October 31st is Samhain – the Irish word for the night when the boundary between life and death vanishes. The origin of Halloween lies in Ireland’s Celtic past some two thousand years ago, it was held on the first day of the 11th month which was considered the end of the year. Because the Celts believed that night preceded day, the festivities took place on the Eve of Samhain and was the most important festival of the year. When Christianity set November 1st as All Saints' Day or All Hallows' Day in the 8th century, the Irish Celts were reluctant to give up their festival and so celebrated Samhain as All Hallows' Eve, which eventually turned into Hallowe'en and Halloween.
This was a spiritual time and the doorway between the two worlds would be open allowing puka, banshees, fairies, both good and bad spirits to roam in our world. To confuse evil spirts huge bonfires were lit and people wore costumes, masks, and horns in order to fool the spirits into thinking that they were one of them.
Irish legends were telling of vampires, banshees and werewolves centuries before Hollywood ever heard of them.
Irish Gothic literature includes two of the world’s great horror stories, containing the most famous of literary vampires, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Another less known ancient Irish Vampire is the Dearg-Due which means “Red Blood Sucker” in Irish and according to legend, she was a beautiful woman who fell in love with a peasant much to the destain of her father. Against her will, she was forced to marry a wealthy man who proved to be cruel and sadistic, but not long into her marriage she commits suicide and was buried near Strongbow’s Tree.
Shortly after her burial, she rose from her grave to have revenge on her father and husband drinking their blood until they died. However, her blood lust continued and due to her incredible beauty, she could lure young men to their death by haunting their dreams, luring them into the darkness, and draining them of their blood.
The Dearg-Due could be prevented from rising from the grave by placing stones on her grave which is a long-standing tradition in Irish lore for preventing the dead from rising again.