I for one was very excited to be hitting the Croke Park conference centre for the convention but that could just be the fact I am from Kerry and we have history there. I had never been to Croke Park before so it was like for most people a completely new experience, the Convention organisers included with Eirtakon taking place in the Helix, DCU for the last few years. This was a whole new venue posing new challenges, could they pull it off? (Spoilers… they did and it was fantastic!)Let me get the one or two negative bits out of the way first before I start going on about my awesome few days.
The only real gripe I had was the size of the place, I don’t just mean the convention (which drew huge crowds again) but the scope of the building itself was a lot to take in and I got lost a few times which meant I stuck to the main area of the trade hall, events hall and food area. Some more signage around to direct people where to go which would have helped immensely but like I said there was bound to be these sorts of errors but in the grand scheme of things this was only a minor flaw.
One thing can be said for Eirtakon is that their trade hall was near perfection, it was so well laid out to the point and easy to navigate and find each trader or artist – the crowd flowed easily, there was no struggling to get through hordes of shoppers or massive build-ups of people at any one stand.
I did not make it to as many panels or events as much as I would have liked but I did manage to make some and in particular the sexism in nerd culture panel was fascinating but I only caught the end. There were so many different things to choose from that it made deciding what you wanted to see so difficult and that’s a good thing! There was variety and an excellent standard throughout the events and their execution but for me the main event was the Cosplay Masquerade – the level of cosplay was through the roof. People had made a massive effort and well done to everyone who entered and the winners of the Masquerade and Euro Cosplay in particular Ades Idelegbagbon who is this year’s euro cosplay representative.
Special mention has to go to the convention staffwho were many in their numbers and at all times friendly and helpful. They were obviously not used to the venue either but only too happy to stop and help you find your place and the room you were looking for.Croke Park staff.
What can I say about the guests but wow! I had the good fortune to speak to Riddle from Riddles Messy Wardrobe the cosplay guest for quite a while and she was one of the nicest people I have ever met. I had recently seen her on Syfy’s series Heroes of Cosplay and was beyond excited to meet her. She was everything I expected and more, she was very honest about her life and her cosplay life which was nice to see. She and her husband were very interesting to talk to and she had more than a few inspiring words for me and cosplaying.
On this same note of praise and star bewilderment I got the chance to meet Steve Blum – literally one of my favourite voice actors of all time and he was a pure gentleman, really friendly, energetic and genuinely interested in spending time with his fans.
Eirtakon really pulled out all the stops with their guests, they were so nice to everyone and never seemed to be fazed by the fact they were bombarded by fans from morning to night.
I had an amazing time at Eirtakon this year and they really out done themselves in offering a variety of things to do and see. There were obviously some growing pains with the new venue but that was to be expected and Eirtakon managed to make the best of everything and I cannot wait to see what they do for their tenth year.
Congratulations and thank you to Eirtakon on another amazing year, I had a blast and best of all got to hang out with everyone while meeting some new awesome people. Being their first year in the new location of course there was going to be growing pains but they pushed through and made the best of every inch of the convention, pulling off another amazing year.
Well done guys! Cannot wait for next year!