Ghost Stories from Edinburgh

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Off to Edinburgh, Scotland for the third installment in the October Ghost Story Series. I decided to hold off for another week on my own hometown spooky tale.

Ah Edinburgh, my favorite city in the world. The capital of Scotland, this magical city offers much to enchant the visitor. With its charming cobblestone streets, medieval castle and historical stone buildings, Old Town delights while it hides a few secrets.

Check out these ghost stories from Edinburgh.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh title meme

Edinburgh’s Long History

This city, nicknamed Auld Reekie, possesses a long, colorful history full of acts of bravery and the macabre. A center for education, philosophy, arts, literature, science and engineering, Edinburgh typically attracts millions of visitors a year. In fact, it is the second most visited city in the UK, right behind London.

Ghost hunters considered it a hot spot for paranormal activity. That’s not surprising considering its history that spans thousands of years and the labyrinth of passageways and rooms hidden beneath the streets and bridges of Old Town. I find the energy of Edinburgh electrifying and interesting, rather than frightening or dark.

“Scotland incorporates magic so thoroughly into its everyday life that the official national animal is the unicorn and its capital city, Edinburgh, counts “being haunted” among its local industries.” Unknown

Check out these five tales. And as a three time visitor to Edinburgh, I’ll share a couple of my own ghostly encounters.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh unicorn
Magical Scotland claims the unicorn as its national animal so you know anything can happen here!

Greyfriars Kirkyard

This kirkyard, Scottish for churchyard or cemetery, is known to house a number of ghosts. Among the most famous, and on opposite ends of the scary spectrum, are Greyfriars Bobby and Bloody MacKenzie.

Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby is the small Skye Terrier dog that loyally remained at his owner’s grave, long after the man passed away. For 14 years the pup stayed nearby, surviving due to the kindness of the fine people of Edinburgh, until he too died and was buried in the kirkyard. Today visitors wandering in the kirkyard tell of hearing a small dog barking, near Bobby’s grave, when no dog is present. It seems that Bobby guards his owner’s resting place still.

Bloody MacKenzie

And then there is the more frightening ghost of the man called Bloody MacKenzie. A wealthy lord and lawyer, George MacKenzie punished thousands of Scots in the late 1600s, who refused to change their religion to the national one. It’s believed he’s personally responsible for more than 18,000 gruesome deaths, earning him the name Bloody MacKenzie.

MacKenzie rests in his mausoleum in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Or at least, he did until his tomb was disturbed by a homeless man who broke in late one night. The frightened man fell through the floor of the mausoleum, into a mass grave filled with plague victims from centuries before.

Since that night, MacKenzie prowls the graveyard. And although his mausoleum is closed to the public, ghost tours routinely take people inside. More than 450 people claim vicious attacks occurred, from an invisible assailant, while they were inside the building. Injuries include bruises, burns, scratches, lacerations and even broken bones. One woman passed out when unseen hands strangled her.

Others report hearing strange noises near the mausoleum or feeling nauseated as they walk by it. An exorcism was attempted at the mausoleum, in 2000, by minister Colin Grant. He claimed he felt the torment of hundreds of souls and the presence of evil. He left Greyfriars Kirkyard, distressed, and died a few weeks later of a heart attack.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh MacKenzie Mausoleum
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Bloody MacKenzie’s mausoleum

Grassmarket

Every medieval town used a square for public executions. This is true for Edinburgh as well. Nestled in the heart of Old Town, with fine views of nearby Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket’s history includes a dark side.

Hundreds of criminals and people accused of witchcraft died there, up until 1886.

As you might imagine, especially for those labeled as witches, many people were innocent of their supposed crimes. Women thought to practice witchcraft suffered sleep deprivation until they finally confessed to crimes they did not do. As a result, the punishment was hanging or worse, burning alive.

Those innocents now haunt the Grassmarket area, sighing and sobbing over their unjust deaths.

Additionally, the White Hart Inn, located in Grassmarket, is one of Edinburgh’s oldest, and most haunted pubs. Parts of the pub date back to 1516. Paranormal activity there includes accounts of hair pulling, bottle throwing and apparitions captured in photos. Staff often hear footsteps upstairs, after the bar closes, and ghost hunters recorded a voice in that space saying “help me”.

Pub visitors also report seeing a pair of detached legs walking about and a ghost that hovers in the center of the cellar.

Historically, the murdering duo Burke and Hare lured victims away from the pub and killed them nearby. And a prostitute died in the pub in the 1800s.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh Grassmarket
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Grassmarket

Haunted Tolbooth Tavern

On the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s Canongate area is home to one of the city’s iconic buildings, the Tolbooth. Dating back to 1591, tolls were collected here, from people traveling into the city.

The building housed an administrative center, courthouse and a prison before transforming into a pub in 1820.

Several ghosts, possibly the spirits of former prisoners, create havoc in the Tolbooth Tavern. Their antics include knocking pictures off the walls, flinging drinks from the tables and making banging and knocking noises.

Pub visitors report seeing ghosts dressed in old fashioned military uniforms. Historians speculate they are the departed spirits of jailer James Park and his assistant, who found themselves incarcerated in their own prison after helping prisoners escape.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh Canongate Tolbooth
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Tolbooth Tavern

Mary King’s Close

In Edinburgh, closes are narrow covered alleyways that branch off the Royal Mile. Mary King’s Close is named after a merchant burgess who resided on the close in the 17th century. Many people shared the close with Mary, packed into tall buildings. With no proper sewer system in the city, residents dumped waste into the streets, which attracted rats.

Those rats carried diseases such as the bubonic plague to the inhabitants, bringing death to Mary King’s Close. Legend says that the close was walled up, leaving the tenants to die horribly. In reality, the people were cared for as well as they could be, for those times. Many people died in the close, regardless of which story is true. The last occupant of Mary King’s Close moved out in 1902 and the area was sealed up.

The close lay abandoned and inaccessible for many years, buried beneath the Royal Exchange. Stories of hauntings began after workers reopened the area when they drilled down into the close accidently. The site is a popular tourist attraction today.

Annie’s Room

One of the most famous ghosts in the close is Annie. In 1992 a Japanese psychic picked up on feelings of hunger, sadness and pain inside a room. The psychic spoke to the ghost of a young girl named Annie, who claimed she was abandoned during the plague and died in the room. She said she couldn’t find her doll.

Feeling sad for Annie, the psychic purchased a new doll for the girl. Since that day, visitors from around the world honor Annie and try to make her happy by bringing her dolls, toys and jewelry. First responders such as police officers and firemen leave their badges as a sign of respect.

People that enter Annie’s Room report feeling inexplicable cold spots and claim a little hand grabs theirs.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh Mary Kings Close
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – Mary King’s Close and Annie’s Room

Edinburgh Castle

High atop a volcanic rock, Edinburgh Castle perches majestically above the city. Surrounded by tall granite walls that shield 900 years of history, many ghosts supposedly haunt the castle grounds.

There’s the young piper who, two hundred years ago, set off to explore the castle’s hidden passageways that lead to the Royal Mile. He played his bagpipes so that people above ground knew his location. The music suddenly stopped and the boy disappeared without a trace. His body was never found but the haunting sounds of his bagpipe echo beneath the castle.

In the dungeons, a headless drummer boy wanders about. And a group of French soldiers, captured during the  Seven Years War, often make appearances in the dungeons as well.

Other activity includes shadowy figures walking around, sudden temperature drops and unseen hands tugging on shirt sleeves and trousers.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh castle
Ghost stories from Edinburgh – the castle

My Own Ghost Stories from Edinburgh

I visited Edinburgh in 2014, 2017 and 2019. On two of those three visits, I experienced my own supernatural encounters.

Haunted Vaults

In 2014, two of my cousins and I explored Edinburgh’s underground on the Haunted Vaults Tour. Experienced primarily in the dark, with only the guide’s lantern for illumination, the vaults are extremely creepy. After leaving one of the vaults, the tour guide stopped talking as we all heard a loud crash from the dark room we’d just left. We all crept back into the room where she shone her light around, looking for the source of the sound. Nothing appeared out of order and no explanation for the noise was discovered. As I stood in the deep shadows at the back of the room, I felt a small cold hand take my right one. Surprised I turned to look. No one stood next to me on my right. I continued to feel that hand holding mine until we left the next room.

Shadow Figure in the Apartment

And in 2019, my sister and I shared a cute renovated apartment for the duration of our stay in Edinburgh. The building, hundreds of years old, formerly housed offices.

