research, Writing

The Dearg-Due

The Dearg-Due means “red” in Irish but wasn’t the name of this poor girl during her life. In life, over two thousand years ago, she was a legendary beauty, with blood-red lips and pale blonde hair. Her true name has been lost to the ages, overshadowed instead by the thing she became. Men travelled from far and wide, and even from rival clans across the land, to just to look upon her, but also to try to win her hand in marriage. Despite her outward loveliness, she was Godly and kind, and a blessing to all who knew her.

Fatefully, she fell in love with a local peasant. His name too, has been forgotten, swallowed by the legend. He was a true match for her in all things. He was handsome and kind-hearted but lacked what meant the most to her Father: money.

Without money, there and no no status in the community there would be no security for the family. That love match wouldn’t be allowed to happen.
Instead, the Father gave his child to a vastly older, much crueler man to secure a title and a fortune for their family. While the father revelled in his newly acquired riches, he gave no thought to his daughter. She suffered daily mental and physical abuse at the hands of her new husband.. His particular pleasure was drawing blood from her – watching as the crimson welled from her soft, porcelain skin. When not being abused, she was kept locked away in a tower cell so that only her husband could see her…touch her…bleed her. And she waited, in vain, for the day that her former peasant lover would rescue her. It was a hope that kept her going for many months.

One day, she realized there was no rescue to come, no hope and nothing but the daily cruelty. She would have to saved herself. In the only way possible to her and grimmest of ways, she committed suicide by a slow, painful starvation. It’s buried in a small churchyard, near “Strongbow’s Tree,” in the County of Waterford,m in Southeast Ireland.

In the last days of her life, when the abuse had broken and twisted her kind spirit, she renounced God and vowed terrible vengeance. For the devout, souls of those who commit suicide can never rest and are doomed to walk in torment forever.

Some folklore in Ireland said if you pile stones on the graves of the newly dead it prevents them from rising again. No one piled stones on the wretched girl’s grave.
Her husband married soon after and her father, intoxicated by his new fortune was too immersed in his own greed to be bothered by his daughter’s death and attending to the grave.

She rose from her grave, filled with rage and lusting for vengeance. She went first to her fathers home. She appeared in his bedroom while he slept and killed him. She moved next to her former husband and found him in a bed with a number of women, void of any sadness or regret – clearly without remorse or regret.

She attacked and killed him then proceeded to suck the blood from his body. After drinking the blood of her evil husband, she felt invigorated and alive. This gave her a hunger for more blood that couldn’t be quenched.

The legend of the Dearg-Due or “Red Blood Sucker’ was born. She used her great beauty to lure unsuspecting young men and sank her teeth deep into their necks drinking greedily.
With each new taste for blood, she grew hungrier – feasting on the blood of as many men under the darkness of night as she could with promises of love.

Then she disappeared. What happened to her? Where did she go? Is she still out there?
folklore says the grave of the young woman can be found at a place called the Tree of Strongbow (or Strongbow’s Tree) in Waterford, Ireland.