Saturday, 31 December 2011

Hello 2012!

2011 began with our group's Chinese wish lantern catching fire mid-air and plummeting to the ground. We genuinely spent the next half an hour listening out for fire brigade sirens! We were afraid it would set fire to a neighbour's house... 

Although 2011 was worse for some in the group than for others, I think we are all happy that a fresh new year is just beginning. I myself didn't have a terrible year but 2012 is already shaping up to be an infinitely better year than 2011! 

Labelled for reuse. Click for source
Number one on my list of things to do this year is learn to drive, something I have been pursuing for a few weeks now. I have some new posts lined up for this blog and am giving some major thought to starting up a Youtube channel also! Overall I really just plan to live life as much as possible this year.

What about you? Does anyone have any special plans or resolutions for this year? I would love to hear about them! 

I wish you all a healthy, special, happy and well-lived 2012! :) x

Miaow miaow. 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Video post- Accent challenge!

Hey guys!

I decided to do the accent challenge which I have posted below. I think it's a really fun challenge and I hope that you enjoy it! Sorry that I say 'em' a lot in the vid! :)


Pronounce the following words: Aunt, Roof, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Avenue, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Pajamas, Caught, Naturally, Aluminium, GIF, Doorknob, Envelope, Drawing, Tomato, Often, Dog, February, Syrup, About, Process, Status, Organization, Orange, Talk, Mobile, Idea, Dynasty, Renaissance, Patronize, Breakfast, Drawer, Horror, Herbs.

What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?

What is a bubbly carbonated drink called?

What do you call gym shoes?

What do you call your grandparents?

What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?

What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Choose a book and read a passage from it.

Do you think you have an accent?

Be a wizard or a vampire?

Do you know anyone on Tumblr in real life?

End audio post by saying any THREE words you want.

Hope you enjoyed and that others take part too!

Rebecca. x

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Pretty New Things!

Hey guys and a very special hello to all of my new followers!

Recently I went shopping and for once I actually managed to pick up some nice stuff. I love this time of year, the colours and fabrics are definitely more palatable then summery pastels! Bleh!

I decided to make a post sharing some of my favourite purchases, aside from what's below I just got some basic cardigans and stuff like that. Hope you enjoy! :)

The Cameo T-shirt was 3 Euro in Primark. Bargain!
The jumper dress was 12.95 Euro in No Name.
The fake leather skirt was 15 Euro in Primark.
Sparkly hat 3 Euro in Dunnes Stores.
 I know everyone wears them but I love these things!
Hello Kitty Necklace 8.99 Euro Claire's Accessories. Miaow miaow purr.
Essence Nail Polish in 'Time for Romance' 1.29 Euro
Essence Lip Gloss in 'Berry Me' 2.99 Euro
Yes the bunny is wearing a black lace cape. He was a vampire for Halloween and  has yet to remove his costume! ;)

I hope that you're all doing really well and enjoying the Christmas season!
Until next time!
Miaow miaow. X

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Vicious Attack on Two Goths.

Although Amy over at The Ultimate Goth Guide has already made a blog post about this terrible attack, I decided to make one myself in case anyone didn't read hers. I urge others to make a post about it also. 

Earlier this week, October 5th, a pair of goths were attacked on a tram in Bury simply because their attackers had a problem with the way that they were dressed. 

The female victim, 22, was headbutted before her attacker proceeded to stamp her in the face five times. She has a fractured eye-socket as a result of this unprovoked and thoroughly terrifying attack. Words fail me, I am utterly disgusted. 

The male victim, 29, was punched to the ground and repeatedly kicked. He suffered a black eye and an ear injury. 

The two attackers responsible had made comments on the victims style of dress prior to the attack

Speaking of the attack Sylvia Lancaster stated that 'This is just the sort of ignorant behaviour that needs to be stopped. I am really pleased that these young people reported it to the police. Attacks and attitudes like this have no place in society'.

Below are CCTV images of two of the three men responsible. 

Add caption
Should anyone recognise these two men then they should call 0161 856 8163 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

More Mythology.

