I love good tattoos. There’s nothing quite like being able to walk around every day wearing a beautiful piece of artwork on your body. I also have a couple of quotations as tattoos, to remind me to keep trying when life gets hard, and never to stop standing up for myself and for what is right. In two weeks, Anil Gupta, who is one of the best tattoo artists in the world, will be doing a tattoo on my left forearm to commemorate my wedding–I love my husband that much. I’m really lucky to live in the same city as Anil; people come from all over the world to be tattooed by him.
A good tattoo is worth the money; a bad tattoo is….worth less than what you paid for it. So, with that in mind, here’s my reviews of the best Irish tattoo artists. I’ve divided my list into two categories: (1) Best tattoo artists in Ireland; and (2) Best artists of Celtic tattoo work.
Full disclosure: I don’t personally care for traditional tattoo work, so none of the people I’m listing here specialize in that type of tattoo. I generally don’t think that type of art is particularly impressive (sorry), and there are tons of people who do it well, so you won’t be lacking if you just walk in to most tattoo studios in Ireland or anywhere else.
Best Artists in Ireland
Most of the best artists are obviously located in Dublin, which is Ireland’s capital city and its largest; with the amount of residents and the population of tourists who come through each year, the best artists want to be in the heart of the island. Still, there are a couple of great artists outside of Dublin, who I’ll mention, too.
- If you want something dark–in theme and in color–Antone Masri at the Ink Factory in Dublin does some really fucking awesome pieces. I’m not into horror, so they’re not my thing, but if I wanted something scary or occult on my body, he would be my guy. I particularly like his tattoo of the Terminator.
- Also at Dublin’s Ink Factory is Keith Murphy, whose art is quite obviously influenced by graphic novels. If you like colorful pieces that look like they could have come straight out of a comic book, check him out.
- One more from the Ink Factory….for black and grey tattoos, Leo Black is one of the best I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot). His portraits are incredibly lifelike, and I also think it’s worth mentioning that when he adds a bit of color, the effect is impactful.
- For large pieces, both black/grey and in color, Georgiana at Reinkarnated does fabulous work. She does portraits, celestial images, horror, animals, and everything in between. I’ve never met her, but I’d really like to–I’m sure she has a dazzlingly creative mind. I’m not a huge Bowie fan (sorry, I know it’s a personal failing), but I know people who love him will adore the Bowie tattoo on her page.
- One of the best artists outside of Dublin is Louise Flynn, at High Society Tattoo in Kilkenny. I love her work because her pieces look like ethereal watercolor paintings. I particularly recommend Louise if you want something nature-y like a hummingbird or some delicate flowers. She doesn’t outline her watercolor tattoos in black, which makes them (1) more difficult to pull off, and (2) so delicate that they look like you were born with them on your skin. Louise is very popular, so don’t expect to walk in and have her tattoo you–you must book in advance.
If you’re in Northern Ireland, Sam Barry at Belfast Tattoo Collective does some great work. He uses vivid colors that bring diverse types of pieces–horror, geometric/abstract, portrait–to life. [To be honest, I’m not a fan of the work of the other two artists here, though; stick with Sam.] And finally, Belfast Skin Works has a several very talented artists who can tattoo in a wide variety of styles. Their website doesn’t list them separately, though, so I can’t give you a breakdown. It’s worth checking out their shop, though–if you can find the artist you like best, you can make an appointment and get something fabulous.
And if you are looking for a tattoo artist to create a piece that involves traditional Celtic designs (knots, crosses, etc), you might check out:
- You really can’t beat the work of Sean Parry at Sacred Knot Tattoo in Llandudno, Wales, who does Celtic and Nordic work. His large pieces, including sleeves, are particularly impressive. If I decide to get another Celtic tattoo, it will definitely be worth the trip out there. In fact, Sean’s work is so fabulous that I could really stop here. He’s the best, and I’ve seen a lot–a LOT–of Celtic tattooing.
- Anil Gupta at Inkline Studios in New York City. Anil is great at everything. But if you’re going to travel, seriously, just go see Sean Parry.
- Krystof at Bluenote Tattoo in Las Vegas is also worth mentioning. Like Anil, I’d say Krystof is good at many styles. He’s worth a trip. If I didn’t despise Las Vegas, I’d make the journey myself. But I really, really hate Las Vegas.
**Sorry for the lack of photos here. I don’t want to violate anyone’s copyrights by using their images here. That’s why I’ve provided links. Check them out.