A magical dwarf from sixth century Garvagh who could only be killed by a stake through the heart has been singled out as the possible source of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Tracing nearly 120 years of the Transylvanian count’s enduring appeal, suggestions have been made that it might have been “the little known sixth century legend of Abhartach who could well be Ireland’s own Dracula.”
“Abhartach was a tribal ruler in an area near the Derry town of Garvagh, a misshapen and tyrannical dwarf possessed of magical powers whose brutal reign eventually forced his terrified subjects to hire a mercenary called Cathain to assassinate him. Cathain accomplished his task only for the fearsome dwarf to emerge from his grave the next day demanding a bowl of blood from the wrists of his subjects to ‘sustain his vile corpse’,” according to the Irish Daily Mail.
“Consulting the druids, Cathain discovered that the hated dwarf had become one of the marbh bheo - that walking dead - who could only be killed with a stake of yew wood through the heart, burying him upside down, placing thorns around his grave and a great stone directly on top. Cathain did this with the monument giving the townland outside Garvagh its name - Slaghtaverty.”