Hey guys,

I figured that I was long overdue a post on Irish/Celtic mythology. I decided to rectify this with a post explaining my blog title! Hope you enjoy!

The Phantom Cat

Phantom Cats are essentially large felines who are spotted roaming around outside of their indigenous territory. There is nothing alien or supernatural about them, they are simply out of place! I love big cats and my first ever school project was on big cats- cheetahs and panthers being among my favourite. Here in Ireland there have been sightings in places such as The Phoenix Park. I thought it was a cool name!
The Celtic Otherworld

The 'Otherworld' part of my blog post comes from the concept of the Celtic Otherworld, the realm of the dead. In Irish mythology it appears to be akin to a kind of heaven, it's inhabitants never grow old and there is no sickness. Often-times it was thought to exist underwater, underground or alongside the human world. It was most strongly associated with the sea and with waves, a point which makes sense when you consider the fact that Ireland is an island. Although it may be understood as a kind of heaven, it has nothing to do with the Christian concept of Heaven or Hell. Such places appear throughout various mythologies, for example Elysium. Elysium is a Greek version of the afterlife which sees it's inhabitants enjoying a beautiful and happy life after death.

Many Otherworld tales tell of a beautiful maiden who lures a human male to these summer-lands in exchange for his help in battle. Of course, they are usually never seen again.  Such tales say that the voyage was made in glass boat or a white horse. I myself am most familiar with tales involving a white horse.

Image labelled for reuse. Click for source.
Come Children of the Night

I got this line from Bram Stoker's Dracula, the exact quote being 'Listen to them: children of the night. What music they make'.

Thanks for reading.
Rebecca. x

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Outfit Post!

Hey guys!

Sorry for my distinct lack of blogging! It's because I... finally got a job!! I work with animals so its quite demanding, it didn't help that I was down with a cold all last week either. Hehe. I survived nevertheless and will hopefully continue to blog regularly once I settle into my new work routine. At least I'll be able to afford some pretty new purchases to blog about ;)

I apologise if I am slow to write back to comments, I do read and REALLY appreciate all your feedback. 

I hope to do some more mythology related posts over the coming weeks, they seem popular and I love researching them!

I was off this weekend and so headed out to pick up some supplies for work, i.e. heavy fleeces and warm socks. I took some of my favourite things in my wardrobe and made an outfit with them! I quite like the contrast between the graphic t-shirt and the very feminine skirt but some people might not, let me know if you think it works! I'm not all that attached to the outfit so if it isn't popular I won't mind abandoning it! I cut the loose string off soon after the photo was taken, I didn't notice it for ages! It's all I can see when I look at this photo! 

The Lost Boys t-shirt 30 Euro-  Fresh in Temple Bar
Black cardigan 12.99 Euro- H&M
Waist belt- free with some fashion magazine YEARS ago.
Skirt 7.99 Euro- Zara
TUK Kitty Shoes 49.99 Euro- China Blue in Temple Bar

I actually featured this skirt in a previous post, here.

The make-up. A simple smoky eye!

Hope you guys enjoyed this little post.

Rebecca. x

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Monthly Theme- Arm-warmers!

Hello there my lovelies!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween! I went out last week as Bellatrix Lestrange and spent the night itself just watching some classics such as Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice! I don't actually like to go outside on Halloween night because some of the young-un's here where I live tend to get a bit rowdy. Aiming fireworks at each other (??!) and shouting abusive things at you down the street for example...

Moving on with the post! At the beginning of each month VictorianKitty of Sophistique Noir picks a theme and you design a blog post around said theme! This time around the theme is arm warmers and so I present to you my (limited) collection of arm warming accessories! I was so inspired by Kamyria's beautiful lacy DIY armwarmers but unfortunately couldn't find the time to follow suit and make myself some. I plan to at some point though! 

These arm-warmers were actually thigh highs that I bought in Primark. They turned out to be terribly unflattering and so I fashioned them into arm-warmers. I actually prefer them this way! 