We experienced several instances of electrical things turning off on their own but we shrugged them off. However, one night, after a long day of walking in the city, I struggled to fall asleep. Restlessness overtook me. I began to hear popping noises in the kitchen and then the dining area and finally the living room. For me, restlessness and popping sounds are signs that spirit is with me.

Peering into the dimly lit living room, through the bedroom door, I saw the dark figure of a man walk by. He headed toward the window on the far side of the room, then suddenly changed directions and walked to the bedroom door. As I watched, the shadowy figure stopped at the door and looked around before turning away and disappearing. We slept with a light on in the living room, after that, so I could see better if the shadow man returned. He didn’t appear again.

However, I woke up a couple of mornings later, with two small burns on my left forearm, that weren’t there when I went to bed. I have no explanation for how I received those burns.

Will I visit Edinburgh again? Absolutely! I love this city with all my heart and I’d happily stay in the same apartment. For me, the veil between this world and the spirit world is thin. That fact no longer stops me from exploring and experiencing the world.

Ghost Stories from Edinburgh - burns
Unexplainable burns while in Edinburgh

More Ghost Stories

Check out these stories from Ireland and Italy:

Ghost Stories from Dublin

Ghost Stories from Venice

Do you have a ghost story to share? Add it to the comments below!

Ghosts Stories from Edinburgh group photo
Group photo in Greyfriars Kirkyard

 


 

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Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

Weeks away from the next major holiday, I did something I’ve never done before. I decorated for Halloween. While I always switch my front porch and house decor to fall in early September, I typically don’t add in Halloween decorations. That’s a bit surprising, since Halloween is big in my family and I even have a grandchild who shares her birthday with the holiday.

However, this year I received an add on box from Decocrated, full of cute Halloween pieces. What fun! I’m decorating for Halloween with Decocrated and loving the mix of holiday and fall decor.

Check out how I freshened up my home for Halloween.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated title meme

Decocrated Add On Boxes

Decocrated Curated Home is a home decor subscription box company. Their boxes ship out four times a year. Each box contains seven to eight curated seasonal items. Check out my fall box review.

I’ve now completed a full year of Decocrated boxes, as I started with the winter box last year. It’s like Christmas four times a year! I love receiving the boxes, which come right to my front door, and discovering what’s inside.

As a bonus, those who subscribe with a seasonal box or a yearly subscription have the opportunity to purchase add on boxes for $39.00. What a bargain! The Halloween box is my first add on and I love it. See how I included the fun pieces in my fall decor.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated small bookshelf
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – the small bookshelf

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated

I incorporated the Decocrated Halloween pieces in three areas of my home, expanding on the fall decor already there or swapping out items. Since I leave fall decorations up until right after Thanksgiving, I can either remove the Halloween pieces after the holiday or simply leave them up until I switch to Christmas in late November.

The Small Bookcase

I decorated the top of this small bookcase for fall, featuring pieces from Decocrated.  Leaving that shelf as is, I focused on decorating the rest of the bookcase, in a mix of fall and Halloween pieces.

On the second shelf I added the rustic wood and wire shelf, tucking in a tiny fall pillow, a pumpkin and the additional wooden sign from the Decocrated fall box. Greg attached two small screws to the back of the sign to act as hangers. A candle with a metal shade and a fabric pillow, all resting on a buffalo plaid cloth, complete shelf two.

I filled the third shelf with a cute fabric basket and a plump pillow. The basket, a gift from my grandchildren, holds pumpkins and a string of wooden beads. The pillow cover, with the words “I PUT A SPELL ON YOU”, comes from  the Decocrated Halloween box.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated spell
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – I Put a Spell on You pillow cover
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated tall bookshelf
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – tall bookcase

Tall Bookcase

Typically, this bookcase receives a makeover twice a year…for Christmas and after that holiday, an everyday look. I had fun decorating it for fall and Halloween, thanks to Decocrated!

Top Shelf

The top shelf shows off a collection of potion bottles from the Halloween box, partnered up with the teal and orange pumpkins from the fall box. On the other end, a wire cloche holds orange, gray and white mini pumpkins. The Halloween tabletop art is from the Halloween box. And the white jar candle and striped linen both came from Target.

I left the postcard art from Italy on the wall, after considering whether to remove it or not. I decided the postcard colors work well with the fall and Halloween decor.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated potions
These resin potion bottles are so cute!
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated boo
I love the small tabletop art. Boo!

Second Shelf

While the top shelf features a mix of fall colors, the second shelf uses typical Halloween colors of orange and black.

The black metal lanterns are my favorite items from the Halloween box. They look so pretty with tea light candles glowing from within. Plus they will work well during other seasons. I’m using a lot of black and white buffalo plaid for Christmas this year so these lanterns will stay out. The “haunted” sign comes from Michael’s while the black and orange linen is a bandana from Target. I used a small box beneath the cloth, as a riser for the large lantern.

On the other end of the shelf, the art print in the frame is from the fall box. I found the trio of cardboard books at Target and the small black vase is a Hobby Lobby find. The black key, a nod to my symbol for this year, is from Michael’s. I snipped off strands from a garland of orange beads to tuck into the vase.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated haunted
Love these metal lanterns!
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated art print
Double Double Toil and Trouble art print is from the fall box.

Third Shelf

A vintage looking teal tray holds an assortment of items, from a stack of Celtic books to cinnamon scented pods to fall candle holders. All of these items are from my stash of decor. I love how the Decocrated items easily mix with what I already own.

The black lantern on the other end is from the spring Decocrated box. That’s the other thing I appreciate. Decocrated items from different seasons mix together well. A stack of pumpkins rests on a fall candle ring in the lantern.

Not shown…the fourth shelf holds a shadow box with tickets and a print from a Dracula Ballet performance and candles in a long metal holder.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated 3rd shelf
A mix of items decorate the third shelf.

Dining Room Table

And for my feature spot, on the round dining room table, I swapped out fall decor for similar items with more of a Halloween feel.

The wooden crate, from the fall box, gets refreshed with white and black and white buffalo plaid mini pumpkins. Decorating tip: rather than fill the whole crate with pumpkins, I stuffed the bottom of the crate with wadded up plastic shopping bags, covered those with a black and white plaid cloth and THEN added the mini pumpkins.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated moon
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – wooden crate gets refreshed

I replaced the colorful felt garland around the black metal candle ring, also from the fall box, with a burlap and black and white fabric garland. White tapers went into the candle ring, replacing the orange ones from fall. The Hocus Pocus tabletop sign in the middle of the ring is from Target and it’s perfect!

The little photo holder gets a new double sided art print, from the Halloween box. One side says “It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus” while the other side says “Trick or Treat”. I like both sides, so I switch it around every few days.

The black and white table runner is from the fall box and the orange jar candle comes from Target.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated candle ring
Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated – candle ring from the fall box

I really love the black and white Halloween theme on the table. The photo holder, one side of the art print and the jar candle bring in pops of orange. With the lights off and candles lit, this whole vignette seems to glow in the dark.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated dining table decor
Dining room table vignette

Decocrated Subscription Boxes

Isn’t the Halloween decor fun? I loved mixing it in with the fall pieces for a fresh holiday look. Granddaughter Aubrey, my Halloween birthday girl, walked through my house over the weekend, looking at my decor. She gave it a thumbs up.

Would you like to receive these amazing boxes to your front door? You can!

The fall box AND the Halloween box are sold out, and no surprise. The quality is excellent and the items work well with all styles of decor. Each person can tell their own unique decorating story, with a little help from Decocrated.

The WINTER box is on sale NOW. And with the purchase of the winter box, or a yearly subscription, the Easter add on box becomes available. Don’t miss out!

Use this link, DECOCRATED, and type in my codes for a discount. Use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 to save $10 off a seasonal box. OR use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 to get $30 off a yearly subscription. Then watch for an email about purchasing an add on box, if you want one.

I’ve received so much joy from this company’s subscription boxes. Opening up these boxes immediately fires up my creativity and my playful side happily takes over.

I look forward to creating with the winter and Christmas boxes.

Decorating for Halloween with Decocrated trick or treat
The dining room vignette with the Trick or Treat side of the art print.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Practicing Self Gratitude

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Gratitude is the quality of thankfulness and the readiness to show appreciation for kindness. Expressing gratitude on a daily basis can shift life in powerful ways. I know. I’ve experienced how life changing gratitude is.

About ten years ago, during the process of facing lifelong fears and moving beyond them, I recognized the role gratitude plays in raising quality of life. What I learned is just like there is a connection between loving oneself and loving others, there is a similar connection between expressing gratitude for self and feeling gratitude for other things.

