Our conference took place on 10th November 2018 and was a success. It offered a fascinating insight into Sligo's connections with one of the greatest Gothic novels and was covered across national and international media. It was also the first time Charlotte Thornley Stoker's journal of Sligo's cholera epidemic was read aloud publicly in the town. A big thank you to all who came along and / or supported our ‘How Sligo Shaped Dracula’ day.
Without the support of Sligo County Council and Creative Ireland the event would not have gone ahead this year so our sincere thanks to them for sponsorship. We would also like to thank Sligo BID and Lough Gill Brewery for their support and sponsorship also.
Special thanks to the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Cllr. Martin Baker who formally launched the event.
Also to Galway Mayo Institute of Technology Letterfrack, whose first year design students loaned us lanterns they had designed with a Dracula theme in mind. These provided fitting decoration to the Gothic revival Canis Major church at the Clayton hotel where the conference was held. Thanks too, to the staff at the Clayton Hotel Sligo who were so helpful.
We’d especially like to thank Brid Torrades who had the imagination and generosity to get on board with the idea of the Dracula Dinner at Osta restaurant and to James Ward of Lough Gill Brewing who created a Dracula beer exclusively for the event.
Other businesses (we name them all in a recent blogpost here https://sligobramstoker.weebly.com/events--happenings/local-businesses) created their own take on the Sligo Dracula story which we hoped helped promote our conference and generate some business for them. By engaging with the business community, we hoped to educate them on the true connection to Sligo of the Dracula story. There was not one business owner we engaged with that was not fascinated with the history and the themes the incorporated into their businesses for the weekend took on board the history with great enthusiasm. One example of this is the whiskey and ginger cocktails created by Blind Tiger for the weekend. These were a nod to the fact that at the height of the epidemic, Sligo townspeople drank whiskey mixed with ginger in the belief it staved off cholera. This was a wonderful display of the business owner’s willingness to look beyond Count Dracula and created something based on actual history.
Sligo's history: 'We can't commemorate what we do not know'
It has become apparent that many are unaware of the full extent and significance of this history and this is what the Sligo Bram Stoker / Dracula society want to make people conscious of. In doing so we hope to commemorate the events of 1832 and potentially make Sligo a credible ‘Dracula destination’ for visitors.
Each November, a dead time of year in the tourism calendar, Dracula themed events would no doubt create a buzz for businesses, one that is authentic and seeks to go beyond the cliché of capes and vampire teeth and burrows down into our rich ‘dark’ local history. This is essential in growing the knowledge and pride Sligo people will take in the town’s connection to Dracula. We cannot celebrate or commemorate what we do not know.
Going forward Sligo Bram Stoker / Dracula society will plan more such events and educate people along the way. Our aim is to publish conference proceedings and provide educational public displays charting Sligo’s links to Dracula. Yet our ultimate aim is to have a public memorial, centrally located in the town, to the victims of Sligo’s cholera epidemic of 1832 (estimated at 1,500 people). They, and the terrible events that lead to their deaths, along with the connections to the novel Dracula, deserve to be commemorated respectfully.
Continue to follow us on social media for updates and if you are a business willing to offer sponsorship, or a person wishing to volunteer, please do not hesitate to get in touch email@example.com