Another recycled Primark purchase! These were originally the sleeves of a stretchy top but I cut them off to make the top into a ripped up t-shirt. I put slits in the sleeves before I cut them off and so I kept them as arm-warmers. I love these! :)

I have had these arm-warmers since I was around 13. My fave way to wear them was with a Nirvana t-shirt and really baggy black chord jeans. God I loved that outfit! Now that I know the joys of figure-flattering clothes I am more likely to be spotted in an ensemble not too dissimilar from the one above! The purple in the arm-warmers and the purple in my t-shirt look better together in person, they colours are a bit off in this photo. I find that these also double up well as colorful socks, indeed they functioned as such for my Bellatrix Lestrange outfit! 

I couldn't get a good picture of these! These would be the tights featured in this post. Unfortunately they ripped the first time that I wore them and so they were turned into armwarmers! Again from Primark! 

I hope you enjoyed my post and I can't wait to read everyone else's!

Miaow Miaow.
Rebecca. x

Monday, 31 October 2011

Gothic Blog Award

Hey folks!

I'm very excited to say that I received the Gothic Blog Award from Sabayon over at Ruffles Not Diets! Thank you so much Sabayon and thank you for the kind words in your post. I love reading your blog and it's lovely to know that you enjoy mine! I intend to compose many more posts on Irish and Celtic mythology over the coming months. :)

I think I shall follow suit and forward the award to three bloggers who have yet to receive it! Since I started blogging I have seen and read so many fantastic blogs, making this choice extremely difficult to say the least! My choices are

From the Other Side: I love Kamyria's blog so so much! She posts on lots of different things and I love it all. I love the way she writes, she seems so genuine! Each post always has a personal touch which makes them a joy to read. She is also one heck of a well dressed lady :)

My Spot in the Spectrum: I really enjoy Snowhyte's blog! She mostly does style posts and I especially love her nail posts! Her photographs are always clear and her posts are well-written and so enoyable! I love her sense of style and the way she does her make-up.

Geeky Goth Girl: I love Jamie's blog! She has a wonderful talent for DIY and always looks fabulous. Her themed outfit posts are so much fun to read and I always look forward to seeing what her next look will be! She has some seriously delightful items of clothing and I love the way she combines accessories!

Now ladies, the rules say that once awarded you must then go and pass the award on to three of your favourite blogs. So enjoy selecting!

Until next time, i.e. until my Monthly Theme Post tomorrow!


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Budget Beauty Tips.

I had planned to do this post for a while now and luckily it is a nice precursor to Le Professeur Gothique's Monthly Homework Assignment which is all about skincare and make-up removal!

I am a firm believer that you do not need to spend a lot of money to look good. Over the years I have spent SO MUCH money on products when I didn't need to. My recent beauty routine (and my best one so far) is ridiculously cheap and hugely effective. Enjoy!

  • I use olive oil to remove my make-up. I also use it as a moisturiser. It really helps tone down the redness around my nose and evens out my skin tone. Plus, it's epic at removing stubborn eye-liner in a pinch. It's very very good for all kinds of skin types, especially oily skin. I wish I knew about it during my acne ridden teenage years! If you run out of make-up remover in the future, give this a go!
  • Instead of spending money on exfoliators, just mix up some sugar with your moisturiser. I mix mine with olive oil, obviously. Gently massage it into your face, allowing the sugar to take off dead skin cells. Rinse and pat dry. You're done! Sweet, eh? (Sorry...)
  • Want to give your skin a lift but can't afford an expensive face mask/don't trust those ones they sell for 1euro? Use an egg instead! Break an egg, separate the yolk from the white and keep both.  Beat the egg white until it bubbles and rub it onto your face. Allow it to dry and rinse it off. Next, do the same thing with the egg yolk. Egg white brightens and tightens the skin whilst the yolk is a great moisturiser. My skin feels AMAZING after I do this treatment!
  • Instead of spending lots of money on nail hardening products, use Vaseline instead.  A small amount rubbed on each nail a few times a day makes a big difference. Seriously, my nails are noticeably stronger after just one day!
  • Expensive hair conditioning masks aren't always the best. I have spent a lot of money on deep conditioners. My favorite? Boots Intensive Conditioner with Cocunut and Almond. Its about 2euro people. I have spent ten times that much on lesser products. The best way to discover a cheap but effective product is to google 'cheap x,y,z products and go from there. Stalk beauty and hair forums! 
  • Run out of perfume and can't afford another one right now? Try out some body sprays. They're cheap, smell delish and they last for ages!
  • If you bought a lipstick which is a nice shade but too glossy for your liking don't buy a mattifier just yet. Instead dab a small amount of translucent powder over your lips. This does change the colour slightly but not much.     
  • Similarly a tint dab of concealer on the eye-lids and lips makes a great primer for your make-up. Blend it in really well though to avoid any clumpiness. Primers can be expensive, especially if you're on a budget.
  • An effective treatment for dark circles is to squeeze some juice from a cucumber slice and dab it lightly into the area twice a day. I really like this treatment but always forget to get cucumbers when I'm out! 
My basic skincare products! Sorry it's blurry. 

