This weekend sees the return of Dublin’s Bram Stoker Festival, which celebrates all things vampiric, literary, and Irish.
Based around a celebration of Irishman Bram Stoker’s infamous novel Dracula, the festival runs from October 23rd – 26th, and has such a wide variety of events that it’s assured that everyone will find something that caters towards their own particular tastes. Below you’ll find a compilation of this year’s most promising events, which should begin to whet your appetite for all things spooky in the run up to Halloween.
Dublin’s wunderkind Maser will be bringing his now-well-established brand of mural/graffiti artwork to Smithfield Square for the duration of the festival, where you can experience the artist’s first-ever large-scale outdoor installation in his home city.
An interactive exhibit inspired by the world Bram Stoker lived in, and his eponymous novel, this installation will explore the facades of modern society and the darkness that hides within every one of us. The exhibit will be open from 6-8pm on Friday 23rd, and from 11-7pm Saturday 24th to Monday 26th.
Every evening for the full-length of the festival, the Light House Cinema will be presenting late-night screenings of classic vampire movies from the 1990s. Each film – Tarantino’s From Dusk Til Dawn, a double-bill of Blade I & II, the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer feature film, and of course, Francis Ford Coppola’s bizarre and iconic take on the original text itself, Dracula – is both a testament to the vampire genre and an influential shaper of 90s pop culture. Not to be missed.
Saturday 24th brings the unique opportunity to experience one of Dublin’s hidden gems, Marsh’s Library, by night and by candlelight, as visitors are serenaded by the vocals of Dublin’s Tonnta vocal ensemble. With multiple event times throughout the night, this is a ticketed event that can be booked at the festival website.
Not five minutes from Marsh’s Library, and also on the 24th, is another musical event that promises a unique experience. Soundings takes place in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and brings an hour and a half of story and song by the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Heathers, and Amy Huberman, which are intended to bring amusement and alarm in equal measure to the audience. Tickets to this event, which begins at 8pm, are €15, and can be booked on the festival website.
Sunday 25th brings a Gothic twist to the Smithfield Market Fair, which is taking place in The Generator Hostel. Alongside over forty market stalls offering everything from vinyl records to vintage clothing, performers from the festival will be providing a suitably spooky atmosphere for attendees of all ages.
Alongside the usual proceedings, there’ll be brunch, live bands and DJs, and Underground Spooky Cinema, meaning that you could easily spend a good chunk of your day here just chilling our and soaking up the vibes. The market itself runs from 12 – 6pm, while The Generator itself will be keeping things going until the early morning with its late-night restaurant and bar.
The evening of Sunday the 26th brings a procession of gigantic proportions to the city streets, with a Twilight Procession from Macnas (an acclaimed “spectacle and performance” company, hailing from Galway) to bring the spirit of Samhain to the city. Beginning at 5.30, this procession will embark from multiple routes, culminating at Wolfe Tone Square at 6.30. This variety in the processionary route means that those wishing to welcome the old spirits and the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Ireland back to their homeland must keep a sharp eye on social media and the festival website on the day in order to ascertain the proper locations.
If you’re in Dublin this weekend, the Bram Stoker Festival is a great opportunity to sample the cultural life of the city, with events endeavouring to cover a good variety of art forms – literary, fine, modern, musical, and theatrical. Now that Ireland is out of the Rugby World Cup, it might be an idea to skip the pub this Saturday and Sunday and look for another side to the life of this city.
For further information on events, check out the festival website, the Facebook page, or Twitter feed. Tickets to all events can be booked online, in person at Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, or over the phone at +353 1 881 9613.
All images courtesy Bram Stoker Festival