Ireland has come a long, long way since homosexuality was legalized in 1993. The positive outcome of the republic’s same-sex marriage referendum in November 2015 means that it’s easier than ever to be yourself, and not just in the capital city. Dublin is embracing LGBTQ culture like never before. You’re spoiled for choice entertainment-wise; May is a great time to be here, for the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (tel. 01/677-8511), when you’ll spot Oscar Wilde’s mug hanging on banners all over town (though the plays put on are mostly contemporary).
Another event worth planning a trip for is the Gay Pride Parade, established in 1992; the parade is the culmination of the Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival, a two-week event toward the end of June. There’s also the city’s Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Gaze (6 Eustace St., tel. 01/679-3477), for four days in early August, where international flicks are screened at the Irish Film Institute.
There are a couple all-gay clubs in Dublin: The George is the oldest (89 S. Great Georges St., tel. 01/478-2983), with something fun on every night of the week. Sunday-night bingo (free admission before 10pm) is still a local favorite. Or catch a drag show at PantiBar (7-8 Capel St., tel. 01/874-0710), which is open until 2:30am on Saturdays. Mainstream venues sometimes offer LGBTQ nights, though they don’t tend to last for more than a year or two at a stretch. One hopefully safe bet is Glitz at Dandelion (130-133 St. Stephen’s Green W., tel. 01/476-0870, €5 cover) on Tuesday nights.
As for LGBT-friendly hangouts, try The Front Lounge (33 Parliament St., tel. 01/670-4112) for a quiet drink (unless it’s karaoke night!), or Accents (23 Stephen St. Lower, tel. 01/416-0040) if you’re not in the mood to drink. Either way, you’ll probably want to plan on an afternoon or evening at The Boiler House (12 Crane Ln., tel. 01/677-3130, noon-5am Mon.-Thurs., noon Fri. to 5am Sun., €22), which has jacuzzi, sauna, and steam rooms along with massage treatments, a coffee bar (sans alcohol), and a “play room.” There’s a nightclub here one Saturday a month; check the website for details.
Now on to the practical stuff. Stop by the Outhouse (105 Capel St., Northside, tel. 01/873-4999), the city’s most established resource center, and peruse the notice boards before having lunch at the café (1pm-9:30pm Mon.-Fri., 1pm-5:30pm Sat.). The Gay Switchboard Dublin (tel. 01/872-1055) also provides advice and information. Gay Dublin is a decent source of entertainment info, and better yet is the nationwide Gay Ireland.
Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Ireland.