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Abhartach, The Irish Dracula?

First off, “Abhartach” is a Celtic word, so you can be certain it is not pronounced the way it is spelled. (It actually should be pronounced “Av-har-tatch” or “Ev-har-tech” depending on the source you consult.) To provide an introduction for Abhartach, allow me to quote historian Patrick Weston Joyce, who wrote in his 1875 book THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF IRISH NAMES AND PLACES: “There is a place in the parish of Errigal in Derry, called Slaghtaverty, but it ought to have been called Laghtaverty, the laght or sepulchral monument of the abhartach or dwarf. This dwarf was a magician, and a dreadful tyrant, and after having perpetrated great cruelties on the people he was at last vanquished and slain by a neighboring chieftain [and] buried in a standing posture, but the very next day he appeared in his old haunts, more cruel and vigorous than ever. And the chief slew him a second time and buried him as before, but again he escaped from the grave, and spread terror through the whole country. The chief then consulted a druid, and according to his directions, he slew the dwarf a third time, and buried him in the same place, with his head downwards; which subdued his magical power, so that he never again appeared on earth. The laght raised over the dwarf is still there, and you may hear the legend with much detail from the natives of the place, one of whom told it to me.”

The story has evolved, as folklore is wont to do, with time. In some versions of the story it is not a druid but a Christian hermit who provides the answer to destroying the “vampire.” [Note that the character is never referred to as such in the original story, and the parts about Abhartach drinking human blood were assuredly added later as well.] While some have argued that Bram Stoker based his Count Dracula on the legend of Abhartach, and it is likely that Stoker was familiar with the story, the author made no mention of Abhartach in his notes on the writing of his most famous novel.

Abhartach is NOT Dracula. He is a vampire of a different sort, and has his own story. No need to forge imaginary links betwixt the two.

TheCheezman • August 30, 2018

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