I hope this was useful to someone out there! Do any of you guys have any beauty tips to share that I haven't mentioned here? Don't be afraid to let me know! Also, don't be afraid to disagree with me on any of these points! I would love to know your thoughts on this!

Until next time!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Stuff That I Wore and Bought!

Hey guys!

One of the reasons that I never do outfit posts is because I spend a lot of time at home these days and never wear anything particularly thrilling. However last weekend I went to England to visit my boyfriend and managed to take a few pictures of some of the things that I wore! I also took some photos of stuff that I picked up over there, mostly make-up. I wish we had as much choice with make-up here in Ireland, I was amazed at the variety of products that are available in England. MUA is my newest obsession, most of their items are only £1 and they're quite good quality! Amazing!!

Anyway, on to the photos!

The left is the full outfit and the right just shows my Star Trek t-shirt! Love that t-shirt...
 Cardigan 10 Euro in Primark.
Star Trek t-shirt 6 Euro-Menswear in Primark
White cami 2.50 Euro in Primark
Black body con skirt 5.00 H&M
Black tights- I think a 2 pack for around 3 Euro in Primark.
Doc's 120 Euro from Dublin many many moons ago.
Dragon necklace- around 3 Euro in some shop that has since closed!
I'm also wearing tights as arm-warmers, they ripped so I decided to put them to good use,
I blogged about them before, here.

Black shirt 15 Euro H&m
Waistcoat 3 Euro Primark sale
Skirt with star print £5 Matalan
Tights 3 Euro Tesco
Docs-as above
Cameo necklace 4.95 Euro H&M
Excuse the blurry photos!

I wore the above outfit to The British Museum. I felt the shirt and waistocat would be suitable for such a venture! The museum was amazing! I saw the Rosetta Stone in person and lots of other Ancient Egyptian artefacts, I am hugely interested in Ancient Egyptian history and culture so that was actually just so amazing! It was crazy to see this small slab amidst the huge sculptures and tablets and to know that without that stone we would know nothing about the culture. The whole exhibition wouldn't exist! I've wanted to go The British Museum since I was a young-un. Alas Brendan Fraser was nowhere to be found in the Egyptian exhibition. This saddened me.

 Black cardigan 12.99 Euro H&M
Plain black t-shirt £3.50 Matalan
Skirt 12 Euro on sale in New Look
Hair clip 2.50 Euro Primark
Silver Cross 8 Euro Claire's Accessories
Lace Scarf 3.00 Primark
Ripped tights in two pack for around 3.00 Euro Primark- ripped by me
Docs-As above

And now just some photos of some things that I picked up over there.

MUA eyeshadows- £1 each. Can't go wrong!
The purple looks pink but it's quite purple in person, very vibrant!  

Since I'm so pale I have a hard time finding foundations to match my skin tone, the palest shades generally make me look slightly yellow or worse-orange!! My MAC studio fix in NC15 has a yellow tint to it so I wanted a white foundation to tone it down. I decided to go for an expensive option and bought Illamasqua Skin Base in white for £25. I didn't think I'd be anywhere that sold Stargazer foundation so I figured what the hell. Of course the very next day we happened across a shop which did sell Stargazer! Oh well, I'm extremely happy with the Skin Base.

