Bram Stoker Estate
 

Bram Stoker Centennial Events

BRAM STOKER

OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR THE BRAM STOKER ESTATE

The Authoritative Resource for Information about Bram Stoker’s Life and Work

 

A Celebration of the Life

of Bram Stoker

Page updated  15 July 2012

Interior of St Ann's Church,

where a service in

Celebration of the Life of Bram Stoker

was held 8 July 2012


With the following

remarks by Bram Stoker's

great grandson, Robin MacCaw:

I am very honoured to have been asked by Reverend Gillespie to speak at this service marking the centenary of Bram Stoker’s death. As did Bram with his first book,

Under the Sunset, I dedicate this talk to my grandfather, his only son, Noel.


I am a great-grandson of Bram. Together with my two half brothers we are now his closest living direct descendants. So far there are a further 12 in the next two generations below us, so continuity of the line is assured for so time to come.


It was in this very church that Bram married Florence Balcombe nearly 134 years ago, on 4th December 1878


Five days after the wedding, Bram then aged 32 and his bride set out for London, having left his job as a Petty Sessions clerk at Dublin Castle where he had worked for 12 years. He followed Henry Irving the great Shakespearean actor, to become his business manager, including responsibility for finance at The Lyceum Theatre where the two worked together for the next 27 years.


As he died when only 64, Bram had spent almost half of his life in Dublin. Up to the time of his leaving he had finished writing Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions as well as numerous stage reviews, unpublished poems, essays and sketches.


Born, christened and brought up in Clontarf, Bram - then still known as Abraham - while suffering from an extended undiagnosed childhood illness was told stories by his mother Charlotte. A descendant of Manus “the Magnificent” O’Donnell who died in 1563, she had witnessed the cholera epidemic and its terrible effects. We believe some of her stories influenced his most famous work, Dracula.


After making a full recovery, he eventually excelled at several sports and extra-curricular activities during his time at Trinity College, including winning the Athletic Sports Champion Cup in 1867, now in my possession.


While he may have appeared to be a serious young man, extracts from The Journal which he kept between 1871 and 1882, recently published, show he did get involved in some riotous behaviour with his friends and colleagues.


Sadly, although none of his direct descendants has followed his successful career either in the theatre or as a novelist we do have an author of papers and a book on corporate finance and another currently aged 12 training as a ballet dancer. However his son Noel and all three of his great grandsons became Chartered Accountants. Like Bram’s love of the sea, all his descendants have a love of sailing.


I first read Dracula at the age of 12. The plethora of subsequent horror films based on Dracula always seemed to be on a different and less serious plane


Happily this trend was eventually reversed, starting with interest from academia and from here in Dublin, in particular the “One city, One book” promotion in 2009, in which this church took part with the re-enactment of the wedding. When I was here in Dublin that April, my cousin Dacre Stoker and I were disappointed that we could find no permanent memorial to Bram.


Since then we are delighted that in Dublin, this UNESCO City of Literature, the Lord Mayor has announced there will be a Bram Stoker festival weekend running for the next 5 years each October. Also a bridge may be named after him.


This week there are several events taking place at Trinity College and elsewhere with many experts –all of whom have more knowledge than me in the life and writings of Bram.


So maybe life has now gone full circle, allowing me to return 134 years and three generations later, to the very church where my great-grandparents were married.


RGM

09.07.12