Tattoos and Their Stories

College is an opportunity for people to try out new things and to get out of their comfort zones. Some people do this by joining new clubs and societies, taking up a new hobby, applying for a job/internship etc. But some people tend to experiment with more permanent experiences. Due to lack of parental supervision, increased freedom and sometimes just pure boredom, the attraction to tattoos is increased greatly.

We decided to interview people who have taken the plunge and gone under the needle to find out why they got inked and what the tattoo means to them.

Fran's fairy

1. “I don’t believe in god so when my sister passed away last year, I got a fairy in remembrance of her because she loved angels, fairies and all that stuff. And then I got the three stars to watch over my other three sisters.” Francesca Glynn, 19

Grainne's Wing

2. “My brother passed away a few years ago so in remembrance of him, I got an angel’s wing on my left hand side as its the side closest to the heart and in the wing is my brother’s anniversary in Roman numerals so a piece of him is always by my side.” Grainne Cahill, 19

Louise's arrow

3. “I was drunk on holidays in Kavos and the tattoo artist said this tattoo would be the least painful so I just went with it.” Louise Ryan, 19

Aaron's Ankle.PNG

4. “When I was younger, I shared a bedroom with my brother. He’s ten years older than me and also a massive music fan, I think I must have gotten my taste from him. He used to always play the record “American Beauty” by the Grateful Dead, the title track being “Box of Rain” – this song had a great impact on my life growing up. The message of the song, to forget your worries for they are so trivial and temporary, this has helped me in so many ways and that’s why I have the title tattooed on my ankle – its more than a song to me!” Aaron Hackett, 20

Becky 1in4.jpg

5. “During the summer my Mom had a stroke. She had to have surgery and after her surgery, the doctor told her she had a 1 in 4 chance of making a full recovery. Luckily for us, Mom was that lucky one. So when times get tough, I got this tattoo as a reminder to us to be grateful for how lucky we have been”  Becky Quealy (Van Rhee), 19

Aine's Ear

6. “When I was sixteen I wanted to get music notes behind my ear but the tattoo artist was Spanish and didn’t have great English, so I told her exactly what I wanted by using google translate. It took me about a year to realize that it’s actually backwards, because every time I looked at it, I was looking in a mirror.” Anonymous, 19

Jodie's CLoud.jpg

7. “My tattoo says ‘plus one’ because my Dad always said ‘I love you as much as you love me plus one’ meaning he’d always love me more than I could ever love him. The cloud is for my mam because she always says that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and I think it might actually be a Cliff Richards song she would always sing” Jodie Walsh, 18

Chris Arm.png

8. “I got this tattoo to make sure I’d never forget a trip to the Somme, France. The tattoo is the grave reference of Lieutenant John MacDonald Bradley, a WW1 soldier I had to research and whose grave I visited while in France” Chris Reddin, 19

Ferg's Leg.jpg

9. “Okay so the story behind this is about the day I found my dog. It was lashing rain and he was caught in the water with a bit of rope, I went into the water, freed him, took him home and cleaned him up. The shape has six sides to represent the six times I gave out to him.” Anonymous, 20

Amy Arrow.jpg

10. “Oh god, say something about how no matter how hard you get pulled back you’ll always spring forward etc etc. I designed it myself and it’s just a reminder to keep going and all that jazz!” Amy Blue, 19.

Ciara's ribs.jpg

11. //I came, I saw, I conquered.// “Basically it’s more about the future than the past and that everything I’ll go through, I’ll get through it. So at the end of the day I can say; ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ Like it inspires me to keep going if you know what I mean”  Ciara Nally, 19.

Sarah's born to die

12. “My tattoo reads ‘Born to run’ after one of my favourite songs. I got it this summer for my 19th birthday, I was just finished my leaving cert and heading to college so I found it a symbolic way to mark new adventures and a new stage in my life.” Sarah Cullen, 19

Fiona's tree

13. “Some people think I got the tree because it means ‘roots’ or ‘growth’ but the reality is, I just really like trees.” Fiona Kelly, 18


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