Juli and Conan find love at Ireland's biggest anime convention
Published 19/10/2016 | 09:40
It was a case of 'anime instinct' for cosplay enthusiast Juli Neeson when she attended Ireland's largest anime convention Eirtakon seven years ago.
The graphic designer from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, met her husband Conan while wondering around the stalls and stands.
"He was working and I was a guest, now we go together as a cosplay couple," she said.
Cosplay coupling is when real-life couples dress up as fictional couples from the anime world and attend conventions.
Juli refrained from dressing up in Cosplay on her wedding day "although I did have Legend of Zelda place settings," she said.
Next month, other cosplay enthusiasts can try and find Mr and/or Mrs Right when they attend the three-day event.
Cosplay blind dating is one of the events on offer at the convention - which takes place in Croke Park.
Attendees can also take part in console tournaments and gaming workshops. Care assistant Rachel Ralph (20) from Dunboyne has been a cosplay enthusiast for several years.
"My character Hatsune Miku was originally a singing synthesizer application but then she was given a design," she told the Herald.
"We're a big community. It's a great way to meet people. It took my family a bit of time to get used to me dressing up the whole time but now they're really supportive. They see all the friends I've made so they think it's great."
Cosplayers can spend up to €500 decking themselves out in Japanese cartoon-inspired costumes.
"I make all my costumes myself," Rachel said.
"My mum taught me to sew so she helps me sometimes."
The guests of honour at Croke Park are voice-over artists Luci Christian and John Swasey.
The organisers will also host a League of Legends Tournament.
Children's entertainer 'Mr Balloonatic' will attend the convention.
Eirtakon is also hosting the International Worbla Awards - a costume and fashion show for costume designers and cosplayers.
The event runs from November 4-6 and is now in its 12th and final year.
According to organisers the convention simply outgrew itself.
The event is supporting Jigsaw - the national Centre for Youth mental health.
Tickets cost €25 for the day.