The top shows the MAC on its own
The middle shows the Illamasqua on its own
The bottom shows the two mixed together!
(I'm still playing around with amounts but as you can see it really tones it down)

And last but not least, meet Cat-ula. He is fluffy and delightful. Oh yes. And only £4. Feckin bargain. The shop I rescued him from was playing really awful music. He was happy to leave! 

I hope you enjoyed the read/pictures!

Till next time my dears!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Pop-up Dracula Review!

Well hello there lovelies, I hope you are all enjoying the October month and are well!

A while ago I bought the cutest thing ever, a pop-up book version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. It struck me as something that others would be interested in so I opted to do a short review!

Since its a pop-up book I got a lot of comments from people about my age (I'm 22). Yes it's a pop-up book but it's adult friendly! 

So it's all about aesthetics, is it prettiful to look at? Yes, yes it is. The front cover is simple but effective, featuring a blue-tinted bat flying away from Castle Dracula. The castle is drenched in shadow and is perched atop a grey hill. I'd be lying if I said that the front cover wasn't an important factor in my decision to buy this book! Each double page features one main graphic pop up and two smaller collections of pop-ups, one on the left and one on the right. The artwork is fantastic and it's really quite delighful to watch the story unfold (hehe pun) through this medium.

One of my favourite things about this book is the section which shows the drama in the Demeter ship. There is a movable ship wheel and the Captains diary entry is written on a mini pop-up book (a pop-up book inside a pop-up book, minds be blown). You can even turn the pages! Stand out pop-ups include the one of the wolf leaping from The Demeter, a crazy Lucy clutching a baby in the graveyard and Johnathon staking the Count through the heart.

Which leads us to the next issue. Does it remain true to the novel? Well, no. There are changes. Johnathon does not stake Dracula in the novel, rather he gets him in the neck with his knife. It is Quincy Morris (such a dashing name) who manages to stab the Count through the heart!

One change which I'm not keen on is the fact that Renfield isn't in it. I love Refield, he's the coolest loon ever. Even when Buffy tackled the Dracula thing they had Xander assume the role of the bug loving nutter. Peter MacNiol makes an awesome Renfield in Dracula Dead and Loving it.  Renfield should be in everything. 

Also some of the pop-ups don't really open fully and when they do, they don't close fully. The side pop-ups are a little confusing- they should be read from back to front and not from front to back! 

Wolf pop-up

In all honesty though, it's still well worth picking up. It adds something different to the story due to it's pop-up form and it is a highly enjoyable read. The faults I list are tiny in comparison to how much win this book is made of! You can buy it from Amazon here

On the topic of vampires, check out my vampire mirror poster thing. It was 1 euro in a Euro2 shop. Despite being made of plastic, it is surprisingly non-tacky looking. I loves it.

Come back soon-same cat channel, same cat time!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Dark Arts: Erlend Mork.

Today's post is on the surrealist photographer, Erlend Mork. Mork hails from Norway and is all kinds of awesome! He uses digital photography techniques to create his dark and, well, surreal artwork. It is definitely the kind of thing I think some of my followers could jive to! 

Mork's work is highly reminiscent of H.R. Giger's bio-mechanical style and he quotes Giger as an inspiration.

Mork writes that he is influenced by philosophy and by the idea of looking beyond everyday life as it first appears to us. His work is the symbolic representation of his reflections on these kinds of existential questions. Apparently. So, essentially, it's lovely and dark- just the way we like it. Isolation is a recurrent theme in his work, fuelled by his view that humans are all isolated in one way or another in real life. The creatures in his work are often shown to be mad, lost and isolated as they attempt to seek objective truth in a world in which reality is subjective and relative. 

One of the interesting things about this gentleman is the extent to which he rejects the idea that understanding him and his life is important in order to understand his work. His bio page on his official website (linked here) states: 
'Please don't ask about my biographical irrelevancies. They are more boring than the white pages.' 

