Sligo Stoker Society were delighted to welcome Dacre Stoker to Sligo for his first ever visit to the town on October 23rd. Sligo Hub was in attendance at the event to find out more about the Sligo Stoker Society and the connection between Sligo and Dracula.
Dacre Stoker is the great grand-nephew of Dracula author Bram Stoker, and a best selling novelist in his own right. Dacre’s great grandmother Charlotte Thornley Stoker lived in Sligo during the notorious cholera epidemic of 1832 and was the mother of Bram, her tales of the epidemic are said to have influenced Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. It was a spiritual homecoming of sorts for Dacre, who is based in the U.S. and has a large international following.
Sligo Stoker Society, a voluntary society with a focus on historical research, helped organise the events and launched signage (outlining the Sligo/Dracula historical connection) to coincide with Dacre’s visit. The signage was funded by Sligo County Council C&V Heritage grants scheme and Sligo LEADER.
Dean Arfon Williams from St. John’s Cathedral in Sligo showed Dacre his family’s tomb (the final resting place of Matilda Thornley and Richard Thornley, Bram Stoker’s maternal grandmother and uncle). In a moving ceremony, attended by parishioners and the Sligo Stoker Society, Dacre placed a wreath of flowers on the tomb. He also launched the first of the information signage by Sligo Stoker Society outlining the Sligo/Dracula historical connection.
The Sligo Stoker Society took Dacre on a whistle-stop tour of Sligo town, visiting Market Street where Charlotte Thornley lived and The Courthouse. Cllr Tom MacSharry, Cathaoirleach hosted a reception in Sligo City Hall for the author.
Sligo Central Library, in association with the Sligo Stoker Society, held a special evening for members of the public. Dacre read selected passages from Dracul which he co-authored with JD Barker, the origin story of Bram Stoker writing Dracula. There was also a question and answer session with Dr Fiona Gallagher (Author of Streets of Sligo) and music with Niamh Crowley and Anna Houston.
Sligo Stoker Society are delighted to now have the first phase of our history signage rolled out at the following locations; Sligo Abbey, Yeat’s Memorial Building, St. John’s Cathedral and Sligo Central Library with more locations to follow. If any local business wants to contact them about sponsoring further publications (such as their forthcoming book on the topic) please contact them at sligoBramStokerSociety@gmail.com