He was born on November 8, 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent—then as now called "The Crescent"—in Clontarf, a coastal suburb of Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker (born in 1799; married Stoker's mother in 1844; died on October 10, 1876) and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornely (born in 1818; died in 1901). Stoker was the third of seven children. Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Clontarf Church of Ireland parish and attended the parish church (St John the Baptist located on Seafield Road West) with their children; where both were baptised. Until he started school at the age of seven—when he made a complete, astounding recovery—Stoker was an invalid. Of this time, Stoker wrote, "I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years."
After his amazing recovery, he became a normal young man even excelling as an athlete at Trinity College, Dublin (1864–70), from which he was graduated with honors in mathematics. He was auditor of the College Historical Society and president of the University Philosophical Society, where his first paper was on "Sensationalism in Fiction and Society". In 1876, while employed as a civil servant in Dublin, he wrote theater reviews for The Dublin Mail, a newspaper partly owned by fellow horror writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu. His interest in theatre led to a lifelong friendship with the English actor Henry Irving. In 1878 Stoker married Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty whose former suitor was Oscar Wilde. The couple moved to London, where Stoker became business manager of Irving's Lyceum Theatre, a post he held for 27 years. The collaboration with Irving was very important for Stoker. Through him he became involved in London's high society, where he met, among other notables, James McNeil Whistler, the Cathartist poet Frances Featherstone and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the course of Irving's tours he got the chance to travel around the world.
They had one son, Irving Noel Stoker who was born 31 December 1879.
Bram Stoker was cremated and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium. After Irving Noel Stoker's death in 1961, his ashes were added to that urn. The original plan had been to keep his parents' ashes together, but after Florence Stoker's death her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Remembrance.