Floral designs and characters among first post-lockdown tattoos in Belfast

Floral designs and characters were among the first tattoos inked in Belfast following the latest relaxation of lockdown rules.

Donal Kelly of Belfast City Skinworks Tattoo and Piercing Studio said they were also preparing artwork for those who want to mark the experience of the coronavirus pandemic.

The studio reopened at 11am on Monday with four clients booked in.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Tattoo artist Catherine Amos (left) tattooing customer Maria Speers at Belfast City Skinworks (Liam McBurney/PA)</figcaption>
Tattoo artist Catherine Amos (left) tattooing customer Maria Speers at Belfast City Skinworks (Liam McBurney/PA)

Maria Speers from Belfast was among the first through the doors for a spaceman skeleton tattoo on her lower arm.

“It’s something I had wanted for ages,” she told the PA news agency, while tattoo artist Catherine Amos described being excited to be back at work.

Chloe McEnhill from Omagh, Co Tyrone, was starting the process of getting a floral design on her arm.

“Every day of lockdown, I was counting down the days to getting this done,” she said.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Tattoo artist Kirsty Mick (right) tattooing customer Chloe McEnhill at Belfast City Skinworks, as tattoo parlours in Northern Ireland are allowed to reopen as lockdown eases (Liam McBurney/PA)</figcaption>
Tattoo artist Kirsty Mick (right) tattooing customer Chloe McEnhill at Belfast City Skinworks, as tattoo parlours in Northern Ireland are allowed to reopen as lockdown eases (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Kelly said getting to reopen had felt fantastic.

“We have put a lot of work into making the place as safe as possible, obviously we always try to run a very clean and hygienic studio but now we have added personal protective equipment, markings on the floor to help people keep their social distance as an extra layer of protection for both the artist and the client,” he told the PA news agency.

“The clients that had been booked in from March have been fantastic, we pretty much pressed the pause button on our booking system at that stage and now we’re trying to rebook all of those clients while allowing space for new clients who have been waiting and contacting us throughout lockdown.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Donal Kelly, manager of Belfast City Skinworks Tattoo and Piercing Studio (Liam McBurney/PA)</figcaption>
Donal Kelly, manager of Belfast City Skinworks Tattoo and Piercing Studio (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Kelly said with some staff still on furlough and the demands of PPE as well as shorter sessions they are operating at around 60%.

He said they are taking small steps to reopening.

“At any stage we could have up to 12 customers in here but at the moment we are operating at four. That will continue until we are sure our safety measures are working in the way we want them to,” he said.

Watch this space, I am sure there will be a few Covid survivor tattoos to come

While the studio continues to work through a backlog of appointments, Mr Kelly said some of the artists have prepared artwork for those who want to mark the pandemic with a tattoo.

“Some of the artists are drawing up Covid related images but because we are dealing with clients who had been booked in back in March before the pandemic we haven’t got to that yet,” he said.

“But watch this space I am sure there will be a few Covid survivor tattoos to come.”