An Ode to the Tattooed Irish
12:20 AM
[Editor's Note: Thrilled to have Pat Sullivan blogging here, especially today!]

celtic tattoo.jpgPhoto taken from Pat Fish's Tattoo Portfolio Video.

St. Patrick's Day is here and though it's possible that by the time you read this it may have kicked your ass in a drunken Irish twister of green beer, Clancy Brothers sing-a-long, and maybe a brawl or two, I thought a quick and semi-scattered minute on Ireland and tattoos might be fitting.

Let's start with the inventive Irishman Samuel O'Reilly, who opened up shop on the Bowery in NYC's Chinatown in 1875. O'Reilly modified Thomas Edison's "autographic printer," essentially creating the modern electric tattoo machine that would revolutionize tattooing overnight. O'Reilly later apprenticed Charlie Wagner, one of the most well known (and well documented) tattooists in the good ol' USA who was ingrained in the tattoo-freak-show-New-York of the 1930s and 40s.

Next up is Norman Keith Collins, Sailor Jerry, Old Ironsides himself. Though trying to tie his Collins bloodline to west Cork and Ireland's own Michael Collins is probably impossible, his ancestry is undeniable. Equally undeniable is, of course, Sailor Jerry's influence on the world of tattoo -- now made even more so by the Sailor Jerry brand -- for what he brought to the craft, the artwork and, lets be honest, the 'tude.

Dedicated to keeping the Celtic and Pictish tattoo traditions alive today is tattoo artist Pat Fish aka the Queen of Celt. Working out of Tattoo Santa Barbara in California, Pat Fish has amassed a dense library of designs on what has to be thousands of clients. Her work is amazing and if I happened to live on the other coast, I'd be over there in no time.

Most likely belting out a rebel songs about this time is the crew at Classic Ink Tattoo in Dublin. Though they work with other styles, their traditional ink punches up that old fighting spirit, whether it's a harp, a memorial or just a classy naked lass. I've never met the artists there, but let's just say it's one more reason to get back to Dublin.

So when you raise your glass this St. Paddy's, give a small cheers for those tattooed Irish and Irish Americans who have been part of the story and those who keep the needles buzzing.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!


Welcome aboard, Patrick - Happy Namesake Day!

This calls for at least six beers..

Dude, I always enjoy the shit outta yer blogs P. Sull. They are always informative as hell and often make me laugh at least once while reading them.

(*ahem* Now that Marisa hates me... and I have written like a 15 year old to Seventeen magazine...)

Sadly, I realized yesterday that it was the first St. Pat's that I didn't have at least one beer to celebrate... though I did wear an obnoxious vest with like eleventy hundred shamrocks on it (thanx Mom!).

Cheers to the tattooed Irish and tattooing Irish and all that they've done for the art.

Cheers to you NYC kids. I hope your day was a great one.

...and it calls for at least 6TEEN beers...

Justin, you know I love ya but feel free to send me teenage missives as well!

Stitches, thanks dudeman.
And for all the other mick paddy bastards that are mentally listing all the Irish-related ink I coulda tied in, I'm human, this is a blog –– not a book –– pog mo thoin and I'll see you in hell. (It's possible that I spent the day working with a hangover.. sorry.)

Marisa, I am lost when I don't have your web goodies to read. OMG, you totally rock!

P., perhaps a new format: a bloog? Think of it as a free-form book in which you can totally be drunk/hungover whilst writing it! Guilt and a desire to redact sensitive/undesirable material come included! What are the benefits you ask? The hell if I know... I am still working that one out... Maybe it's just another one of my half-baked ideas.


Sejt :D

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