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Tattoo reality show to make an indelible mark on Dublin

CAMERAS for Dublin Ink have officially started rolling -- and the Herald has visited a Temple Bar studio to get under the skin of the show.

Ireland's version of the hit franchise began filming yesterday -- and is set to air in autumn.

With the international success of Miami Ink and LA Ink, it was only a matter of time before forward-thinking tattoo enthusiasts would set up Dublin Ink -- and owners John and Robert Connolly and Leigh Guerrine have done just that.

The business, which was set up only three months ago, already has a waiting list of three weeks for any potential clients, and its success will be documented on a new reality show by Cashmere productions.

John Connolly explained that after noticing a gap in the market they set up shop and have been amazed at their success, in spite of only being open since April.

"When we decided to set up Dublin Ink we approached approximately 150 different production companies, including the Discovery Channel," he said.

"Unfortunately communications broke down between us, but we are still very excited about being in negotiations with RTE -- and we hope to be on the air in September or October.


"In the meantime, we'll be airing 10-minute webisodes to give viewers a little idea of what to expect on the programme."

In spite of the economic downturn, the tattoo business is booming, with more and more Irish people eager to get some ink done.

Robert Connolly added: "I think what makes Dublin Ink unique is that everyone that comes in here will feel the love.

"There is a sense of family among everyone and it's growing so quickly."

But they do implement a strict policy and bosses refuse to work on anyone under the age of 18.

They also do not offer clients images to choose from in their studio like a traditional tattoo studio, and instead require clients to come in with an idea themselves.

"We'd prefer for them to have an idea already of something they really want to get, rather than coming in on a whim and getting something that they just like -- it does last forever," John added.

The studio's profile has also helped in attracting an array of clients of all ages.

"Just the other day, we had a 67-year old woman who came in to get a 3D butterfly that she's always wanted to get done.

"I think having the TV show as well has really helped our profile."