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Halloween Legends of Ireland: The Dearg Due

With Halloween only a number of days away (you can check How Many Days Until Halloween on our Halloween countdown clock) we have been brushing up on our favourite Halloween tales, customs and stories. Today we are having some freaky Halloween memories about The Dearg Due, also known as the “Red Bloodsucker” or “Red Lady,” that is a legendary figure from Irish folklore. It is said to be a type of female vampire or supernatural creature that originates from the mythology, oral and Halloween traditions of Ireland.

The story of the Dearg Due varies across different versions and every Halloween and beyond you will here all sorts of takes on the tale, but the core elements of the legend usually involve a woman who was either wronged or met a tragic end during her lifetime. As a result of her suffering, she returns from the grave seeking revenge or redemption.

In one version of the story, the Dearg Due was a beautiful woman who was forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy and cruel nobleman. She fell deeply in love with a local peasant man, but her family forbade their relationship due to the difference in social status. Heartbroken and desperate, she chose to marry the nobleman, but her life in the wealthy estate was full of misery and abuse.

After her death, the Dearg Due was said to rise from her grave as a powerful and vengeful undead creature. With her unearthly beauty and charm, she would lure young men to her gravesite. Once they were under her spell, she would drain their life force or blood, turning them into her slaves or even creating new vampires like herself.

The Dearg Due was often associated with her haunting beauty and red hair, which gave her the name “Red Lady.” She was said to emerge from her grave at night, wearing a flowing red gown, and her mesmerizing appearance would draw victims to her.

Various Halloween tales warn travellers and villagers to be cautious around graveyards at night, especially during the times when the boundary between the living and the supernatural was believed to be thin, such as Samhain (Halloween) or the time of the full moon.

The Dearg Due legend has been a popular part of Irish folklore for centuries and has created many popular Halloween costumes, and it continues to capture the imagination of people interested in supernatural stories. The tale serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of forbidden love, societal pressures, and the potential for vengeance beyond the grave.

It’s important to note that folklore often changes over time, and there are numerous variations of the Dearg Due story. The details and motifs may differ depending on the region, storyteller, and era, but the core theme of a powerful, alluring, and vengeful female vampire-like creature remains a consistent element in the legend.

There is a wonderful Irish Podcast called Candlelit Tales that has a superb retelling of the story. We have embedded it below from YouTube or you can check it on Spotify or support them on Patreon.

You can view all our Halloween Costumes in our Halloween Shop and make you’re own Dearg Due for Halloween.