Bram Stoker Festival

Water-borne Spectacles, Séances and Spooktacular Surprises await at Bram Stoker Festival this October Bank Holiday Weekend.

One of Dublin’s most anticipated festivals, and now one of its biggest, with more than 80,000 attendees in 2018, Bram Stoker Festival will once again thrill and terrify Dubliners and visitors with a packed programme celebrating the legacy of one of Ireland’s most treasured authors this October Bank Holiday Weekend. Brought to life by Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland, Bram Stoker Festival today revealed its full programme of deadly adventures over four days and nights; from a séance held in complete darkness to daring new theatre, a spectacle on water, dress-up film screenings, a devilishly delicious food trail, a haunted Instagram adventure, a Victorian pop-up fun park for families and much, much more. For events information and tickets sink your teeth into

Set in the ancient modern of Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock, Night Watch (Fri 25 - Mon 28 Oct, all day, best viewed from dusk) is an outdoor spectacle by the internationally renowned Lantern Company taking place across all four days of the festival. Best enjoyed from dusk, but visible from Friday 25 Oct until late on Monday 28 Oct, this atmospheric and darkly theatrical installation will see a ghostly ship summoned from the dark, swathed in fog and foreboding lights, accompanied by an eerie, maritime forest of beings and bodies arising from the depths . A must-see for families, visitors and Dubliners of all ages, the water borne installation reflects age-old anxieties of predator and prey, watcher and watched, with tales of the strange and sinister from the high seas.

Afraid of the dark? Face your fear at SÉANCE (Fri 25 - Mon 28 Oct, from 1pm daily,€13) taking place in complete darkness in a sealed shipping container on Wolfe Tone Square. An immersive and unnerving experience that has thrilled audiences and received acclaim worldwide, it arrives in Dublin for its Irish premiere at the festival, to blur boundaries between reality and the otherworld.

Dying to hear what a stake through the heart actually sounds like? In 1938, Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre project broadcast a live radio recording of Dracula. In the world premiere of Sounds of Wood on Muscle (Fri 25 Oct 9pm & Sat 26 Oct 6pm & 8.30pm,€18) an ensemble of Ireland’s funniest and most thought-provoking theatre makers will present a modern take on Welles’ iconic radio play. Find out if they can improve on Welles’s watermelon and hammer technique in this restaging which plays with how technology has changed our relationship to imagination. Directed by Eoghan Quinn (Collapsing Horse), taking place in St. Ann’s Church, where Bram Stoker married Florence Balcombe in 1878.

Lighting up the dead of night will be Meeting House Horrors, a series of dress-up outdoor horror movie screenings in Meeting House Square. Join the real weirdos, Mister, and throw on your best 90s goth threads and chokers at The Craft (Fri 25 Oct, 8pm, €16); Have moon howls at the ready for a delicious combination of macabre horror and dark humour in the lycanthropic horror An American Werewolf in London (Sat 26 Oct, 8.30pm, €16); and feel free to Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die (that last one’s important) at Lost Boys (Sun 27 Oct, 8pm, €16).

Speaking about this year’s festival, The Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe said, “We are delighted to be celebrating the great Dublin author Bram Stoker and his Victorian novel Dracula. This festival celebrates Dublin city’s proud gothic heritage and showcases the wonderful cultural offerings available in our capital city. I would encourage all Dubliners to take a bite of our full programme of events this October Bank Holiday weekend.”

Firm family favourite, Stokerland (Fri 25 & Sat 26 Oct, 11am-4.30pm, free) returns to take over St. Patrick’s Park for two days of Victorian fun and frolics. With one of Dublin’s most stunning cathedrals as a striking backdrop, this Gothic gathering is full of entertainment to keep little monsters amused, including the macabre talents of world class street-performers as well as rides and attractions to ensure a fangtastic time for all. Other family fun includes Dracula’s Disco (Mon 28 Oct, 2pm, free) returning to Meeting House Square with DJ Will Softly on The Ark’s outdoor stage, complete with confetti cannons to inspire some seriously deadly dancing.