I like his no-nonsense approach. According to one interview I read, he always seeks to use metaphors which resonate with everyone rather than relying on obscure metaphors accessible to only a few. You gotta appreciate that! 

Below is a YouTube video of his work. I recommend playing this video alongside Mortelles Illusions by Asphyxia, which I have also linked below for your convenience. 

Goes nicely with 

Enjoy! :)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Solemn Novena.

Before I begin this post I just want to say ahead of time that I intend to change the title of my blog from 'The Phantom Cat's Guide to Gothic Ireland' to 'The Phantom Cat's Otherworld'.  Like in the next two days. So when you see a post under this blog title in your dashboard you will know that it's me! Why the change? Well, I want a less formal and altogether more general feel to the blog. I don't want to be limited by my title. Thus change shall be born! 

I also want to say thank you to all of my followers and welcome to the newest ones! :)

Moving forth. I'm going to do a piece on a lovely gothic rock band that formed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, many moons ago. I have yet to do a musical piece so I figured it was time to fix that!

Solemn Novena formed in 2006 and later split in 2010. The band consisted of Louise Crane on vocals (such pretty vocals), Marc McCourt on guitar and vocals and Stuart Harland on guitar. Google won't give me answers so I've decided that their drummer, bassist and keyboardist were actually tiny tiny musical bunnies. Dressed in well pressed black clothing. And teeny teeny hats. 

The band's biography on their facebook page states that, among other things, 'after forming a sordid clichéd love triangle in 2006, screwing around and getting bored... the only thing left to do was to form a band...'

Cool buzz.

The band lists The Cult, The Smiths, The Cure , Rosetta Stone, Curve and Lush as inspirational artists. 

They released their 5 track EP 'As Darkness Falls' in 2006 and their first album 'Kiss the Girls' was released in 2010. 

Add the digital single Silver to that list and that's the bands discography, which is a real shame because they made gorgeous music when they were together! I was drawn to them because their sound is haunting, atmospheric and steady (steady music is important to me, I think its why I LOVE industrial/aggrotech/E.B.M and HATE dubstep). Solemn Novena's music is really easy to listen to but it still feels deep and layered. 

Listen if you like: Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu and The Sisters of Mercy. 

Turn your ear towards:

As Darkness Falls.

Trick or Treat


Also, I joined Tumblr. If anyone else here uses it, add me! I don't really understand what I'm meant to be doing on it. I find the format very strange. I'm just reblogging the nicest pictures I see?!! Click here for my profile! There are some bat photos in it for you. 

Until next time! 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Samhain Games.

Hello there my dears, I hope you are all well. This next post is on Celtic Samhain games, I hope that you all enjoy it.

Samhain was the night during which the veil between this world and the Otherworld was at its thinnest- spirits roamed the streets and magic was at its most potent. (I actually did a post on Samhain a while ago, available here). It was fairly standard to stay at home, avoiding malevolent spirits and danger. As a result, games were a popular way to spend one's time. Of course what with it being Samhain, divination games were a favourite activity. I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you!

Divining the weather was quite popular. If you stepped outside your house at midnight and the moon was covered in clouds, it meant that there would be a lot of rain in the coming months. In fairness, I doubt they needed to look at the moon to figure that one out, it's ALWAYS raining here! ;)
A cloud covered moon meant rainy times were ahead
Click for source, Labelled for reuse under Creative Commons.

There was also a fondness for predicting health, marriages and luck. One practice was to throw nuts into a fire. If they burned brightly then you would definitely be alive in twelve months. If they flared brightly then you would find yourself married in twelve months!

Rocks were marked with one's initials and thrown into a fire. If they could not be retrieved or were damaged then this spelled (hehe pun) bad luck for the thrower. 

The tradition of bobbing for apples originated from Celtic times apparently. Apples would be set floating in water and young unmarried folk would attempt to ensnare an apple with their teeth. The first to take a bite would be the next person to marry. It also brought good luck! 

