The Night The Vampires Struck

by Cass O'Neill

Born and raised in Dublin, Cass now lives in Navan, County Meath.

In the late sixties and early seventies Hammer horror movies were at the height of their success with titles like "The Vampire Lovers" and "Carmilla". These movies all had a similarity that generally saw some very attractive, scantily clad ladies indulging themselves on the blood of unsuspecting victims whom they had seduced with their charms.

Now at that time The Teenbeats were a bunch of maniacs (absolute nutters, some would say) who were always willing to try anything at least once……. and usually did. Several of the band members were huge fans of those Hammer films and knew the various legends of the vampires quite well. There was a few young ladies in the coastal resort of Skerries, County Dublin who had also aquainted themselves with these legends but perhaps delved a little more deeply than most.

One fine summer night fate saw three of these young ladies attending a dance in the Pavilion Ballroom on the seafront in Skerries at which none other than The Teenbeats was the featured band. At this time 9-2 meant that there was music from 9.00 p.m. until 2.00 a.m. so a relief band played from 9 o'clock until about 11.30 during which time three of the band members made the acquaintance of the three young lady horror fans.

This particular night was also memorable in the annals of the band as the night we got barred from future gigs in The Pavillion for appearing in various states of undress (all in the best possible taste, of course and purely for fun) whilst singing "Leap Up And Down (Wave Your Knickers In The Air)". This was something we had done all over the country and had never had any adverse reaction. In fact on the night in question the punter response had been hugely enthusiastic but that's probably another story.

At the end of the night, as the band packed up, the same three young ladies made it very clear that they would like to further pursue the newly formed friendship with the same three band members (who shall remain otherwise nameless) and would be very grateful for a lift home. As the gig was so close to Dublin several of the band had travelled in their own cars rather than the bandwagon and sure enough the three involved in this adventure had travelled together in one car. The sight of these three leaving with the girls in tow was also cited as a reason for the barring of the band. The guy running The Pavilion at that time must have been a bit strange to say the least. As it turned out he wasn't the only strange thing in Skerries that night.

Situated in the lands between Skerries and Balbriggan there is now a wonderful public amenity known as Ardgillan Castle but way back then it was a much different place .... especially at night. On leaving the ballroom the sextet had quite quickly become three couples. The girls were very naturally attractive and describing all three as vivacious would be an understatement. Being close to 3.00 a.m. by this time, there wasn't even a take away open in Skerries and everyone agreed that something to eat would be nice. The girls suggested that they knew a great place for a feed and said they would show the way.

The directions given guided the driver of the car out of Skerries and onto the road that leads from there to Balbriggan and after a couple of miles onto a back road that seemed to twist and turn every which way and ultimately onto an even narrower road that had no houses whatsoever on it. A little way down that road the driver was told to stop at the entrance to a field. There was, of course, no street lighting in this relatively remote location but there was a full moon so visibility for such a rural location was not bad at all.

On being asked where they thought we might get a feed out there at this time of night the girls pointed across the field to where a building, that looked like an old castle, stood. (This was later identified as Ardgillan Castle as mentioned above). They said "come on over and we'll show you". This was where the mad streak in all members of The Teenbeats of that time took over and brains and common sense vanished. Two of the lads readily agreed to the invitation and headed across the field with their recently acquired partners.

The remaining band member had sensed an opportunity to remain in the car and get to know his new friend better and she seemed anxious to stay behind and take care of him too. So, reduced to a foursome, the party approached a gate that led into the environs of the castle. At this point one of the girls suggested that one couple should wait while she and her partner went in to check the place out. Having played along so far the first two went on through the gate while the others waited nearby and became a little more intimate with each other.

The romantic conversation soon turned to the subject of vampire movies and whether or not the legend was in any way believable. The gentle kissing around the musician's neck gradually turned to gentle little bites and eventually to more severe biting bordering on the painful. Suddenly there was an almighty roar from inside the wall that surrounded the castle and the first guy, who had gone inside with his girl to check it out, came scrambling across the gate not stopping to open it. As he ran back across the field he was shouting "get the $%&* out of here, head" at the top of his voice.

Now more conscious of the pain being inflicted on his neck the second member pushed his girl aside and took off across the field after his colleague. As they climbed frantically over the field gate the blood starting to stain the collar of the first guy's shirt was clearly visible in the moonlight. The two girl's could be heard shouting from over by the castle "come back, come back, don't be afraid it's only a bit of fun".

On reaching the car the two musicians jumped in quite suddenly and startled the couple that had remained in it. In the brief confusion that was caused by their sudden return the remaining girl banged her nose on her partner's head and it started to bleed quite badly.

Refusing flatly to wait for the two girls still in the field, the driver reluctantly agreed to bring the third girl back to Skerries, because of her severe nosebleed, but there wasn't much conversation during the three or four mile drive. Back in the town she asked to be dropped at the entrance to a very respectable looking housing estate and the driving musician gladly complied. The stain on the collar of his friend's shirt was even worse by now. When the car stopped the "cute whore" in the back who hadn't gone into the field was curious to know what had happened and pushed for an explanation before his girl could get out of the car. The driver, who hadn't gone through the gate into the castle grounds, was also a bit curious as he wasn't fully clear about what had happened.

All the wounded Teenbeat would say, over and over, was "she bit my neck, she bit my neck". As the car was of the two door variety he had to get out to let the girl out of the back seat which he eventually did as he composed himself a bit. As the girl got out she could be seen holding her hands carefully in front of her.

The shocked musician was still repeating "she bit my neck, she bit my neck" as he sat back into the front passenger seat . The girl was, by now, standing on the footpath and "the cute whore" was attempting to apologise for what had happened from the safety of the back seat of the car.

As the car door closed behind her she turned and looked longingly at the front seat passenger, who was still clearly bleeding under the collar of his open-neck shirt. "Of course she did, what did you expect?" , she asked through the open front window. She then proceeded to drink the blood she had carefully collected from her bleeding nose in her cupped hands.

The car sped off.

 © Cass O'Neill 2004

  © Irish Showbands Archive 2004

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