A first for Ireland, InstaTerror is a groundbreaking online event which harnesses modern technology to tell an ancient story of horror. Anyone with a smartphone and a sense of humour can follow this terrifying haunting as it unfolds over the course of a week. As tension builds and the body count rises, this macabre, made-for-millenials adventure will culminate in a shocking climax during the Festival. 

Commenting on the programme, Festival Co-Director Maria Schweppe said, “Bram Stoker Festival has gone from strength to strength since its inception, and last year reached its biggest ever audience, with people coming from all parts of the city and country, joined by thousands of international visitors. This year’s programme contains lots of free events, events rooted in Stoker and his life, literary explorations and craic-filled night out, as well as fun experiences for people of all ages. The festival footprint continues to grow, and for the first time this year, we’re taking to the water with a stunningly beautiful, evocative, chilling and haunting spectacle-meetsart-installation called Night Watch at Grand Canal Dock - don’t miss it!”.

The suitably gothic and opulent Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle, Bram Stoker's workplace for over a decade, will play host to an exclusive screening of the award-winning animated film Abe’s Story (Sat 26 Oct, 1pm, €11), by award winning animator and director Adam Stewart. Telling the story of an overworked writer, Abe, who is inspired by his day job in the theatre to create a bloody brilliant novel in Victorian London, it won the Best Animated Sequence in a Short Film Award at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film's director and acclaimed Bram Stoker biographer Paul F Murray on the influences that helped shape the greatest horror novel of all time; Dracula.

Great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker and co-author of the 2018 prequel novel Dracul, Dacre Stoker gives an intimate insight into Dracula’s history within Stoker family lore, separating fact from popular fiction in a compelling audio-visual presentation at Stoker on Stoker the Mysteries Behind the Writing of Dracula (Sat 26 Oct, 3pm, €11).

Also speaking at the launch, Fáilte Ireland’s CEO, Paul Kelly, said, “Fáilte Ireland is delighted to once again support the Bram Stoker Festival. Festivals and events are crucial to the tourism sector and greatly enhance the visitor experience and Bram Stoker Festival, a celebration of one of our most famous writers, is a fantastic showcase of our capital city. With an amazing line up of music, theatre and literature, along with the addition of ‘Night Watch’, a spectacular new installation at Grand Canal Dock, visitors to Dublin can look forward to a stellar line up of entertainment over the October Bank Holiday Weekend.

Foodies with fangs will love this opportunity to explore Dublin's food scene, with specially created food inventions inspired by Bram Stoker at Bite of Dublin Walking Tour (Mon 28 Oct, 3pm, €40). Accompanied by an expert historian, this walking tour will tell tales of Stoker’s life in the city, the inspiration behind many of his early writings and lesser known stories of Stoker’s life, while sinking their teeth into devour specially developed culinary treats by some of the best eateries in Dublin.

Two events will take place at one of Bram Stoker’s favourite Dublin haunts, Marsh’s Library. The free Spooky Stories at Marsh's (Fri 25 & Sat 26 Oct, 10am-5pm, free) will welcome families to wander the darkened galleries where books of witchcraft and heresy are to be found while regaled with bizarre tales from our past. After darkness descends, adults are invited to Bram Stoker and the Haunting of Marsh’s Library (Fri 25 Oct, 6.30pm, €16.87), where Marsh’s Library Director Dr Jason McElligott will guide visitors on an after-hours tour of the building, including a detailed look at his exhibition ‘Bram Stoker and the haunting of Marsh’s Library’, combining a history of Marsh’s with some of the more unusual tales from the building’s past. Guests will receive a copy of the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.

Like every festival, Bram Stoker Festival welcomes volunteers to join the fun and be part of our marauding mob of volunteer monsters, ghouls and ghosts who, for the 4 days of the festival, roam the streets of Dublin City bringing to life our Gothic gathering. For information on events, volunteering and tickets sink your teeth into

Dubliners and visitors to the city are invited to follow the fun using #bitemedublin #fiaclafola at and @bramstokerdub on Twitter and Instagram.

Bram Stoker Festival is a Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland initiative and presented by Schweppe Curtis Nunn Ltd.