20 April-Bram Stoker (Dracula)

Bram Stoker was the author of Dracula. His mother was a daughter of Eliza O’Donnell of the O’Donnell family of Newport House in County Mayo. Her name was Charlotte Matilda Blake Thornley who lived in Sligo during the cholera outbreak of 1832 which claimed thousands of lives. It is said that the vivid stories she told about the horrors of the cholera epidemic may have influenced the writings of her son Bram.

Charlotte married Abraham Stoker, a civil servant, in Dublin in 1844. They set up home at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf in Dublin where Abraham (Bram) their third child of seven was born on November 8th 1847. As a child he suffered from unknown illnesses but when he started school at age seven he made a full recovery. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1864. At University he became involved in athletics and served as President of the University Philosophical Society. He graduated with a BA honours degree in mathematics in 1870 and worked in the civil service in Dublin for almost ten years. During his time in the civil service he frequently acted as theatre critic for the Dublin Mail. He also visited Collooney in County Sligo which he described as the ‘most unbusy place in Ireland’.

In 1878 he married Florence Balcombe who lived at 1 Marino Crescent. Stoker and his wife moved to London in 1879 where he became manager for the actor Henry Irving and also manager of the Lyceum Theatre. As Irving’s manager Stoker travelled widely and was a frequent visitor to the United States where he met both President McKinley and President Roosevelt. However there is no record that he ever visited Eastern Europe. Stoker wrote 12 novels, the most famous of which is the Gothic horror novel Dracula which was published on May 26th 1897. The book was a success following publication and the story, which has been the subject of several theatre and film productions, continues to be popular to this day. In later years he worked as a freelance writer for the Daily Telegraph in England.

Bram Stoker died in London at the age of 64 in the year 1912 On This Day.

Bram Stoker photo

 

Photo by jcorrius

Bram Stoker photo

Photo by squeezeomatic

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One Reply to “20 April-Bram Stoker (Dracula)”

  1. Many famous people hailed from Newport or have Newport roots, but did not know that Brams mother was one of the O’Donnells. No wonder Newport House was a wee bit spooky at times which no doubt your Mom will confirm.

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