The Nightmare Realm, Ireland’s first scare attraction which opened more than 14 years ago, has become a European leader in the industry after winning the much coveted ‘Best Scream Park in Europe’ at the UK’s ScareCon, the Scare Attraction Association 2023.
ScareCon, Europe’s premier awards and trade show for the scare attraction industry, celebrates success and exceptional events in the themed attraction industry.
This year’s event gathered industry giants from across Europe, including renowned names such as Thorpe Park, Europa Park, and Alton Towers.
The Nightmare Realm is already one of the world’s most successful and critically acclaimed scare attractions.
It has been awarded the The most entertaining Halloween experience in Ireland, the No. 1 Halloween event in the World by Unilad, Best Independent European Haunt at the Scare Awards, and the Most Entertaining Horror Experience by the EU Travel Awards.
After humble beginnings in Tralee Co. Kerry in 2009, The Nightmare Realm went on to terrorise the people of Cork for many years before storming the capital in Dublin in 2016, where it remains annually.
Each year, the theme changes and visitors are faced with your worst fears, with everything from demonic clowns to chainsaw-wielding maniacs, creepy children, sick games, flesh eaters, and rat-infested cells. With animatronics, special effects, secret rooms and surprises along the way, it’s full-on fear factor.
2022 saw the event move to the historic Fruit and Vegetable market in Dublin’s City Centre and double in size, becoming Ireland’s first indoor Scream Park.
The event is not only a favourite for locals but it has attracted a multitude of celebrities including, Machine Gun Kelly, his band, and fiancée Megan Fox, Brooklyn Beckham, Little Mix, Hollywood star from hit Netflix fantasy series Sweet Tooth, Christian Convery, Jack Raynor, Chloe Moretz and a host of sporting stars.
Receiving the award is a testament to the company’s dedication, innovation, and outstanding contributions to the scare attraction industry. This accolade reinforces The Nightmare Realm’s position as a leading force in creating unforgettable immersive theatrical experiences annually for its visitors, both nationally and internationally.
Karl O Connor, Managing Director, Event producer and Kerry man, shared his thoughts on being a temporary event nominated in a category alongside the biggest scream parks in the industry,
‘’I had a lot of hope going to the award ceremony but you never know how it can go. We were up against some of the biggest names in Europe, some open all year round. Our show is temporary, it gets built in 3 weeks, runs for 4 weeks and gets packed away in 1 week.’’
The Nightmare Realm not only recognizes their achievements but also acknowledges the support from their partners Dublin City Council, sponsors, as well as the countless hours of hard work, passion, and dedication from the entire team, both behind the scenes and on site during the event.
‘’This recognition is a testament to the hard work, passion, and creativity of our team who continually strive to push the boundaries of the scare attraction industry. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the organisers and judges at Scare Con, as well our dedicated team for this honour.”
Michael Bolton, event operator of Scare Tour and Scare Con award ceremony, said. “2022 was a massive step for the event as it moved venue and changed format from a multi-part scare trail to a true scream park. The location at the fruit and veg market in Dublin City Centre, itself told a story that created a ‘Halloween town’ dedicated to scares, elaborate storytelling, and some extremely lively actors.”
The team at Scare Con further emphasised their appreciation for the freshness and imagination that permeated the entire event.
They highlighted that, compared to many “permanent” events, it was astonishing that The Nightmare Realm managed to create such an immersive experience purely for Halloween in such a short space of time. The dedication of everyone involved, from the design team to the actors, in putting on the best show possible was evident.
‘’Everything about this event was on top form, and as we will say for the last time – we are amazed that this is ALL temporary. We have to praise the patience and dedication of the team as NO other seasonal pop-up event is as big and ambitious as this. We are proud to award the event with this award as it recognises the sheer effort and teamwork that went into creating the show for 2022. ’’
In response, Karl said,
“The truth is that we have been moving towards this point for the past 14 years, developing what it means to entertain, scare, and celebrate Halloween. 10 years ago, I knew relatively nothing about what it meant to build a temporary event. My degree in Animation and Set Design did not include a degree in logistics, marketing, HR, ticketing, event management, facilities management, budgeting, insurance, negotiation, admin, or the feeling behind what makes a great event for the customer. After all, an audience won’t accept temporary standards, and all those lessons were learned the hard way. We work off-site all year round on The Nightmare Realm, and it comes together for just a brief moment in time to the public.”
“Our goal this year is to continue to innovate and deliver unparalleled scares and immersive experiences for our visitors, solidifying our position as a leader in the scare attraction industry.’’
Whilst this is their fifth award in recent years and second win of best in Europe, the husband and wife team behind the screams only use it as an anchor to push themselves further in the overall goals of the event.
‘’We may have won best Scream park in Europe this year but our plans move on. We have so much more that we want to do with this crazy business and we can’t wait to show you our plans for the 2023 season. We really appreciate everyone involved one way or another in what we do, it’s a really special event to us and our visitors. Thank you for either being a fan of the show or us personally, long live The Nightmare Realm.’’
The Nightmare Realm, Europe’s leading scare attraction returns to Dublin this October and can be found across all socials @thenightmarerealm. For more information please see www.thenightmarerealm.ie