Is Ireland LGBTQIA+ friendly?
Travellers who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, as well as anyone who identifies as queer, questioning, intersex or asexual) will generally enjoy a hassle-free and welcoming time in Ireland. While homosexuality was only decriminalised in Ireland in 1993, a lot has been done in the decades since to acknowledge, accept, and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ communities in most major cities including Dublin, Belfast, and Galway. Along with this acceptance, most forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation are now illegal and have been since the 2010s.
The favourable attitude towards the LGBTQIA+ community is considered to be the societal norm nowadays, and while that wasn't always the case, the Republic of Ireland was the first country to nationally legalise same-sex marriage via popular vote in May 2015. It turns out that 2015 was a big year for the LGBTQIA+ community in terms of acceptance and recognition because in June, those who identify as transgender were allowed to self-declare their gender on official documents such as passports, driver's licenses, birth certificates, and marriage certificates.
As well as offering a friendly and supportive attitude towards both its LGBTQIA+ community and LGBTQIA+ travellers, Ireland is home to an array of parades and festivals that celebrate queer culture from Dublin Pride to Mr Gay Ireland and the Dublin Gay Theatre Film Festival. While Dublin does have the largest number of pride events out of Ireland's major cities, smaller cities such as Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford also have vibrant, albeit smaller, LGBTQIA+ scenes.
Queer culture in Dublin
Dublin, being the capital city of the Republic of Ireland and the most populous, has a very large LGBTQIA+ community with a whole heap of venues, bars, and clubs to accommodate everyone. However, the attitude in Dublin is extremely relaxed and there is no segregation for members of the LGBTQIA+ community so people can mingle between specific gay bars as well as 'straight' ones. The gay scene is primarily located within the city centre and features dance parties, saunas, and drag cabarets.
Dublin also puts on pride festivals every year including the Dublin LGBTQIA+ Pride which runs across 10 days with a series of arts, culture, and other entertainment events scheduled. This huge celebration attracts upwards of 60,000 visitors every year and is one of the main reasons why Dublin is considered to be the hub for the Irish gay community.
Some of the most popular gay bars and venues that feature gay nights in Dublin are:
- Panti Bar, North City Centre
- The George Bar, South City Centre
- Pennylane Bar, Great Strand St
- The Hub, 23 Eustace St
- Mother, Lost Lane, Adams Court on Grafton St
Queer culture in Galway
Since Galway is another bustling and vibrant Irish city, it makes sense that it has an equally as vibrant LGBTQIA+ scene, however, it is smaller than Dublin's. While Galway may not have as many predominantly gay venues to party the nights away in, most establishments are gay friendly so the options seem endless.
Some of the most popular gay bars in Galway are:
- Bar Nova, Williams St West
- Stanos, Williams St
Galway is also home to an annual pride festival held in August over six days and features activities such as art and cultural performances, information and awareness sessions, music nights, and the eye-catching parade to finish off the festival.
Solo travel and room sharing
At Intrepid, we want everyone who books a trip to Ireland with us to feel welcomed and comfortable. If you're travelling by yourself on one of our trips, you will share accommodation with a fellow traveller who is of the same gender as you according to your passport information. If you don't identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the beginning of the booking process so we can make other rooming arrangements. If you don't wish to share a room, single supplements may be available on some tours.