front of a panel of three ‘expert’ judges all chaired by witty wordsmith Rick O’Shea.

Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport said, “The Bram Stoker Festival is a fantastic mix of cultural experiences that showcase a creative, surprising and unexpected side of Dublin that will enthrall visitors during their time in the city and Dubliners who either get involved each year or those who are first time enthusiasts. This year’s Gothic theme is brought to life with a varied and exciting programme, everything from outdoor cinema and opera to a vampwire – zip wire and a Zombie vs Goth dance off.  Festivals like this really highlight Dublin at its very best.”


Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke said of the Festival, “On behalf of Dublin City Council I can honestly say I have goose bumps with the latest programme of events for 2014’s Bram Stoker Festival.  The City Council have done a frighteningly good job of putting together this horrific programme that will put the shivers in one and all this October bank holiday weekend.  Watch out, you citizens and visitors to Dublin – Dublin City bites”.

Ray Yeates, Dublin City Arts officer said of plans for the 2014 festival, “We’re looking forward to channeling Dublin’s darker side for the Bram Stoker Festival 2014. It’s going to be a fantastic and unexpected bank holiday weekend full of gothic horror. What’s particularly wonderful about Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the fact that he can be attractive, enigmatic, terrifying and fun all at the same time, which is a really shocking blend of characteristics that we can’t wait to bring to life on the streets of Dublin.

John Concannon, Director of Market Development at Fáilte Ireland said of the festival, “Fáilte Ireland is delighted to support the Bram Stoker Festival, a uniquely Dublin event which showcases our Bram Stoker legacy and the global ‘Dracula’ brand within a highly interactive programme. This year’s programme is perfectly positioned to lure overseas visitors to the home of Bram Stoker to be thoroughly enchanted by the curiosities of his surprising city. The festival also showcases the creative heart of a vibrant, happening and welcoming capital city”.

Jo Mangan, Director at Big House Productions and Artistic Director of this year’s festival, said of the programming plans, “We are so thrilled to have been able to secure so many extraordinary artists, events, makers and creators for this year’s festival. Iseult Byrne producer and I hope we have put in place a weekend finely balanced between the twin demands of delight and terror that the festival demands. As many events are in the public domain and free, this is a weekend for all to delve into the Gothic embedded in the very fabric of this beautiful city.”


The full programme of events can be seen at

Bram Stoker Festival 2014 is brought to you by Dublin City Council in partnership with Fáilte Ireland. Bram Stoker Festival 2014 is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,, Dublin Castle, Office of Public Works, Dublin Festival Season, 98fm, Irish Rail, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, Dublin Bus, LUAS and  Festival accommodation partners – The Conrad Dublin Hotel and Generator Hostel Dublin.