Irelands Vampire Legend,, County Londonderry
Not far from Dungiven lie the remains of an ancient stone monument that is alternatively know as the Giant’s Grave, or more illuminatingly Abhartach’s Grave. This is the focal point in the legend of Abhartach, Ireland’s own Dracula (and proposed with some credibility as an influence on Bram Stoker its Irish-born author).
Abhartach was an evil magician who in the Dark Ages ruled a petty kingdom in his corner of Derry. His subjects were afraid of the dwarfish and ill-formed mage because of his supernatural powers. They called on Cathrain, a neighbouring chieftain, to rid them of their oppressor.
Cathrain duly slew Abhartach, and as a mark of his evil buried him upright. The next day the magician returned, and demanded blood from his subjects as food and tribute. Again Cathrain slew the evil dwarf and buried him standing. Again Abhartach returned, once more seeking bloody refreshment. In despair Cathrain consulted a holy man – an early saint or a druid – and was told that Abhartach was of the undead and could not be killed, but he could be contained: his heart should be pierced with a yew stake, then Abhartach buried head down, with a giant stone atop the grave to keep him in, and holy thorn bushes planted around it. Cathrain did all this, and Abhartach it is said remains beneath the great stone, waiting for a fool to move it.
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