It was also commonplace to melt lead into a cup and to interpret the resulting shapes as signs and/or omens of things to come.

On a Halloween related note, check out my make-up bag. I'v had this since I was ten but have only started using it as a make-up bag today. I don't know why I never thought of it before! :)

Some house-keeping stuff. After dwelling on it for a while I changed my URL from gothicireland to It hasn't caused me any problems and my content and followers remain unaffected, does anyone know of any issues which may arise further down the line? Is there something I'm missing? I know I have broken links but I can live with that. I'm going to change the title from The Phantom Cat's Guide to Gothic Ireland to 'The Phantom Cat's Otherworld'. I decided that it was a bad idea to limit myself with the original title, I just wanted to say it here so that people still know it's me.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Birthday Massacre Interview.

This is  just a mini-post linking you to an interview with The Birthday Massacre. It was done with Neuweltmusic which is an Irish publication.

Hope ya'll enjoy.

Click for source. Labelled for reuse under Creative Commons.

Origins of the Jack O' Lantern

A turnip Jack O' Lantern.
Click for source. Labelled for reuse under
Creative Commons

Hello dear reader and welcome to my second post on Irish Halloween traditions. This time around I'm writing about Jack O' Lanterns!
I'm pretty excited to share this because it's such a cool little Irish story.

Once upon a time there lived a rather unruly character by the name of Stingy Jack. He was a terrible drunk and had a penchant for playing tricks on his family, friends and neighbours. One day Jack met the devil and struck up an interesting bargain. As you do. 

There are many variations of his encounter with the devil. One states that he managed to trap the devil up an apple tree and wouldn't let him down until he promised not to take Jack's soul upon his death. The devil agreed and Jack let him down. Another story claims that Jack convinced the devil to turn himself into a sixpence coin as part of one of Jack's pranks on the locals. Jack put the coin in his wallet beside a cross which trapped the devil in his new monetary form. Jack let the devil go once he promised not to take his soul when his day of death arrived. 

Eventually Jack died and when he got to heaven he was refused entry on grounds that he had lived a terrible life. The devil kept his promise not to let Jack into hell and so he was trapped in the infinite darkness between heaven and hell without a light. The devil gave Jack an ember from hell to light his path and Jack carved out the inside of a turnip and place the ember inside, forever doomed to wander earth as a homeless ghoul. 

Before pumpkins were used, Jack O Lanterns were carved using turnips in order to keep Stingy Jack and other evil spirits away. Potatoes (naturally) and beets were also used. When Irish immigrants went to American during the 1800's they brought the tradition of the Jack O' Lantern with them. However once they discovered pumpkins they realised that they were easier to carve than turnips and so the contemporary tradition of pumpkin carving was born! 

Last year's pumpkins.
The RIP one was made by my lovely sister and the Cylon Centurion one was made by me.
That was a fun day! :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Irish Study on Bullying.

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Hey guys and welcome to my second post today. This one is on a sad topic, namely that of bullying. A study was recently carried out in Trinity College Dublin which 'revealed' that those of alternative subcultures are more likely to be bullied and that those of non alternative subcultures are usually those responsible. This study was carried out by the psychology department in TCD and is the first study of its kind to be undertaken in Ireland. 

The paper recommends that schools focus on forms of bullying which target individuals based on how they look or the groups they identify with and belong to.

Whilst it's extremely difficult not to be exasperated at the fact that such a study is only being done now, it is progress nonetheless. Although it's fairly obvious stuff to most of us, having it in writing is a definite step forward. Hopefully the message of this study will be carried throughout anti-bullying week (this week in Ireland) and schools will begin to understand the need to promote tolerance and diversity. Only time will tell. I'm quite cynical, Ireland often seems to be a country which is slow to accept change. I could be/hope I'm wrong. I think it would be good for schools to set up projects which are aimed at acceptance and understanding, even if it's just an essay or something.

