Kerry couple the best in Europe…. for scaring people

The Nightmare Realm was set up by O’Connor and Silvia Ridgway from Castleisland

Ireland’s first scare attraction, opened more than 14 years ago by Castleisland couple Karl O’Connor and Silvia Ridgway, has won the much coveted Best Scream Park in Europe award at the UK’s ScareCon 2023 run by the Scare Attraction Association.

After humble beginnings in Tralee in 2009, The Nightmare Realm went on to terrorise the people of Cork for many years before storming Dublin in 2016, where it remains annually.

Each year, the theme changes and visitors are faced with their 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.

Last year saw the event move to the historic Fruit and Vegetable Market in Dublin 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 and fiancée Megan Fox, Brooklyn Beckham, Little Mix, Christian Convery, Jack Raynor and a host of sporting stars.

Karl O’Connor: “Our goal this year is to continue to innovate and deliver unparalleled scares”

Managing director and Kerryman Karl O’Connor, remarked: “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 three weeks, runs for four weeks and gets packed away in one week.”

“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.”

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. Be wise and advertise where it’s seen. Email: or Call 087-2229761