The 6th Dublin Tattoo Convention

Published: 01 February, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 168, January, 2009

A recipe for a great tattoo convention


  • Take one of a group of three hotels, all kept in very good order with extremely nice and well furnished rooms.
  • Add an onsite pub/restaurant and a cafe.
  • Make sure the venue is very welcoming and not too far from the city centre, giving the visitors access to Dublin’s famous landmarks.
  • Throw in a very nice and spacious convention room with en-suite bar and seating area.
  • Add a small stage for the live music, entertainment and prize giving.
  • About fifty - odd tattoo booths, with room for eighty plus working tattoo artists.
  • A group of assorted international artists from all corners of the globe including; Jean Hairai - Belgium, Dan Gold – London, Bret Zarro – USA, Robert Golt – Germany, George Bardadim – Russia, Rachael Schilling – USA, Adam Ciferri – USA and many more international artists.
  • Throw in a handful of Ireland’s best from; Joe Myler – JMD’s, Greg Johnson – Inkwell Tattoo, Tadgh Kelly – Clowntown, Sean Venter – Zulu Tattoo, Karen Russell, and a host of other home-grown tattooing talent.


  • Add a large crowd of tattoo fans from many locations (I heard accents from at least three different continents), to either get tattooed, watch others getting tattooed or just come along to catch up with other like minded folk and have the ‘craic’.
  • Infuse with lots of new tattoos being worked on from the outset.
  • Open the doors to the show on the Friday evening from about six pm to allow many of the artists to get set up and give some the chance to start working on pieces that evening. Many continued into the wee hours.
  • Sprinkle on a live punk band called Mongohorn to play a mix of punk/psychobilly numbers.
  • Open the bar.
  • Dilute with lots of drink, including not too expensive Guinness and other alcoholic beverages.
  • Gently pickle the Friday night crowd as the artists start work and the band kicks into gear.
  • Pre-bake for few hours then retire to the hotel bar for a chat and a catch up with some old friends not seen for a few years and retire, so bright eyed and bushy tailed for the following morning.
  • Commence the baking by opening the doors to the public at midday and allow the crowds in for a fun day of tattooing.
  • Gently fill the booths and corridors with tattoo fans and combine tattoos, lasering offered onsite by ADL, some nice tattoo related goodies for sale and infuse all day.
  • Open the bar and continue to marinade the crowd.
  • After a few hours check the artists and see what they are working on.
  • Admire the stunning black and grey snake coiling around a girl’s thigh being tattooed by Genziana from Italy, which took the two days to complete and was extremely worthwhile as it walked off (quite literally!) with Best of Show. Laugh at the bare faced cheek (excuse the pun) of a guy getting both butt cheeks tattooed at the same time by the two guys from Swineline. He sat like a trooper - something I’m sure he didn’t do after the tattoo!
  • Whilst cooking, take time out to visit some of the sights and sounds of Dublin, including poking your head through the doors of local studios like Snakebite, Bodyshock, Classic Ink and the one and only Johnny Eagle’s – the oldest studio in Ireland. Johnny Eagle’s studio is on Capel Street still the original one and as you walk inside, you can feel yourself being transported back to the early days of tattooing – what an absolute gem of a studio.
  • Half way through cooking add in a liberal mix of live music from Big Band music, provided by a young brass band comprised mainly of young ladies to rock and sprinkle with a healthy dollop of lucky Diamond Rich and his stage show that consisted of chainsaw juggling and sword swallowing.
  • Add a dash of eastern belly dancing to the mix for good measure.

Serving Suggestion

  • When you have all these fine ingredients and combine them in the right proportions; you can pretty much guarantee to have faultless tattoo convention that will be to the taste for all who attended.
  • Serve the above dish on a bed of stunning tattoo work and compliment with a healthy side plate of wonderful people, a great atmosphere and enjoy...
  • Well done Paddy and gang, thanks for everything!


Text and Photography: Neil


Skin Deep 168 1 January 2009 168