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Why won't tourism chiefs get teeth into Stoker's city home?

TOURISM chiefs have been criticised for showing no interest in developing Bram Stoker's former Dublin home as a museum.

The Clontarf property has been on the market for months and its price has been slashed from €750,000 to €570,000.

But despite the massive local and international interest in Dracula author Stoker, tourism bosses haven't moved to turn it into a visitor attraction.

While Dracula has always had legions of fans, the Twilight saga has put vampire-related themes at the forefront of popular culture once again.

Independent TD Finian McGrath strongly believes the Stoker family's former three-storey Georgian property at 15 The Crescent should be acquired.



Treasure

"It could be a national treasure and a national asset and we could use it for tourism purposes," said Mr McGrath, in whose Dublin North Central constituency the property is located.

"There is huge international interest in Bram Stoker and I think if Failte Ireland or some other State body acquired it, they would recoup the money in two to three years," the deputy said.

"It would be a tourism trail for the area," he added.

Mr McGrath said he is a strong supporter of tourism being developed through local channels rather than on a national level by Failte Ireland.

"Basing it on experience, in the Marino and Clontarf areas they have brilliant ideas for tourism projects. The national strategy at the moment is not working because tourism is down."

A Failte Ireland spokesman said, while they do fund capital projects, he is not aware of any proposal to develop the Stoker house for tourism.

"If someone bought it and came to us, we would look at it but there is no guarantee. We only have a certain amount of capital money," he said.

The spokesman said it is "more likely" a group would approach Failte Ireland for a scheme like this, rather than officials seeking out interested parties to set up the proposal.

While there has been some private interest in turning the home into a Stoker museum, no official body has contacted Gallagher Quigley, the estate agents handling the sale.



Viewings

"We've had regular inquiries and regular viewings. We've even had offers but not at an acceptable level right now," Peter Quigley told the Herald recently.

No one in an official capacity has been in contact about turning the property into a visitor attraction, he added.

However, "one or two" potential purchasers have looked at it "in a private capacity with that use in mind", Mr Quigley said.

He said it is a very attractive address, with a huge garden suitable for a family.

Stoker, who died in April 1912, created one of literature's most enduring characters, Count Dracula.

Having been born in Clontarf, the writer worked for 15 years in Dublin Castle and married Oscar Wilde's former girlfriend.

comurphy@herald.ie