LGBT culture in Ireland

LGBT culture in Ireland

LGBT life on the island of Ireland is made up of persons who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender/transexual.

Queer culture & history

The Pirate Queen

Ireland's legendary Pirate QueenFact|date=August 2008 was Gráinne Mhaoil (otherwise known as Grace O'Malley) from Clew Bay, County Mayo was born in the 16th century. It has been speculated that she may have been bi-sexual. O'Malley engaged in revolutionary activity against the English crown. Her castle at Clare Island was attacked by an expedition from Galway intended to get rid of her. However, they were put to flight and barely escaped. Later O'Malley was captured, but released some time afterward. O'Malley refused to bow before Queen Elizabeth 1 and would not recognise Elizabeth 1 as the Queen of Ireland. The well known song Oró Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile was composed in memory of her.Fact|date=July 2008

Writers and patriots

Ireland and Dublin in particular have always been regarded as the home of some of the greatest gay and lesbian writers in the English speaking world, some of whom are Oscar Wilde, Eva Selina Gore-Booth, Elizabeth Bowen, Kate O'Brien, Ladies of Llangollen and Somerville and Ross. Indeed many of the patriots who fought for Irish independence were LGBT also such as Pádraig Pearse and Roger Casement.

=A queer nation once again=

After independence, Ireland became a very insular societyFact|date=July 2008, dominated by the Catholic church and was conservative, however in the midst of this, there was an acceptance of homosexuality of those within the acting profession such as Micheál MacLiammóir. It was widely accepted that Micheál MacLiammóir was gay, and that his long time life partner was Hilton Edwards. MacLíammóir would even appear on Irish tv in the fifties and sixties performing in drag. It is because of this that Irish people were never really surprised to see men dressing up as women on tv and even today, one of Dublin's drag queens Shirley Temple Bar presents bingo on prime time national tv. MacLíammóir claimed when talking to Irish playwright, Mary Manning, to have had a homosexual relationship with General Eoin O'Duffy, former Garda Siochana Commissioner and head of the quasi-fascist Blueshirts in Ireland, during the 1930s. The claim was revealed publicly by RTÉ in a documentary, "The Odd Couple", broadcast in 1999. However, MacLíammóir's claims have not been substantiated by any evidence.

Celtic Tiger and civil unions

With the emergence of the Celtic Tiger economy from 1995 onwards, Ireland underwent a massive transformation both economically and socially. The individual wealth of the average Irish citizen quadrupled in the space of 15 years along with EU membership helped to liberalise and make this once conservative and religious society into one that is more open and pro-gay rights with a raft of pro-gay legislation. Ireland once regarded as a European backwater, has now transformed into a multicultural, cosmospolitan and proud island nation. 58% of the Irish population support full gay marriage being extended to same-sex couples while 26% support the idea of same-sex civil unions.Fact|date=July 2008

Political parties

Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of LGBT rights, [ Majority favours gay marriage rights] - RTÉ News] [ 84% Support Legal Recognition for Same Sex Relationships] - Lansdowne National Opinion Poll] and most of the political parties have followed suit with liberal or left-wing social policy proposals. The Fine Gael party supports extending same-sex couples "civil partnership"s [] . The Irish Labour Party in contrast favours civil unions as an interim measure to provide equality in advance of a referendum to allow same-sex marriage. There are no elected extreme left or extreme right parties in the Republic — most Irish people are moderates, associating extremism with racism.

According to a recent poll 2008Fact|date=July 2008, 58% of Irish people support full gay marriage while 84% support civil partnerships.

Sinn Féin supports same-sex marriage, as does the Socialist Party of Ireland.

In December 2006 the Labour Party reintroduced a civil unions bill which they brought before the Dáil in March 2007. The bill was supported by Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, the Green Party and the majority of independents, however it was opposed by the two Government Parties of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats which lead to its defeat. The Labour Party, promised that a bill legalising gay adoption would be on the top of their priorities should they assume control of the Government in the Irish General Election 2007, but they did not manage to do so. In the aftermath of the General Election, the Labour Party reintroduced their Civil Unions Bill, which was supported by Sinn Féin and Fine Gael. The Green Party, then part of the governing coalition, voted against the bill, favouring their continued advocacy for same-sex partnership rights from within the government.

In 2006, at the opening of the new headquarters of the gay rights organisation GLEN in Dublin, the then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said:

The only Irish political party that has officially come out in opposition to LGBT rights is the small Christian Solidarity Party, who has never had an elected representative in the national legislature.

Gay life in the country

Cities & towns

The gay scene in Ireland is quite developed and Irish society has become more open and tolerant as a result of increased levels of prosperity and rising liberal attitudes. Indeed many foreigners comment that for such a small island nation of 6 million, there's so much going on, with vibrant gay scenes in all Irish cities [ Dublin] (2 superpubs, 2 gay bars + 13 club venues), [ Belfast] (1 superpub, 3 gay bars + 5 club venues), [ Cork] (4 bars + 5 club venues), Limerick, Derry, Galway and Waterford. There are 8 Gay Lesbian Resource centres in Ireland, 1 LGBT centre in Dublin, 1 LGBT centre in Belfast, 1 gay centre & 1 lesbian centre in Cork, 1 LGBT drop-in centre in Limerick, 1 LGBT centre in Derry, 1 LGBT centre in Waterford and 1 LGBT drop-in centre in Dundalk.

