The Vampires That Terrified Ireland

It was common belief by the lower classes of Christian Europe that one of the easiest ways to become a vampire was by committing suicide. This is most apparent in the legend of Dearg-Due who is one of the great villains of Irish folklore.

Dearg-Due can be traced back to Waterford, Ireland and was the devastatingly beautiful daughter of the local tribal chief. She fell in love with a man who was far below her own station, and when the tribal chief, her father, found out about the relationship, he made her marry a much older and abusive man leaving her devastated and suffering from a broken heart.
After marrying her father’s chosen husband, the young woman killed herself to escape her miserable position. Her husband discovered her body and had her buried underneath a tree in Waterford called “Strongbow’s tree.”

Years after the burial, the girl left her grave and returned to the land of the living. She then swore to get revenge on those who had ruined her life. Now taking on the appearance of a Dearg-Due, commonly known as a red blood sucker, she attacked her father and her abusive husband and drained them of their blood. With revenge taken, she found peace.

However, the Dearg-Due isn’t the only vampire-esque monster haunting Ireland. The legend of Abhartach is still very powerful and continues to strike fear into the heart of many a believer. Abhartach was a tyrant who took great joy in terrorizing his subjects. When he finally died, he became a Neamh-Mairbh, commonly known as one of the undead, and continued his reign of terror. 

Now he no longer had just the power to kill, he could drain his victims of their blood and strike terror into their very hearts.

Although they were terrified, the people he ruled worked against him and fashioned a sword. The sword was made of Yew wood and, as the tale tells, it was driven through his heart which, by all accounts, was black. Then to make sure he stayed dead, his once loyal followers buried him upside down, and he was never heard of again.

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