- 23 Oct 14
Ghouls, ghosts, vampires and zombies abound as Hot Press presents its spooktacular guide to this year's Hallowe'en celebrations.
As the birthplace of one of the world’s most prestigious horror writers, Bram Stoker, as well as the birthplace of Hallowe’en itself, it’s not surprising that Ireland goes all out with its October 31 festivities.
Whether it’s bobbing for apples, digging for the ring in the Bairn Breac or being a big party pooper and turning off all the lights in your house so trick or treaters don’t call at your door, everybody has their own Hallowe’en traditions. But for those daredevils looking for a more modern interactive spook, there’s a treat in store.
This October, the capital goes gothic for the third annual Bram Stoker Festival. Running from October 24–27 and taking the legacy of the Dublin-born horror novelist – and his infamous Dracula novel – as inspiration, the city will host a series of special Hallowe’en gatherings. From large-scale spectacles to intimate performances in unusual spaces, and with a whole range of film and literary events, there's something to whet the appetites of all.
Brought to you by Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland, the festival will creep into every nook and cranny of the capital’s inherently gothic city-scape, painting it red with Stoker’s legacy. Galway-based street theatre company Macnas will be there to present The Summoning – “a portrayal of mercurial tailors with a glee for stitching laughter to darkness, summoning monsters and marvels from drains, lanes and street corners… as creatures, characters, and contortions dissolve and are remade and revealed.”
A similarly adventurous and explosive performance takes place in The Bram Stoker Literary Death Match as four authors pitch their words and wits in literary battle. Bestselling authors Ian Flitcoft and Lynn Shepherd, poet Erin Fornoff and literary sensation David Rudden will be judged by a panel including RTÉ 2fm’s Rick O’Shea, actress Tara Flynn and the Stinging Fly’s Tom Morris.
Other highlights include the Irish premiere of The Curse Of Styria, a city-centre VampWire, and The Shapershifters Ball presented by party-masters Body&Soul. For more info, visit bramstokerfestival.com or #BiteMeDublin on Twitter and Instagram.
If you’re in Kilkenny the weekend of October 25, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidentally stumbled onto a set for The Walking Dead, as the Thrillkenny Zombie Festival is set to take place.
Festival-goers are invited to dress to distress, and the most impressively attired will be in line for spot prizes. There will be a number of activities throughout the weekend to get involved with including a global Thriller Dance World Record attempt, a Zombie Walk for Enable Ireland, the Zombie Ball: gigs with Liam Ó Maonlaí, R.S.A.G., King Kong Company, Johnny Moy, Elektro Bank and Louis Osbourne, free Zombie Movie Screenings (World War Z, Zombieland, Dawn Of The Dead, Braindead), a Haunted Treasure Hunt, as well as Free Zombie Base Camps in 10 selected bars where professional make-up artists are on hand to apply the zombie look.
With the exception of the Zombie walk all events are over 18’s, so leave the little monsters at home. For more information on this apocalyptic weekend visit thrillkenny.com
Kilkenny really is the home of spooktacular activities this Hallowe’en season as Paulstown’s Shankill Castle plays host to its fourth annual ScareFest – a Hallowe’en festival celebrating the ghosts and history of Shankill Castle and its grounds.
The Cope family have resided in the 300-year old house for over 20 years; this Hallowe’en they’re inviting the public to explore and experience the mysterious happenings of the haunted castle and graveyard with them, at night and by candlelight. A member of the family will lead the tour and relay the tales of past residents, along with an account of recently recorded paranormal experiences. “These tours are not for the faint-hearted,” warn the organisers. “Also we recommend you wear good shoes. You might have to run for your life”.
Tours start on October 24 and run until November 2. On Hallowe’en night, there will be an extra spooky midnight tour, for those daring enough. Book by October 17 for a 10% discount. Booking can be done online at shankillcastle.com/scarefest2014/.
There are also some wonderful children’s activities available during the half-term holiday. These include the enchanting Wand and Quill workshop, where children will learn about the impressive trees of Shankill and meet the ‘Minister for Wands’ who provides each participant with their ‘wand licence’. Also available for children is the Children’s Ghost Tour. For more information visit shankillcastle.com