From an early age children here are taught that it's wrong to be racist, sexist and prejudiced towards members of the travelling community so there should be no difficulty in teaching that discrimination against subcultures is unacceptable. Of course racism, sexism and prejudice towards travellers still exists today. I've been a victim of sexist attitudes several times personally as have many of my female friends. I've been treated like an idiot because I'm a woman and like a leper because I'm a goth. I can honestly say that any study promoting tolerance and diversity in Ireland is a step forward. I'm just hesitant to jump for joy when I think of the Irish attitude towards change and alternative people.

What do you think of this report dear reader? Has something similar been done where you live? Do I sound too cynical?! I would love to hear from ya'll!

Until next time.

Celtic Samhain!

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Hey guys!

First off I just want to say thank you to all of my followers I hope you all enjoy my posts- both old and future! x :D

Secondly, happy October everyone! It's finally getting colder here in the Emerald Isle which is fantastic. Soon it'll be time to don my long sexy winter coat and layer like nobody's buisness!

Now, what with it being October I decided to do a post on Halloween. Of course being an Otherworldly Phantom Cat I decided to do a post on the Irish origins of Halloween, i.e. the Celtic day of Samhain. I am aware that Halloween has been linked to many other holidays in many other countries but many of the traditions can be traced back to Ireland! I don't want to get into any religious stuff here because there is a lot of controversy surrounding the Christian influences on Halloween as it is practised today. Suffice to day that the Celtic holiday of Samhain is a pretty damned important precursor to Halloween! 

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In Ancient Ireland the year was divided into two seasons, Beltaine on May 1st and Samhain on November 1st. Each was celebrated with a harvest. Samhain marked the end of the lighter half of the year and the beginning of the darker half. It was the last harvest, a time of death and rebirth and a time to honour one's ancestors. It was celebrated from sundown on October 31st through until the last hours of November 1st.

The Celts believed that the veil between this world and the Otherworld (my crib, miaow) was at its thinnest at Samhain and that spirits roamed the earth freely on this night. Those who had died since the last Oiche Shamhna (Samhain night) were thought to pass to the other side during Samhain. Folks would leave food on their doorsteps as offerings to appease any malevolent spirits and as gifts for the kinder ones. People wore masks to disguise themselves as evil spirits so that they would be unharmed by those nasty ghosties roaming the fields and paths. People also lit huge bonfires to ward off evil ghosts and to guide good spirits on their way. 

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The hill of Tlachtga, just twelve miles away from the famous Hill of Tara in Co. Meath, was the site of the very important Fire Festival. This festival signalled the onset of Winter. All other fires were extinguished and after sundown a huge ceremonial fire was lit on Tlachtga. Torches were lit from this fire and carried to seven other sacred hill, including the Hill of Tara.

Divination was a hugely important element of Samhain and was an intrinsic part of the celebrations at Tlachtga. Methods used include throwing bones, casting the Celtic Ogham, reading tea leaves and reading twigs and rocks. Since the boundary between this world and the next was at its thinnest on this night, Celtic druids sought to read the future by tapping into the mystical energies coursing freely on Samhain.

On Samhain preparations were made for winter in Celtic Ireland. Animals were brought in from the fields and those too weak to survive winter were slaughtered and eaten. Berries, corns and fruits had to be harvested before the onset of winter. According to one article I read there was a belief that foods became bewitched at the beginning of November and couldn't be eaten. Also there are stories of a beast known as a Pooka- a big black scary horse with red eyes said to roam the earth at Samhain kidnapping people (the thought of which I find kind of hilarious, is that weird?!). Alternatively if the Pooka was a bit friendlier he would divine your future. A Pooka is an Irish hobgoblin and the most feared of all the fairy creatures. He appears in several forms including horses, goats and ponies. This was also the night to kill that pesky Banshee of yours or to visit your local fairy hotspot for a tour of their otherwise invisible gaff (Irish slang for house).

That's just some basic history on the Irish Celtic Samhain! Over the coming weeks I will be posting many many more pieces on this topic including Samhain games, foods, traditions, rituals, animals, creatures and maybe even songs- if I can find some of those Samhain songs that we learned in school when I was about ten.

Until then guys! :)

A Halloween tradition of our own here at home. So delicious!