Thursday 8 December 2016

From modest march to glittering parade: the history of Dublin Pride

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

Gay Pride Week picnic at Merrion Square (1980). Photo by Gareth Miller c/o of Tonie Walsh of Irish Queer Archive
Gay Pride Week picnic at Merrion Square (1980). Photo by Gareth Miller c/o of Tonie Walsh of Irish Queer Archive
Gay Pride Week picnic at Merrion Square (1980). Photo by Thomas A O’Shea c/o of Tonie Walsh of Irish Queer Archive

Over 60,000 people will flock to Dublin city centre today to wave rainbow flags in the air and celebrate Pride.

  • Go To

Nowadays, the parade is a glittering carnival filled with dance music, drag queens and colourful floats, but 41 years ago it was a much more modest affair.

According to Tonie Walsh of Irish Queer Archive, the first incarnation of Pride took place on June 27, 1974, when eight members of the Gay Liberation Society and Sexual Liberation Movement held Ireland's first public gay demonstration outside the Department of Justice.

David Norris attended the first Pride and remembers waving a placard reading 'Homosexuals are Revolting' in the air.

"There were only eight of us in total - and one of the group was Swiss," Mr Norris told the Irish Independent. "It was a small affair. To think 60,000 people will attend the parade today is absolutely astonishing. We've made quite the leap."

The tragic and high-profile murder of Declan Flynn in 1982 generated a large degree of sympathy and support for Ireland's LGBT community and, in 1983, 200 people attended the Gay Rights Protest March, or Pink Coronation Day.

The parade fizzled out three years later and Gay and Lesbian Pride Week reduced in size as a result of emigration and the HIV and Aids epidemic. The parade remained absent from celebrations for seven years but following the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993 - thanks to Mr Norris's landmark win at the European Court - some 1,000 people marched in the parade, which ended on the steps of the Central Bank.

"This year, thanks to the Marriage Referendum, I think it will be the most cheerful and exuberant celebration yet," Mr Norris said.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News