We find it difficult to love others, unconditionally and without expectations, if we can’t love ourselves first. And equally difficult, feeling genuine gratitude for others and for life challenges us if we can’t feel gratitude first for who we are.

In fact, I’ve found that practicing self gratitude helps us to more easily love ourselves, raise our vibrational energy and then love and appreciate others.

Signs That Self Gratitude is Lacking

How do we know if self gratitude is an issue? We experience the following:

  • discouragement, frustration, anger
  • negative thoughts and emotions about ourselves and others
  • refusal to look into a mirror
  • dislike of being in photos
  • criticism of self
  • dislike or hate of self
  • putting self down or making negative jokes about self
  • difficulty coming up with anything to express gratitude for
  • criticism of others, especially when they remind us of ourselves

A common  gratitude practice involves listing things we feel thankful for. When the page remains blank because nothing comes to mind or only a few items make the list, then a deeper issue needs attention. It truly is hard to feel grateful for others or for blessings when we can’t summon gratitude for who we are and what we offer.

I discovered, while working through issues with fear, that the biggest fear I had was fully accepting and appreciating myself, gifts, quirks and all. Fear of shining as my true self kept me small, especially since I’d worked my whole life to keep parts of myself hidden away.

I found a natural progression of acceptance of self, gratitude for self and finally love for self. That inner work changed my life and created a different outer world. Creativity ramped up. Opportunities presented themselves. Doors opened.

Practicing Self Gratitude art
One of the results of practicing self gratitude is an increase in creativity. Book art that I created, about my journey.

Self Acceptance and Self Gratitude Go Together

It’s difficult to experience self gratitude before completely accepting self first. And look, that doesn’t mean we can’t change. In fact, I thrive brilliantly on that delicate tension between accepting who I am at this moment and constantly shifting and changing who I am as I grow.

Start with fully accepting who you are. Do a “this is me” list of all of your characteristics, your abilities and your gifts. Then add those quirky things about yourself that others may not understand. Finally add the things that you’ve been taught are too much or not enough. These are the characteristics that make you unique, even if others don’t appreciate them. And don’t forget physical characteristics…those you like and those you don’t.

My list included a wide array of qualities such as “loves people” and yet, equally true, “distrusts individuals”. And “loyal” and “stubborn” both made the list as did “tends to follow the rules” and “longs for freedom to make my own rules”. For me, the most difficult part of myself to appreciate was my intuitive side. I’m sensitive to energy, empathic, psychic and I experience those who have passed on. Yes, I know when dead people are around and my spider sense brings me all kinds of information that I don’t always want.

I came to accept and appreciate all aspects of myself. You can too. Go back through your list and genuinely accept everything about who you are…your appearance, your abilities, your strengths and your weaknesses. Tell yourself, “This is me. This is who I am.”

Practicing Self Gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a wonderful part of practicing self gratitude.

Discovering Self Gratitude

It may take days, weeks, months of work to fully accept yourself. However, it’s worth the effort and time. YOU are worth the effort and time. The healing that it brings to the heart is powerful. After living with a divided and fractured heart for so long, creating a whole heart felt unbelievably healthy. And, I found that I needed a whole heart…what I considered my “normal” side and my “weird side”…to fully live as the person I am meant to be. It’s that important.

Now go back through your extensive list and express gratitude for all those things about yourself that you accept. Start each sentence with “I am grateful for…” and fill in the blank. “I am grateful for…my courage to do hard things…my green eyes…my love of plants.”

If you get stuck on a characteristic, back up and remind yourself that “this is me” and go deeper into acceptance.

I could physically feel my heart changing as I practiced self gratitude for the first time. Tears came to my eyes and it felt like I could finally take a deep, deep breath.

At the time of this work, I’d suffered for more than ten years with constant pain due to sciatica. I especially struggled with my left leg. Accepting what was, at that time, and feeling gratitude and appreciation for all that leg did to walk and move in pain, helped. Eventually I discovered freedom from pain through a plant based lifestyle. However, I expressed gratitude often for my body and left leg, even through the most challenging times. Did that stop me from seeking healing? No. I could express gratitude for my wayward leg and still desire healing and make the changes that delivered it.

Practicing Self Gratitude quote

Practicing Self Gratitude

Practicing self gratitude is an ongoing journey. It’s not a do it once and you are done thing.

Include these self gratitude practices in your life:

  • begin the day with gratitude for self “I am grateful for my strength…the opportunity to work today…my creative ideas.”
  • express gratitude throughout the day
  • shift negative thoughts immediately and express gratitude. Turn “I am stupid!” into “I am grateful I realized that I made a mistake. I’ll change it.”
  • pause several times a day and simply say, “I am grateful.”
  • create a vision board, full of things about yourself that you feel grateful for
  • reward your accomplishments (not with food, please, unless it’s healthy) with something you enjoy and express gratitude for what you did
  • end the day with gratitude…write a gratitude list or speak your gratitudes aloud

Truly, practicing self gratitude transforms the life. And gratitude then flows outward to others, to all things, to life itself, to God. It becomes easier to appreciate others. Kindness from others is received and rejoiced over and passed on. Blessings multiply. And I’ve found that I can shift anxiety by finding things about the situation to express gratitude for.

My journey in practicing gratitude continues. I learn and grow through the experiences and find that my trust deepens. My gratitude extends to the Divine and throughout each day, during continual conversations with God, my simple prayer is “I am grateful.”

And, I am.

Practicing Self Gratitude cup of tea
I am grateful.

Posts About Fear

Letting Go of What I Fear to Lose

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Gratitude Journals from Amazon:

 


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Ghost Stories from Dublin

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Beautiful Dublin is an enchanting and magical city.  The capital of Ireland, Dublin contains many historic buildings, including a 13th century castle and the stately St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191.

So it’s no surprise that the ancient city offers up more than a few ghost stories and haunted places. Some of those quaint stone buildings on cobblestone streets have darker stories to tell.

During the month of October, when spookiness abounds, I’m excited to present a series of Friday travel posts featuring ghost stories from five different countries. Read along each week, if you dare!

Ghost Stories from Dublin title meme

Bram Stoker

Besides being a city of haunts and ghosts, Dublin gave the world a master of horror, Bram Stoker. Best known for his 1897 gothic novel, Dracula, Stoker drew inspiration from a cemetery near his childhood home. A sickly child, Stoker spent hours on his own, wandering in Ballybough Cemetery. In this graveyard reserved for criminals and suicides, people drove wooden stakes through the victims’ hearts, to make sure they were dead and stayed that way. That grim custom became the origin for killing vampires in Stoker’s famous story.

Bram Stoker’s family owned a crypt in St. Michan’s Church and as a boy, Stoker often visited the below ground vault. Today it houses a collection of mummified bodies that fell out of their coffins as the wood disintegrated. As you might imagine, this vault beneath the church is labeled as haunted.

The next time you visit Dublin, check out these famous, spooky places.

Dublin Castle

This 13th century castle served for centuries as the headquarters for the British administration in Dublin. The castle was the center for invasions, battles, military strategies and countless persecutions. As a result, many people met untimely and often horrific deaths there.

During its early years, under King John of England, the heads of would be invaders were spiked upon the outer wall as a deterrent to enemies. The headless bodies rotted on the ground below. People claim to hear the moans and cries of the victims.

And in the dark dungeons many suffered torture and death for their crimes or their faith. Stories tell of convicted thief Roger de Fynglas and a poor widow who refused to renounce her faith, both left to starve within cells in the dungeon. De Fynglas’ spirit supposedly remains in his cell to this day. And the widow, whose own son imprisoned her, weeps in the dungeon, brokenhearted.

Ghost Stories from Dublin castle
Ghost Stories from Dublin – Dublin Castle

The Green Lady

Considered Dublin’s most famous ghost, the Green Lady haunts the grounds near St. Audoen’s Church, built in 1190. Many people claim to have seen the specter. She is believed to be Dorcas Kelly, executed as a witch for the murder of her unborn child.

The Sheriff of Dublin, Simon Luttrell, put her to death. He was a member of a secret occult group called the Hellfire Club, and supposedly fathered Kelly’s child. Allegedly, Kelly threatened to out Luttrell as a member of the club. The accused woman publicly burned to death at St. Stephen’s Green in 1746.

The Green Lady haunts the area near the bottom of the 40 steps leading to the church. She appears dressed all in green.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Audoens tower
Ghost Stories from Dublin – The Green Lady haunts St Audoen’s grounds. This is St Audeon’s tower.

