I'm going under the needle to celebrate 'The Hobbit'
Mad about Middle-earth, digital media student Nicky McDonnell (27) from Kells, Co Meath, boasts a tattoo tribute to Tolkien's trilogy -- and plans on going under the needle again to 'celebrate' the release of prequel The Hobbit next year.
"I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was 10 -- and remember being completely blown away by the sheer scale of Middle-earth and the depth of the characters. I've re-read the books five times since.
"When the first movie The Fellowship of the Ring came out, I had just finished my Leaving Cert and wanted to do something to mark becoming an adult.
"I had always wanted to get a tattoo, but didn't just want the usual Celtic cross that every other 18 year old gets. As soon as I saw the trailer for LOTR, I knew exactly what I wanted -- the Tengwar inscription on the 'One Ring' which is central to the story's plot.
"For me, it represents everything that I love about LOTR -- triumph in the face of adversity; courage and hope. Naturally the tattoo parlour didn't have the design, so I found it online and got the tattoo artist to draw it on my arm from that.
"It cost IR£90 at the time. And although there was a lot of blood, it wasn't as painful as I expected.
"Most people just think it's Arabic. But once while I was waiting for a train in Sydney, a woman recognised the design -- and told me my tattoo was evil because the ring was actually created by the Dark Lord Sauron in the book.
"She was so freaked out, she refused to get on the same train as me! Ten years on, I have no regrets about my Lord of the Rings tattoo. In fact, I plan on getting it re-done this summer as it's faded a bit. And with The Hobbit movie coming out, I'm considering getting its famous dragon Smaug done on my back.
"In 30 years' time, I know I'll still be mad about Middle-earth."