Limerick is the place to be for tattoo aficionados as some 110 artists, 400 tattoos and more than 1,500 visitors converge for the annual Limerick Tattoo Convention weekend on the 23-24 March 2019.
Held for the first time in 2017, the gathering of some of the best-known tattooists in the world returns to the Great National South Court Hotel in what has become the biggest event of its kind in Ireland.
The extremely high standards at last year’s event drew the largest attendance of the more than 12 tattoo conventions held across the country in 2018.
This year organisers have put in even greater efforts to attract those at the leading edge of tattooing and they are expecting even larger crowds for the 2019 event.
Convention Co-Organiser and Limerick native Roy Keane, owner of Soul Addiction Tattoo Studio on Roches Street, Limerick, explained that the convention’s success has been down to targets set.
“Limerick was probably the largest urban centre that didn’t have a convention in Ireland. Along with co-organisers Sylvia Butkiewicz and Thomas Skwara, we wanted to address that and bring back the best of what we had seen at conventions around the world but on a smaller level, of course.”
“So, when we set about pulling the first two conventions together, we really wanted to raise the bar as high as we could and make sure our event in Limerick would be different and ultimately, better than any other convention here. We did so principally by bringing in some of the best known artists in the world and it worked.”
“It’s like bringing in some of the biggest and best known stars in sport. When you do that, others follow to see them. There’s no point doing the same thing as everywhere else so last year we brought in the highest calibre of artist at any Irish convention.”
“It’s not just the crowds that enjoy it; the artists do too. On the Friday night we are going to the medieval Banquet in Bunratty and it’s a great opportunity for them to get together and catch up. Last year, one of the most famous artists in the world told me that they had never enjoyed a vibe like it.”
This year’s event see artists from 26 countries attending, among them some of the best known tattooists in the world. These include Luke Sayer, winner of E4’s Tattoo Artist of the Year; Nikki Simpson of US reality TV show Inkmaster and star of Paramount’s ‘Ink Master Angels’ TV series along with Josh Payne and Teej Poole also from the big TV show.
Jenna Kerr, who is becoming one of the most recognised female tattooists on the planet will be there, while show host will be famous tattoo model and Sullen TV Presenter Bernadette Macias from LA.
Those attending will see performances from Cervena Fox who performs globally at the world's biggest tattoo conventions.
“We have a number of the top tattooists in the world at our event and the great thing about it is that it is not just for people with tattoos. Last year a very large percentage of the attendance were people who were just curious about tattoos but not necessarily people who are going to get one. We also have a lot going on in parallel with the event, including DJs, live bands, break dancers, pole acrobats, magic-show and circus acts such as jugglers and hula hoop performers. It’s very much a family affair. In addition to all that, there will be tattoo competitions throughout both days,” added Sylvia.
The event is also good for the local economy with visitors coming in from abroad, particularly the UK and mainland Europe, to get tattoos from some of the top artists in the world as they wouldn’t be able to get an appointment with these tattooists in the US or UK.