Years before Bram Stoker published Dracula, another vampire story was written in Ireland. Carmilla, a novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, is the original vampire story of modern Europe.
It is a first person account from Laura, a young English woman who falls prey to a beautiful female vampire: Carmilla. At first she is scared of the newcomer, who looks like a specter she had seen in a nightmare when she was a child. But these feelings quickly subside and are replaced by a relationship that blossoms with intensity.
Though Le Fanu portrays his vampire's sexuality with the circumspection that one would expect for his time, it is evident that lesbian attraction is the main dynamic between Carmilla and the narrator of the story. Compared to other literary vampires of the 19th century, Carmilla is a similar product of a culture with strict sexual mores and tangible religious fear.