Ghost Girl in the Shelbourne Hotel

On St. Stephen’s Green, the famous Shelbourne Hotel welcomes guests from around the world. However, one uninvited guest refuses to leave. Built in 1824, the elegant hotel replaced townhouses built along the edge of the Green.

A seven year old girl, Mary Masters, apparently died of cholera. She lived in one of those townhouses. Staff report seeing Mary in the basement while they do laundry or stock the wine cellar. Hotel guests share chilling tales of encountering the ghost girl in their rooms.

One recent guest, an actress working in Dublin on a film, reported a presence in her room, when she awoke in the dark. She heard a giggle and then felt an unexplained breeze across her body, followed by slamming doors. Not finding anyone in her room, she shared her story with staff the next morning and learned about Mary.

Other guests tell of a presence sitting on the bed, the sounds of a small girl crying and invisible touches on the cheek or arms.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Stephens Green
St Stephen’s Green is surrounded by haunted buildings, including the Shelbourne Hotel.

Rubrics Building, Trinity College

Trinity College houses some of Ireland’s precious historical artifacts. It’s also the site for a haunting.

Former college lecturer Edward Ford lived in the Rubrics Building on campus, in 1734. Considered an ill tempered man, he did not appreciate it when a group of rowdy students threw stones at his window. He sought to scatter the students by firing a pistol at them.

The students did disperse, however they sought revenge. The drunken young men returned to their rooms, picked up firearms of their own, and decided to teach Edward Ford a lesson. Although it’s thought they didn’t intend to kill Ford, they fired through his window, mortally wounding him.

Students and staff report seeing a sad man in a powdered wig and Georgian attire wandering around the Rubrics Building.

Ghost Stories from Dublin Trinity College
Ghost Stories from Dublin – Trinity College

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Jonathan Swift, known for his book “Gulliver’s Travels”, was appointed Dean of St. Patrick’s in 1713. He died October 19, 1743 and he’s buried beneath the floor. The cathedral displays Swift’s chair, table and bookcases and two of his death masks.

Swift supposedly haunts two areas, the cathedral itself and the deanery beside the church, where he lived until his death.

The story goes that any worshipper who dares to fall asleep during a sermon might wake up to find an angry Swift looming over him.

And tenants living in the deanery after Swift’s death, up to the present day, tell of sensing a benevolent presence in the house. Some have reported seeing the ghost of an older man slowly climb the stairs to the dean’s bedroom above. At least one later occupant of the house, feeling sure an intruder broke in when he saw the older man, searched the house thoroughly and found no one there.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Patricks Cathedral
Ghost Stories from Dublin – St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

There are many other haunts in Dublin and a wealth of ghost stories. These five are among the most famous. Currently, with COVID travel restrictions, most of the city’s ghost tours are temporarily closed. However, someday, perhaps by next October, visitors will once again walk the narrow streets of Dublin, seeking the paranormal…and finding it.

If you want to experience Dublin’s darker side, in a fun way, try the Gravedigger Ghost Tour.

Do you believe in ghosts? I do. I’ve experienced the supernatural since birth. I’d love to read your spooky stories in the comments below. And watch this space next week, where I’ll offer ghost stories from Italy.

Ghost Stories from Dublin St Patricks clock tower
Ghost Stories from Dublin – St. Patrick’s clock tower.

More Tales from Ireland:

St. Stephen’s Green Dublin

Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar Area


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Fun British Phrases and What They Mean

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One of the things I enjoy when I visit other countries is the accent of the locals.  The Scottish, Irish and British all speak English, and yet they sound very different from each other and from Americans.

Beyond their charming accents, it’s interesting to hear unique words, expressions and colloquialisms common to the region. I’m typically in a country for a day before I begin to understand the dialect enough to respond properly!

I have British kinsmen and friends. I spent three amazing days in London, England on a girls’ trip with family. And those wonderful British shows that I love are sprinkled with colorful language. Thanks to all of these sources, I’ve picked up a few common sayings.

Check out these fun British phrases and what they mean, before your next trip to England.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean title meme

British Words We Know

Most of us know a handful of British phrases, thanks to movies and television, and some even caught on in the US. The loo is the toilet…or as it’s more commonly called in the US, restroom or bathroom. In England a cookie goes by the name biscuit and chips are french fries while the British use the word crisps for chips. And when looking for the elevator in a building, call it the lift.

We use the British word cheers as a drinking toast but not often in place of goodbye or thank you. As we know, a flat is an apartment and a frock a girl’s dress. The word gobsmacked, meaning amazed, crossed the pond 40 years ago. President Obama apparently uses the word.

Mate, as in friend, roundabout, queue and knickers, all words originating from England, are fairly common in the US now too.

British Words and Phrases We May Not Know

See how many of these words and phrases you know!

Anorak

Although it’s more often used as a synonym for a raincoat, an anorak carries a different meaning  in slang.

The geeky person, with strong interests or expertise in a particular niche, is called an anorak. This might originate from the perceived uncool appearance of anorak coats and the people wearing them.

Bagsy

Calling bagsy is the equivalent of calling dibs on something, like riding in the front seat of the car. A kid might call bagsy on food from his friend’s lunch, that the friend isn’t going to eat.

Bender

Someone who goes on a spree of excessive drinking and mischief is on a bender. Benders may last more than 24 hours, so you might hear that someone is on a weekend bender or a three-day bender.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean London Dungeons
Fun British phrases and what they mean – we weren’t on a bender, however this is one of my favorite photos from London! My good natured mom isn’t sure what’s going on!

Bloody

This word, considered a mild curse word, pairs with practically any other word to demonstrate incredulity or anger. I’ve most commonly heard it paired with hell, as in “bloody hell”.

Bob’s Your Uncle

I love this comical phrase! It is the British equivalent to “there you go” or “voila”. The phrase accompanies a process that seems more difficult than it actually is. “Balance on the bicycle, start peddling, and Bob’s your uncle…you’re riding a bike.”

Brolly

Brolly is simply the abbreviated form of umbrella.

Builder’s Tea

A strongly brewed cup of English breakfast tea with milk is called builder’s tea.  It’s common courtesy to offer a builder working on a house builder’s tea, especially during cold weather. This practice most likely originated the phrase.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean Speedys
Fun British phrases and what they mean – Speedy’s in London. I wonder if you can get a builder’s tea there?

Chuffed

When someone feels joyful or pleased with an accomplishment, she is chuffed.

Curtain Twitcher

A nosy neighbor (neighbour in England), spying on what’s going on in her neighborhood from behind a curtained window, is called a curtain twitcher.

Faff or Faffing

To faff is to waste time doing very little. It comes from the 17th century word “faffle” meaning “to flap about in the wind.” If you are hanging out, not really doing anything, you are faffing about.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean tower bridge
Fun British phrases and what they mean – we did NOT do any faffing about while visiting London!

Innit

I’ve heard this phrase a lot. The abbreviation of “isn’t it”, people use innit to get agreement from someone OR to agree with something said. For example, “It’s cold today, innit?”. Or a person says, “It’s cold today” and another answers “Innit.”

Minging

Something unpleasant, unattractive or unappetizing is minging. The word comes from the Scottish slang word “ming”, meaning feces. “What is that you are eating? It’s minging.”

That’s Pants

When someone says “that’s pants” they aren’t referring to trousers. It means rubbish, trash or garbage.

Pea Souper

When fog covers London, especially a yellow or dark fog caused by air pollution, it’s a pea souper. This phrase originated in the 1200s due to the burning of coal, which contributed to heavy, dirty looking fog.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean ripper tour
Fun British phrases and what they mean – it was appropriately dreary on our Jack the Ripper Tour, but not quite a pea souper. We enjoyed this tour.

Poppycock

I think I first heard this British word as a child, while watching a movie. Poppycock comes from two Dutch words, “pap” which means soft and “kak” which translates to dung. It means nonsense or implies an untruth. When someone says “that’s poppycock”, they literally mean “that’s soft poo”.

Skew Whiff

Something that hangs crookedly or seems askew is skew whiff.

Skive

From the French word esquiver, meaning “to slink away”, skive is the act of avoiding work or school by faking an illness.

Sod’s Law

This British axiom means “If anything can go wrong, then it definitely will go wrong.” In the US we call it Murphy’s Law.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean station
Fun British phrases and what they mean – we didn’t experience Sod’s Law while on our trip, thankfully!

