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Blood brother

• Next month marks the centenary of the death of Bram Stoker, the creator of 'Dracula'. While the the feeding frenzy that is being visited on our present-day bloodsuckers (masquerading as politicians, developers and city council officials) in the wake of the Mahon Tribunal (would that it be law) is entirely justified, is it not too much to ask that Stoker's place in literary history be recognised by an official accolade in the city of his birth?

As part of the celebration of Dublin as the UNESCO City of Literature, we at the Liberties Heritage Association have mounted an exhibition entitled 'Dublin Writers, Born here, Lived here, Wished we were here', which is on at City Hall.

Mr Stoker is one of the featured writers and in the exhibition rubs shoulders with another Irish writer, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, whose lesser-known horror novel 'Carmilla' may have been an inspiration for Mr Stoker's Gothic classic. Mr Stoker himself credited his early illness (he was bed-ridden until the age of seven) with his subsequent creation.

"I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years."

The finally discovered "lost" original manuscript (in the US in the 1980s) had a handwritten header of 'The Undead' -- Mr Stoker only changed the title at the last minute. And boy was he right, because he created one of the gothic icons of literature and film who has scared, chilled and thrilled us since 1897.

As the bloodletting (rightly) begins on our politicians, let's also give Mr Stoker the credit he deserves in his home city. But on the subject of the Mahon Tribunal, we will leave the final word to another famous Dublin writer who also features in our exhibition, one Jonathan Swift and the King of Brobdingnag's famous quote in 'Gulliver's Travels'.

"That whoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together."

John Brogan, John Gallagher, Mark Lawler and Bernard Warfield
Liberties Heritage Association, St Nicholas of Myra Heritage Centre,
Carman's Hall, Dublin 8

Irish Independent