There are also some gay communities in the smaller towns in Ireland. Strabane has a gay bar, and Castlebar, Dundalk, Drogheda, Ennis, Newry and Sligo have occasional gay club nights.

Gay pride

All Irish cities and many smaller towns celebrate Gay Pride with parades and festivals.The town of Sligo with less than 20,000 inhabitants has its own annual Gay Pride parade and festival and is warmly received and supported by the local population, something which is becoming increasingly common in rural Ireland. It is more than likely the smallest city in the world with its own gay pride parade.

The gay scene across the island of Ireland is brought together during the annual Alternative Miss Ireland drag contest and Mr Gay Ireland events.

t. Patrick's day

Saint Patrick's Day is another occasion for gays to party, as all of Ireland's ethnically diverse population including the gay community take an active part in the St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations across the island in cities such as Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Derry, Galway and Waterford.

Annual events

Each city has its own range of LGBT-themed annual events:All-Ireland Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland:
*Alternative Miss Ireland - April
*Mr Gay Ireland
*Saint Patrick's Day parade & festival
*Bingham Cup Gay Rugby World Cup, June 2008

Dublin: (pop 1.7m)
*Mr Gay Dublin
*Alternative Miss Philippines
*ALAF - Lesbian arts festival - March/April
*Dublin Gay Theatre Festival - May
*GAZE - Dublin Lesbian & Gay Film Festival - August
*Dublin Gay Pride parade & festival - June
*Lesbian Lives - international conference - February
*World Aid's Day - charity event

Belfast: (pop 800,000)
*Belfast Gay Pride parade & festival
*Mr Gay Belfast

Cork: (pop 400,000)
*Alternative Miss Cork - February/March
*Cork Women's Fun Weekend - May
*Cork Gay Pride parade & festival - June
*Outlook - Lesbian & Gay Film Festival - October
*Lesbian Fanstasy Ball - November
*Mr Gay Cork

Limerick: (pop 100,000)

*Limerick Gay Pride parade & festival
*Alternative Miss Limerick

Derry: (pop 100,000)

* Derry Gay Pride festival

Galway: (pop 70,000)

*Galway Gay Pride parade & festival
*Alternative Miss Galway

Waterford: (pop 50,000)

*Waterford Gay Pride festival

Gay regional websites

* [ Queer In Dublin]
* [ Gay Belfast]
* [ Gay Cork]
* [ Gay Derry]
* [ OutWest]
* [ Gay Galway]
* [ Gay Limerick]
* [ Waterford sOUTh Group]
* [ Gay Kerry]
* [ Gay Lesbian Action Midlands]
* [ E.A.G.L.E (Wexford)]
* [ Gay Clare]

LGBT centres


*Dublin:" [ OUTHOUSE] 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1
*Dundalk: Drop In centre, 8 Roden Place, Dundalk


*Cork: [ The Other Place] , 8 South Main Street, Cork
*Cork: [ L.Inc Lesbian Centre] , White Street, Cork
*Limerick: "Rainbow Support Services", Mallow Street, Limerick
*North Kerry & West Limerick: Support Group Upper Church Street, Listowel
*Waterford: [ sOUTh Drop In Centre]


*Belfast: [ Queer Space] Cathedral Buildings, 64 Donegall Street, Belfast
*Derry: [ Foyle Friend] LGBT community resource centre

Queer media

* [ Gay Community News (National)]
* [ Ping magazine (Dublin)]
* [ FREE magazine (National)] (No longer in Publication)
*Scene magazine (Dublin) (No longer in Publication)
* [ LinC magazine (Cork)]


* [ City Channel] "Free to Express" Irish LGBT programme


* Pink Parade (Cork) - Every Tuesday, 3-4pm on Cork Campus Radio 97.4FM.

* Pink on Red (Cork) 104–106FM, - Sat 10pm—1am on RedFM

Youth groups

*National [ "National Queer Youth Ireland"]
*Dublin BelongTo LGBT Youth Group
*Belfast [ LGBT Youth Group]
*Cork [ "Unite*" LGBT Youth Group]
*Derry [ LGBT Youth Group]
*Waterford [ "sOUTh" LGBT Youth Group]
*Midlands [ "Éist" LGBT Youth Group]
*Wexford [ "E.A.G.L.E" Youth Group]


* [ Gay Community News (National)]
* [ LinC magazine (Cork)]
* [ Irish Queer Archive]
* [ Gay & Lesbian Equality Network]
* [ Gay & Lesbian Unions Éire]
* [ Gay Health Network]
* [ Southern Gay Men's Health Project]
* [ Irish Equality Authority]
* [ Equality Commission Northern Ireland]

ee also

*LGBT rights in the Republic of Ireland
*Civil unions in the Republic of Ireland
*Civil unions in the United Kingdom
*Same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland
*Same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom
*List of gay and lesbian resource centres in Ireland


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