Spend a Penny

Another charming saying, spend a penny is the polite way for women to say they are going to the loo or toilet. The phrase originated in Victorian England when it cost a penny to open the lock on a public toilet for women. Men’s urinals were free.

Splash Out

This phrase means spending a significant amount of money on an event or an item.

Tickety Boo

Something satisfactory and in good order is tickety boo. The phrase may originate from the Hindu phrase, ṭhik hai, babu, which translates to “it’s alright sir”.

Wind Your Neck In

Americans might say “mind your own business”. The British say “wind your neck in”, meaning the same thing. This tells a person his opinion is not wanted or that the issue doesn’t concern him.

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean London eye
Fun British phrases and what they mean – everything was tickety boo on this trip to London.

Did You Learn New Phrases?

Aren’t these words and phrases fun? Of course, there are many more. I intend to share unique fun phrases and what they mean from each of the countries I’ve visited. Watch for those posts.

I love adopting words, phrases and customs from other countries. One of my favorite practices, afternoon tea, came home with me from Scotland in 2014.

Do you have favorite phrases you enjoy, from countries you’ve visited? Share them in the comments!

Fun British Phrases and What They Mean London Bridge
An iconic view of Big Ben and London Bridge.

More Tales from England:

10 Things You May Not Know About Buckingham Palace

Daring Escapes from the Tower of London

Tower of London Ravens

 


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The Momentary

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This month’s Friday road trip took Greg, Ferni and me to NW Arkansas. An advantage to living in Joplin, Missouri is that Oklahoma and Kansas are literally minutes away and Arkansas lies 30 minutes to the south.

Thus far, my road trips include jaunts into Oklahoma and Arkansas plus a road trip in Missouri and a weekend getaway in Joplin. I’m looking at you now, Kansas! Next road trip I’ll find something to explore there.

Bentonville, Arkansas offers many fun attractions.  A new contemporary art museum/gathering place, The Momentary, drew our interest and curiosity this trip.

Come explore The Momentary with me and tour the fascinating Nick Cave exhibit, Until.

The Momentary title meme

The Momentary Museum

A former cheese factory, The Momentary repurposed the existing 63,000 square foot space to create a contemporary museum and social gathering place. The multidisciplinary building houses space for visual and performing arts, culinary experiences, festivals, artists in residence and more.

Architects left most of the building intact, minimizing the carbon footprint and the use of new materials while preserving a piece of Bentonville history.

Founded by the Walton Family, The Momentary’s mission is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life.

Admission is free. The Momentary is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 7:00, closed Monday. During this time, masks that cover the nose and mouth are required at all times, while inside the building and on the grounds. Social distancing and the limitation of guests is in effect as well.

The Momentary boiler room
Original boiler room, inside The Momentary.

The building offers distinctive spaces.

Galleries

The large, open galleries and attached smaller rooms feature art and exhibits that change throughout the year. The current exhibit, Nick Cave’s Until, remains at The Momentary through January 3, 2021.

The Tower

The 70 foot tall Tower contains multiple mezzanines for visual arts, performances and social events. It’s capped by Tower Bar, a social space offering drinks, bar-type food and spectacular views.

Seating is currently limited to 40 guests and parties limited to 10 people.

Tower Bar hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 5:00 – 10:00, Friday – Saturday 5:00 – midnight, closed Sunday – Monday.

The Momentary tower
The Tower

Rode House

In Rode House enjoy films, performances and gatherings in a customizable space with an adjustable floor system. The Rode Bar, located off of Rode House, offers patio seating for drinks and snacks.

Rode House hours, Wednesday – Thursday 5:00 – 9:00, Friday 4:00 – 11:00, Saturday 11:00 – 11:00, closed Sunday – Tuesday.

The Momentary courtyard
The Rode Bar with outdoor seating.

The Breakroom

Located in the original breakroom of the cheese factory, The Breakroom offers lunch and dinner in a space overlooking the galleries. Due to following COVID guidelines, The Breakroom is temporarily closed.

Onyx Coffee Lab

Located to the right of the main entrance, on the lower level, Onyx Coffee Lab provides a fun place to rest and grab a coffee and a snack. Sit inside or on the outdoor patio.

Hours, Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 7:00. Closed Monday.

Momentary Shop

The Momentary Shop offers prints and books by featured artists and wonderfully unique gifts.

Momentary Green

Outdoors Momentary Green provides room for activities, picnics, gatherings, music, art exhibits and special events.

The Momentary tent and sculptures
Momentary Green

 

Artist Nick Cave: Until

For Nick Cave, a dancer, fabric sculptor and performance artist based out of Chicago, Until is his largest, most ambitious project yet. The exhibit occupies 24,000 square feet of gallery space at The Momentary.

The title Until comes from the phrase, “innocent until proven guilty”. For some in the US, black men in particular, Nick explains that the words “guilty until proven innocent” ring more true. Until is the word that changes everything, the hinge into the unknown.

Nick’s new exhibit is, partly, a response to the killing of black men across the US.

He hopes that the immersive nature of his art invites the viewer to “step in”. Because once you step in, you are no longer an outside observer, you are implicated, involved.

Step into the different elements of the exhibit with me.

The Momentary wall art
The Momentary – art projected upon the walls and floor

Wind Ornament Forest

Walking into the Until Exhibit, the first large room features thousands of colorful spinners and pinwheels. Strung from ceiling to floor, the initial effect is dizzying, joyful and playful. A path winds through the forest of spinners that do indeed rotate, reflecting flashes light.

On closer inspection, I realize many of the spinners contain silhouettes of guns, bullets and targets. Those silhouettes powerfully change the whole feel of the room. The images within the twirling spinners brought to mind the words “moving targets”. It unsettled me and made me reflective, which is Nick’s intention I believe.

The Momentary pinwheels
The Momentary – the first room in the Until Exhibit, spinners and pinwheels
The Momentary Nick Cave Until
The Momentary – thousands of spinners fill the room. This is a small segment.

Crystal Cloud

Leaving the spinners, we enter a room divided into distinct areas.

I veer to the right, my attention captivated by the sparkling crystal cloud suspended above me. Thousands of crystals dangle from wires and chandeliers mounted on a cloud shaped structure.

As Nick worked on the spinners project, a question arose.

“Is there racism in heaven?”

The question birthed the crystal cloud. Beneath it, the chandeliers dazzle. Looking up through a large chandelier, I glimpsed a floor above, covered with found objects. Peering up reminds me of the song, “Holes in the Floor of Heaven”. The lyrics tell us that loved ones who pass on watch us and watch over us, through the holes in the floor of heaven.

Four yellow ladders give access to small platforms, which in turn offer views of heaven above the cloud. Nick collects found objects and heaven contains a wild assortment of ceramic birds and animals, gold statues, flowers, fruit, an old phonograph and, disturbing to me initially, those small lawn jockeys that used to be popular years ago. I never liked those statues.

They depict seated black boys holding out a lantern, a fishing pole or a ring through which horse reins could be tied. Nick rescues these statues, from flea markets and yard sales, and places dream catchers in their hands, symbolizing a new life where anything is possible.

We climb stairs to the mezzanine, to view the top of the cloud and other massive works of art better seen from above.

The Momentary crystal heaven
The Momentary – Crystal Cloud below
The Momentary - heaven
The Momentary – heaven above – Nick Cave Exhibit

Beaded Wall Art

After studying the top of the cloud, and allowing feelings to surface, I turn to examine the magnificent beaded wall art. Millions of glass and plastic beads, strung on netting, create waterfalls of color. These massive works of art boggle the mind, hanging in a three story space.

How long did it take to create these?

The security guard below told us to look for the hidden messages. They aren’t hard to find. On one wall hanging a peace sign and a happy face peer at us. On the other, the word POWER stands out.

Nick drew inspiration from graffiti marred cliffs he saw, as he traveled on the train from Penn Station in New York City. In that graffiti, words of hate caught his attention. Nick re-framed his experience, creating instead colorful art that offers hope and optimism.

The Momentary - hanging installation
The Momentary – beaded wall art
The Momentary inside hanging installation
Standing inside one of the wall hangings, looking up.

The Flow

The last room we visit contains a moving, visual work of art titled Flow Blow.

Fans on scaffolding continually blow shiny blue and silver mylar strands into the room, creating a soothing waterfall effect. The hum of the fans and the mesmerizing movement of the mylar strands work their magic.

Nick intends for this room to provide a peaceful environment to process thoughts and emotions. He hopes people walk away, back through the exhibit, changed by their experience.

The Momentary flow
The Momentary – Flow Blow

My Thoughts About Until

This is a unique and moving exhibit, by a talented artist.

