May 23 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Count Dracula, the most famous vampire, was originally Irish rather than Transylvanian according to the family historian who traced Barack Obama’s Irish roots.
Dracula is the title character of the 1897 Gothic novel by Bram Stoker, the Irish writer who died in London 100 years ago on Friday.
Fiona Fitzsimons has researched Stoker’s family history after finding President Obama’s closest Irish relatives.
“We have discovered that Bram Stoker could trace his own direct family line back almost 1,000 years”, said Fitzsimons, adding that Stoker’s own lineage turns out to have been remarkably similar to Dracula’s.
“Stoker did not use overtly Irish references in Dracula, but his main theme is taken from Irish history – the history, we now learn, of his own family – recast in the writer’s imagination”, said Fitzsimons.
“The tale of a decayed aristocracy with a great warrior past, the survivors displaced by the passage of history and now living in the shadows, is the story of Dracula, as envisioned by this descendant of Manus O’Donnell [who once ruled much of Ireland and led a rebellion against Henry VIII].
“Our research has proven links between the writer’s family, the oldest surviving Irish manuscript in existence, and one of the greatest treasures held in the National Museum of Ireland.
“The manuscript book and its reliquary [container] provide evidence that Stoker’s O’Donnell family could trace their direct lineage back more than 1,300 years to 561 AD.”
A key inspiration for Dracula is reputed to have been Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century Transylvanian-born prince also known as Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia, with whom Count Dracula shares not just a name but also some characteristics.
But the true inspiration for Dracula, believes Fitzsimons, was not Vlad the Impaler at all. Instead, it was Manus the Magnificent, Stoker’s direct ancestor.
“Intriguingly, our research shows that Bram Stoker himself knew of these family connections, and was influenced by them when he wrote his best-known novel”, said Fitzsimons.