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Dublin Card Show Hopes to Continue Hobby Growth Across Europe

The Dublin Card Show makes its debut on Feb. 24.
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Ireland needed a major card show, that much was clear.

While shows have been popping up all over Europe amid the sports card hobby’s global surge in popularity, it’s been major events like those in London and Paris that have gotten much of the attention from the hobby.

Dublin was still on the outside looking in.

Enzo Patriarca and Jason Flynn wanted to change that, but they honestly didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

Co-founders of the Irish trading card business Soccer Cards United, the duo says that thoughts of the Dublin Card Show first formed on their podcast.

And just 12 months after taking the idea seriously, the Dublin Card Show makes its debut on Saturday, Feb. 24.

“We actually kind of had it in the works — if you listen to the podcast, it's something that's mentioned very, very early on,” Patriarca says. “It was this kind of grand thing and we thought it was 10 years or 20 years away, right? We weren't expecting such a boom to happen. We were saying, ‘Wouldn't it be amazing? We have The National in America, wouldn't it be great to do the International in Dublin and have it be a truly global event?’”

Patriarca (left) and Flynn attend the 2023 Dublin Comic Con.

Patriarca (left) and Flynn attend the 2023 Dublin Comic Con.

Dublin natives Patriarca and Flynn regularly attend card shows across Europe, and seeing the success elsewhere inspired them to make it happen locally.

Traveling for shows was nice, but it would be great to stay home for once.

“We never actually planned in the immediate future to do it,” Patriarca says, “but then card shows started popping up all over Europe on a size that we were shocked by. And it just kind of got to a point after attending so many shows, we were so tired of having to get on a plane to go home. It would be amazing if we had one here. We were tired of trying to drag Ireland into the hobby as much as we wanted them there.”

For Patriarca and Flynn, the main question was whether or not Dublin could support a major card show. Because of the difference in population, the success of an event like the London Card Show wasn’t something they could easily replicate.

According to Flynn, seeing smaller cities pull off great shows made it seem like Dublin could too.

“In a big city like London or Paris, it’s not as impressive to have a big card show because you have 10 million people in the city — it’s like a small country, you can get people to it,” Flynn says. “But to have these similar cities like Edinburgh and Copenhagen, which are very similar to Dublin in size, that kind of gave us the confidence to put something together in a market like this.”

It also isn’t very difficult to get to Dublin.

“Every time there was a card show we’d check the flight information, and there was always a flight from Dublin,” Flynn says. “If we can get anywhere from Dublin, that means that people can get to us from anywhere. We kind of realized we’re basically a little hub out here.”

Once it was clear that Dublin could pull off a major show, the next step was securing the right venue.

The Convention Centre Dublin shown at night.

The Convention Centre Dublin shown at night.

Despite being associated with major cities, many collectors know that attending a card show doesn’t mean you can experience the city as a tourist. Plenty of collectors expressed interest in visiting Dublin, so giving them the chance while attending the show was key.

Located in the heart of Dublin, the Convention Centre Dublin was the perfect place to do that — even if it wasn’t the easiest option.

“There’s other venues in Dublin that are amazing, that are cheaper as well, but this is the Crème de la crème,” Patriarca says.

“We also decided to only do a one-day show because people can attend a show then have a weekend away in Dublin,” Flynn says. “Let’s give people the Sunday if they want it so they can kind of have a city break with the card show in the middle.”

At the show itself, Patriarca and Flynn hope there’s a premium experience for both vendors and collectors. Vendors will get tokens for free food and attendees will get what the duo believes are far superior freebies compared to other shows they’ve attended.

Topps has been involved in a major way too as a headline sponsor. Collectors can expect the Take-a-card, Leave-a-card wall plus a personalized card photobooth.

Soccer fans can stop by the Match Attax Shop for special Mega Boxes. There will also be event-exclusive Topps Showtime boxes.

“They’ve been brilliant, to be honest,” Patriarca says of Topps. “They’ve sponsored a lot of shows in Europe, they’ve been very present over here, and we were kind of concerned that they might have a bit of card show fatigue. When we approached them to chip in they were more than happy to do it.”

So far, the feedback for the Dublin Card Show has been positive enough that Patriarca and Flynn say there will definitely be a second.

There’s been hiccups along the way, of course.

Items like banners for sponsorships and the 100 display cases they needed to purchase ended up being more expensive than expected.

Overall, the show may be bigger than what was needed for its debut. But according to Patriarca and Flynn, going this big to start is the right move if you want the hobby, especially in Ireland, to grow.

“If you want to grow the hobby, you can’t host a show that perfectly fits the scale of people that are already in it here,” Patriarca says. “Ireland is just a hidden gem of potential hobby customers. We think people will hook into it and love it.”

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