I read that in 1992, Nick sat in a Chicago park, stunned by the news of the beating of Rodney King and the LA riots. Feeling vulnerable, as an African American man, and targeted, he gathered sticks off of the ground.

In his studio, he turned the sticks into his first soundsuit, a wearable sculpture with a defensive shell. Nick’s soundsuits effectively mask the entire body, erasing identity. This man’s art continues to provide a platform for civil discourse, debate, change and ultimately, hope.

I felt the contrast between the bright, colorful works of art and the deeper, sometimes darker messages they contain. I love that the exhibit is so large. It allows time to process images and feel the emotions as I slowly wander.

The mental image of Nick sitting on a park bench, wondering what might happen next, troubled me. I’ve never had a gun pointed at me. I’ve never been afraid that I am a target. The closest I can come to knowing that level of vulnerability and fear was when the EF5 tornado ripped through my Joplin neighborhood in 2011. Crouching in a closet, hearing the sounds of destruction around me, I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I didn’t know if I would survive.

That is a tiny fraction of what others feel, especially in the black community. And that hurts my heart.

Momentary

I deeply appreciate the art of Nick Cave. My heart stirred, I feel inspired to create change. I want to listen and learn and discover how I can be that change.

Momentary is defined as “lasting for a short time”. It’s the perfect name for a place that frequently changes what they offer. My time at The Momentary was brief however the impact is lasting. I look forward to more experiences there. And I look forward to seeing what continues to unfold in my life as a result of my visit.

The Momentary Ferni
Ferni’s photo, at The Momentary.

Learn more about Nick Cave HERE.

 


 

 

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Dancing on My Island

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Author and speaker Glennon Doyle inspired this post, with a chapter in her book Untamed. Titled “Islands”, the chapter provides much food for thought. I’ve re-read the chapter many times, underlined passages and sorted through my feelings  and reactions to it.

As this crazy year winds down, I’ve moved deeply into a space of inner knowing. Working in my garden one day, words drifted across my mind, in the form of an invitation. “Release your inner wild woman.” While that is another blog post for another day, part of releasing my inner wild woman, my inner wildness, connects to fully inhabiting my own space and occupying my own island.

I’m still exploring this terrain and learning. And as I gain clarity, I’m dancing over here, on my island. I’ve also danced around sharing this post for weeks. Yet every time I think, “Nah…I’ll share these thoughts later”, I receive a nudge that propels me forward.

Dancing on my island? Yes I am. And here is what that is all about.

Dancing on My Island title meme

On the Island

Glennon shares in her book that when she made the decision to divorce her husband and marry Abby, people had BIG feelings about her news. Some of those responses made her feel afraid, defensive, angry, exposed.

Abby created a metaphor to put the situation in perspective.

She asked Glennon to imagine their love as an island. On that island live Glennon, Abby and Glennon’s three kids from her previous marriage. Real love dwells there too.

She added that the island is surrounded by a moat, filled with alligators, and they will not lower the drawbridge for anyone carrying fear onto their island. On the island only love exists. Everything else stays on the other side. They are happy on their island. Let others scream hate or fear. They can’t hear it. There is too much music.

Creating My Island

That story, that metaphor, resonates deeply with me. There is so much noise in the world right now, so much hate, fear, anger and unkindness. People attack each other over beliefs. As an empath, I FEEL those swirling emotions. They hurt me, and not just emotionally. Fear, hate and anger stab me with sharp, jagged edges and create physical pain.

The idea of dwelling on an island, apart from all the negativity, appeals to me.

There I can connect to nature, to the Divine, to myself…and I can breathe, think, process all the feels and be fully myself.

No one is allowed into my sacred space, carrying fear, hate, anger, prejudice or unkindness with them. I won’t lower the drawbridge. And the moat surrounding my island is filled with jellyfish…beautiful, fascinating jellyfish…that deliver warning stings if anyone steps into the moat.

Dancing on My Island jellyfish
Dancing on my island, protected by jellyfish.

Island Dweller

So what does that look like, in reality, to live on such an island?

Of course, it’s a metaphor. I wish I owned an actual island to fly to when I needed time alone. I don’t.

The island represents my personal space, where I am my truest, most authentic self. I decide what enters that space…and what doesn’t.

I’ve already touched on what is NOT allowed on my island: fear, anger, worry, racism, hate, judgment, prejudice, bullying, negativity and unkindness. The list may grow, as needed.

What IS allowed: love, kindness, joy, acceptance, peace, curiosity, inspiration, connection, creativity, positivity, passion and hope. That list may grow, as desired.

I’m done explaining myself to people who don’t want to understand. As Glennon says, “Explaining is fear preparing its case and I am not on trial.” I’m not on trial either. The only way to convince someone that all is well in my world is to live my life and show that all is well in my world. Dancing, figuratively or in my living room, is an outward expression of my joyful living.

Only Love In…Only Love Out

There is a sign on the mainland, across from my island: Only Love In. And there is a sign on my island that faces me: Only Love Out. Those signs serve as reminders that I won’t drop the drawbridge for someone carrying lower energy emotions with them. I won’t allow them to get close to me.

And, I don’t want to head out into the world, from my sanctuary, carrying those lower energies either. I know how to deal with such energies and clear them out of my life. From love flows all the things I desire in my life and desire to offer to others.

When I’m engaging with the world, I intend to limit contact with fear, anger, hate and the other low energy vibes I don’t want in my space. This means I’m curating my social media feeds and quietly blocking or deleting people as needed. And it means I don’t engage in conversations that include racism, hate, fear or unkindness. I’ll remove myself.

I’m not burying my head in the sand on my island. I am very aware of what’s happening around me. I choose not to engage. Instead, I’ll listen and learn from those who are speaking truth, whether about change or life or the future. I’ll grow. My energy I send out in healing waves of love, joy and peace, to those who need it. I’ll use my voice to speak kindness, love and joy. And I’ll take actions to help others, walking alongside for a time, offering from my heart and resources.

I’m protecting myself and my space, fiercely. If others want to shout at me from across the moat, let them. I’m dancing on my island to my favorite tunes.

Dancing on My Island only love allowed
Dancing on my island – only love allowed

What Does Your Island Look Like?

Do you desire to protect your personal space?

What is allowed on your island and what isn’t? Make a list of what absolutely cannot come across the drawbridge, no matter who is carrying it. Decide who lives on your island with you. What an amazing way to love and protect the children in your life, when you will not allow fear to assault them and share space with them.

Read the chapter “Islands” in Untamed…and then start at the beginning and read the whole book. It’s life changing. At least, it is changing mine.

Release your inner wild woman…

I am doing so. And doing so, I am allowing the path ahead to be shaped by what I am discovering. In living life beyond the edges I’m finding out just how far out those edges go.

Dancing on My Island paradise
Dancing on my island is paradise for me.

Check out my review of Glennon’s book Love Warrior.

Purchase Untamed by clicking on the photo below:

 

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Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar Area

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Dublin, the capital of Ireland, joyfully welcomes her visitors. This fun sprawling city, home to 1.36 million people, launched our girls’ UK trip in 2017. We were all first time visitors to Dublin and what an impression this high energy city made on us. We left after our brief stay, determined to return someday and explore more.

The social hub of Dublin is found in its pubs…666 of them as a matter of fact. Dubliners enjoy gathering together for a few pints of Guinness, lively music and shared stories and laughter.

Although pubs are scattered throughout the city, the best collection of pubs is located in the Temple Bar Area.

Come explore Dublin’s Temple Bar Area and see why it’s such a popular destination spot.

Explore Dublin's Temple Bar Area title meme

Temple Bar History

Located in the heart of Dublin, the Temple Bar Area is described as the city’s “bohemian quarter”. The district offers a vast variety of art, unique shops, entertainment, cafes and restaurants, hostels and hotels and pubs. Live Irish folk music drifts out from cute establishments lined along narrow cobblestone streets. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the area for the “ceol agus craic”…Irish for music and fun.

However, the Temple Bar Area only gained popularity within the last 30 years. With the Liffey River bordering the south side, the area originally contained marshlands. In the 17th century, with the river walled in, the marshes were developed into a neighborhood for the wealthy. Some say the name Temple Bar came from a family name. It’s more likely it was named after the Temple District in London, in a desire to imitate that prestigious neighborhood.

The area declined over the years and by the 18th century, brothels and seedy businesses claimed the area. By the 1990s the district appeared run down and neglected. While a proposed central bus station for the area was under review, buildings leased for low rents. That attracted artists and creative people to the neighborhood. Fortunately, the renewed interest in Temple Bar prompted the city council to cancel the bus station project. Instead, the area experienced a revival that ultimately birthed Dublin’s premier spot.

Explore Dublin's Temple Bar Area square
Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar area – busy street on the square

Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar Area

Temple Bar offers artsy destinations such as the Irish Film Institute, the Projects Art Centre and the National Photographic Archive. Souvenir shops share the streets with tattoo parlors, hostels and cafes. However, most people visit the area for its pubs.

During the day, visitors hit businesses and grab a bite to eat at one of the excellent cafes. However, the Temple Bar area is the center of Dublin’s nightlife. By evening, crowds appear, filling the pubs for meals, music and drinks.

If you don’t like throngs of people, visit the Temple Bar area during the day. Explore the shops, people watch and enjoy lunch at one of the many pubs or cafes in the area. Live music generally begins mid to late afternoon. The area retains its friendly and fun atmosphere by day, without the boisterous overcrowding present at night.

Explore Dublin's Temple Bar Area leprechaun
Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar area – and find a leprechaun! My sister Linda and her leprechaun in front of The Quay’s Bar.

Best Pubs in Dublin’s Temple Bar Area

These fun pubs are considered the best of the best in Temple Bar. Enjoy a meal, grab a pint and listen to music.

The Temple Bar Pub

This pub dates back to 1840, making it one of the oldest in the neighborhood. Cool and quirky, the pub attracts artists, poets and tourists. It offers one of the largest whiskey collections in Ireland…some say the world…along with fresh oyster platters and live music daily.

The Auld Dubliner

Considered the “quiet” pub in Temple Bar, The Auld Dubliner is an oasis of calm in the bustle of Temple Bar, at least during the day. Enjoy a mix of hot and cold traditional Irish fare as well as more contemporary choices. Upstairs the pub hosts local and international live music every day.

The Porterhouse

Although this pub is a chain, they serve their own house beers. In fact, The Porterhouse was Dublin’s first brewery. They offer guests a classic Irish menu…plus American, British and European food…live music every day and a very laid back environment.

The Oliver St. John Gogarty

This pub attracts the younger crowd and even hosts a hostel upstairs. The food is informal plus they offer a large selection of rare whiskies. The Oliver St. John Gogarty presents live traditional music sessions every evening and overall, a fun, if a bit wild, vibe. As a side note, Dublin’s population is the youngest in Europe. Almost half of the city…49%…is under the age of 30.

The Quay’s Bar

This pub, with the fine restaurant upstairs, resides in the heart of Temple Bar. Live music begins at 3:00 PM daily. The menu and the musical artists range from traditional Irish to modern to international. This is an excellent pub to take a break in and enjoy lunch, an afternoon tea or a cup of Irish coffee.

Explore Dublin's Temple Bar Area vegan meal
Explore Dublin’s Temple Bar area – I enjoyed a vegan meal and a hot tea at The Quay’s Pub.

Lunch in Dublin’s Temple Bar Area

Our girls’ group enjoyed an afternoon in Temple Bar. We visited the bright red namesake pub and found it too crowded to enter. After strolling the narrow streets and enjoying the sights and sounds of the neighborhood, we settled on The Quay’s Bar for lunch. What an excellent choice!

The Quay’s Restaurant, located upstairs above the pub, provided the perfect spot to relax and refuel. Windows let in ample sunlight, creating a cheerful, inviting space to dine. My mother and I both ordered plant based meals and hot tea. The Quay’s offers a variety of scrumptious dishes to please everyone, including vegetarian and vegan options. My rice dish topped with arugula tasted amazing.

As is common in the UK, restrooms are typically located down a flight of stairs. When my mother, sister Linda and I ventured down to find the restrooms, we walked through the much livelier pub section. The Irish are such a fun people…joyful, humorous and open armed. A couple of young men happily posed with us for a photo and gave us warm hugs too.

Explore Dublin's Temple Bar Area Quay's Bar
Having fun at Quay’s Bar and Restaurant. Isn’t my little mama adorable?

Find the Temple Bar District

The Liffey River creates the northern boundary of Temple Bar. Dame Street marks the south side, Fishamble Street lies to the west and Westmoreland Street completes the square on the east.

We walked to the area from our apartment, crossing Liffey River on the historic Ha’Penny Bridge.

Nearby attractions include Trinity College, five minutes away on foot, Christ Church Cathedral, at the end of Dame Street, and Dublin Castle, four minutes away on foot.

The impact Dublin left on me creates a deep yearning to return. We barely scratched the surface of all that this amazing city offers, in our two days there. My Celtic roots, both Scottish and Irish, strongly compel me to return “home” and better know the land of my ancestors.

I’ll go back one day. A month spent exploring Dublin and farther out, all of Ireland, would barely quiet my longing. But what a start it will be…

Explore Dublin's Temple Bar Area Quays Restaurant
Girls’ lunch at The Quay’s Restaurant, Dublin.

Check out this Tale from Ireland:

St. Stephen’s Green Dublin

And these finds from Amazon:


 

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Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This is a paid affiliate partnership with Decocrated. All opinions are my own.

In southwest Missouri, August is typically hot and humid, or what we call “muggy”. This year, the last half of the month offered cooler days that hinted at the impending arrival of fall. I welcomed those below average temps.

When my fall Decocrated box arrived, I determined to begin the switch to autumn decor…now! How exciting to open up that box to see what lies tucked within.

The theme for fall is “Fall back in love.” I love that! Most of us spent more time at home this year. With vacations canceled or changed and safety protocols in place at many attractions, it just makes sense to create an environment in our own homes, that supports us and brings us joy.

For this post, I’m adding a few words to the theme:

Fall back in love with your home with Decocrated.

Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated title meme 2

 

 

The Decocrated Fall Box

The Decocrated subscription boxes ship out at the beginning of each season, offering fresh decor pieces to incorporate into any decorating style. Each box contains seven to eight curated items appropriate for the season.

I find it easy to mix my own pieces in with the Decocrated items. And each season’s decor pieces work well with the future boxes.

The fall collection builds around a palette of burnt orange, dusty teal, black and white. The decor in this box combines warm wood tones with black metal and cozy textiles.

This season’s featured artist is Emily Doliner. Emily is a designer and illustrator based in North Carolina. She loves pattern design and brings a sense of mischief and wonder to the fall box.

Before enjoying my new fall vignettes, take a peek at the unboxing!

The Entry Table and Vintage Wooden Chair

Here we go, my fresh fall vignettes.

Entry Table

The little chippy entry table, that I change up seasonally, received a complete makeover.

On the table top, a black and white buffalo plaid linen provides a fun foundation for the tiered tray from the Decocrated Summer Box. Let me just say that I love buffalo plaid. I began bringing it in for Christmas, in red and black, a couple of years ago. This fall it’s my fun core pattern. I’ve got big plans for this plaid for Halloween decor.

On the top tier of the tray rests a light teal pumpkin, that lights up, and a framed Y, for Yaya, that my grandchildren gifted me with this summer. The lower shelf holds an orange THANKS sign, a wonderfully scented spicy candle from the grandkids and a teal and black autumn mug. I tucked a few cinnamon sticks into the mug. A wooden black and white sign, with the word GATHER on it, completes this vignette.

The bottom shelf of the entry table holds the gold planter from the summer box, filled with artificial eucalyptus, and two gold canisters from the Decocrated Spring Box. Each canister holds a faux succulent plant.

Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated entry table
Fall back in love with your home with Decocrated – entry table top
Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated lower shelf
Fall back in love with your home with Decocrated – lower shelf

Vintage Wooden Chair

The vintage wooden chair next to the entry table provides another space for me to decorate. And trust me, I need all kinds of flat spaces for decor!

The little round seat perfectly holds a small vignette. The mirror from the summer box remains, with a little black and orange fall pillow hanging from one corner. An orange linen covers the seat. On top rests a teal ceramic bird while the black lantern from the spring box houses a stack of pumpkins.

Next to the chair, my grandfather’s old metal army trunk holds a stack of quilts and pillows, including the reversible pillows from the summer box, turned to the textured side, and an autumn pillow I bought for a dollar at a discount store.

Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated chair
Fall back in love with your home with Decocrated – chair vignette

Bookcase Shelf

The top shelf of the dining room bookcase received a complete makeover as well. A nubby textured striped rug, in warm fall colors, provides the foundation for this vignette.

The framed wooden print from the fall box certainly inspires cozy feelings. It makes me smile reading the words, as it perfectly captures fall. Resting in a stand, the print anchors one corner, while on the opposite corner, the woven basket, also from the fall box, balances out the display.

The basket is woven from water hyacinth, a natural material that gives each basket unique colors and textures. The hyacinth basket has a wonderfully earthy, slightly sweet scent that I love. I tucked a white linen with the word Thankful on it into the basket, then added a fall arrangement. A simple wreath with black berries goes on the wall.

Two black and white buffalo plaid cloth pumpkins rest next to the basket while the Our Happy Place wood and metal sign completes the vignette. I love how this mostly monochromatic display turned out!

Fall Back in Love With Your Home with Decocrated shelf top
Fall back in love with your home with Decocrated – shelf top

Dining Room Table Vignette

As I’ve mentioned previously, I never eat at my little round dining room table. Rather, I decorate it seasonally. I consider it my “feature” display area. I walk through this room many times a day and I enjoy the vignettes that occupy that space.

Black Metal Candle Ring

From the fall box, a black and white table runner, adorned with leaves, sets the stage for the vignette.

On the left, rests a black metal candle ring from the fall box. Six burnt orange candles dance around that ring. (Tip: use double sided tape, wrapped around the candle base, to create a snug and secure fit.) I stepped out of my comfort zone, when I went looking for a garland to decorate the ring. You could easily leave it bare and the candle ring would still look cute. I decided to go with something very different…a felt garland in dusty blue gray, orange, white and yellow. I love it’s uniqueness and playfulness.

The small double sided print is from the fall box as well. The side shown features a recipe for pumpkin spice latte while the reverse side is perfect for Halloween with the words…Double, Double, Toil and Trouble. I love the little photo holder I found at Hobby Lobby. It echoes the theme for the season!

Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated candle ring
Adorable black candle ring with fun felt garland and print card.

Wooden Crate and Pumpkins

I love wooden crates and this one from the fall box offers plenty of room for all kinds of items. The crate comes with two wooden signs, “Autumn Harvest” in white and orange and “Harvest Moon” in black and white. I chose to use the Harvest Moon sign as it looks great with my black and white buffalo plaid.

In fact, I lined the crate with a black and white plaid linen and then filled the interior with soft mini pumpkins in dusty blue gray, burnt orange and white. Those little pumpkins match the felt garland around the candle ring.

In front of the crate rest the pumpkins from the fall box, in burnt orange and dusty teal. These pumpkins are so nicely done. Made of resin, the covering on the outside feels like velvet.

The little photo holder with the pumpkin spice latte print is nestled close to the wooden crate.

I’m already enjoying this vignette and indeed, all of the Decocrated inspired vignettes I created today. I have more fall decorating to do, on the front porch and on a few other surfaces and in containers. However, what a wonderful start to the season.

Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated harvest moon
Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated – wooden crate and pumpkins

Ready to Fall Back in Love?

Are you ready to fall back in love with your home? Maybe there’s one room in your house you’d like to fall in love with again. Or perhaps, like me, you want to spread the love around!

I can help with that.

If you’d like to receive the fall box, which will sell out I’m sure, use this link DECOCRATED FALL BOX. And, type in my code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE10 to save $10 off a seasonal box. OR use CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE30 to get $30 off a yearly subscription. That way, you won’t miss a box.

If, like me, you enjoy decorating and connecting with others who share that joy, then you will love these subscription boxes, delivered right to your front door. Plus Decocrated members have perks such as private Facebook groups, additional items to purchase in their online store and specials like Halloween and Christmas boxes. Those sell out very quickly.

I’ve now received a full year of Decocrated boxes and I love this company and the quality items they offer. It’s fun to open each box and feel my creativity ramp up. During this year of staying home, my house has become my sanctuary, my playground and my creative studio. Decocrated has played a big role in helping me fall back in love with my home.

This feels like the perfect season to say, “I am grateful.”

Fall Back in Love with Your Home with Decocrated dining table
I am grateful for Decocrated.

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is an affiliate with Decocrated Curated Home. I may earn a commission for items purchased through my links, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy

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Exploring the small town of Orvieto, Italy ranked as one of the top highlights of my trip to Italy in 2017. On the last day of our 12 day tour, my daughter, grandson and I soaked up the gorgeous views and fascinating culture of this gem in the Umbria region.

Read the highlights of that day HERE. Then read on for fun facts about Orvieto Italy.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy title meme

Getting to Orvieto Italy

Orvieto rests on a rock cliff formed from a volcanic butte, 1000 feet above the valley below. Considered one of the most striking towns in Italy, Orvieto sits in the middle of the country, less than 90 minutes from Rome.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy

This ancient city of about 21,000 people features an old and new town. Visitors arrive in the new town where they leave their cars or exit their tour buses. To gain entrance into old town they must ride an escalator up or take a funicular (trolley type car) to the edge of town. There buses transport guests up into the city.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy cliff top
Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy – the city perches on a cliff 1000 feet above the valley.

Etruscan Roots

The Etruscan civilization predates the Romans. Orvieto, known as Velzna then, was the most important town in the Etruscan territory. The Etruscans inhabited Orvieto until the 3rd century BC, when the Romans invaded.

The Duomo

This magnificent cathedral, one of the finest in Italy, took 300 years to complete. Think about it. The United States, founded in 1776, has yet to reach its 300th birthday. Generations of builders worked on this masterpiece.

Pope Nicholas IV laid the cornerstone for the Duomo on November 15, 1290. Completion occurred in 1591.

Inside, visitors appreciate the tall ceilings and black and white striped columns. Within the Duomo is the Chapel of San Brizio, featuring Luca Signorelli’s paintings, Day of Judgment and Life After Death. Some find the works of art creepy, with their depictions of hell and flying demons, while others declare them stunning.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy chapel
Fun facts about Orvieto Italy – the Duomo took 300 years to complete. Interior view.

Papal Residence

Outside of Rome, only Orvieto and two other cities contained papal palaces. During the sack of Rome in 1527, Pope Clement VII sought refuge in Orvieto.

Fearing the water supply might not last, if the city went under siege, the pope commissioned a 62 meter deep well. The Pozzo di S Patrizio, or Well of St Patrick, contains a central well shaft surrounded by stairways in a double helix design. The staircases allowed one way traffic, with empty water jars going down one set of stairs and full ones coming up the other.

Visitors may climb down into the well and toss coins into the water.

Underground Labyrinth

Beneath Orvieto lies a labyrinth of Etruscan caves and tunnels. The underground city boasts 1200 passageways, galleries, wells, stairs, cellars, cisterns and rooms.

Noble families living above were equipped with escape tunnels that wound from their homes through the labyrinth below, emerging at safe exit points outside the city walls.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy street
One of the gorgeous streets in Orvieto.

Oldest Church in Orvieto

San Giovenale claims the title as the oldest church in the city. Built in 1004, on the site of an Etruscan temple, the building contains many 13th century frescoes.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy oldest church
Fun facts about Orvieto Italy – the oldest church was built in 1004.

Etruscan Necropolis

Orvieto contains one of two Etruscan cemeteries in Italy. This one is 2,500 years old and located on the northern side of the cliff face. The tombs resemble houses, neatly arranged in rows.

Middle Ages Fortress

Built in the 1300s, Albornoz Fortress stood at the edge of the city on the site of an Etruscan temple. It’s purpose was to keep the city secure. Today it’s mostly in ruins and used as a public garden with an amphitheater for performances.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy fortress ruins
Fun facts about Orvieto Italy – the fortress was built on the site of an Etruscan temple.

Torre del Moro

The 47 meter tall clock tower in central Orvieto contains 236 steps that visitors may climb for spectacular views of the city and valley below. Originally built in the 13th century, the tower belonged to the pope. Today its clock and bells tell time.

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy clock tower
Fun facts about Orvieto Italy – the clock tower is the tallest structure in the city.

White Wine

The soil around Orvieto contains rich minerals, producing grapes that give wines a clean, crisp finish. Orvieto is known for its white wines and Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes.

Fall in Love with Orvieto

We loved this beautiful old city at the top of the world. We spent a pleasant afternoon wandering the narrow streets and taking in the sights. Cafes, shops, historical buildings and attractions offer much to visitors.

I’d love to return and spend a long weekend there, experiencing more of the people, the history and the culture.

Have you visited Orvieto, Italy?

Fun Facts about Orvieto Italy Dayan and Yaya

 

More Tales from Italy:

10 Good Luck Traditions from Italy

Lions of Venice

Things You May Not Know about Michelangelo’s David

Bridge of Sighs

 


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.