A Pride of Prides
When Nicole Lee moved to Ireland in 2020, one of the things she was most excited about was Dublin Pride. Unfortunately, the move coincided with the arrival of a global pandemic and in-person Pride events were cancelled for lockdown. When 2022 arrived, she decided to go all-out by attending not just one, but five different Pride celebrations across the country.
During 2020, while I enjoyed various Pride livestreams, I couldn’t wait for the in-person events to resume. When my LGBTQ+ Meetup group shared a list of all of the Prides happening across the country, I was thrilled to learn that the first Pride of the season was in May, and they would continue all through September! I loved the idea of supporting different Pride celebrations, and it was such a meaningful way to explore different counties for the first time. I found each Pride had a very distinct feel and theme.
Fingal Pride theme: Joy
This first-ever Fingal Pride took place in a castle, and it felt magical. I spent the day enjoying live drag performances and discovering new queer musicians. The vendors were fantastic, and I bought a new Progress Pride flag. The whole event was family-friendly and I loved seeing children and teens gleefully celebrating alongside their families.
Dublin Pride theme: Visibility
I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowds, but I loved how Pride was the focal point of the city centre. I enjoyed watching the Parade take over the town, and I was thankful to hear from government officials who promised to advance LGBTQ+ rights. At times, it felt a bit like a tourist spectacle, but I ended the night enjoying a slice of DiFontaine’s pizza sitting shoulder to shoulder with friends feeling visible, supported, and thankful for the community I found this year.
Trans and Intersex Pride theme: Protest
In comparison to mainstream Prides which can feel commercialised, Trans and Intersex Pride is still attached to its protest roots. I passed out homemade crochet arm bands and felt solidarity with fellow protestors. The march and speeches were empowering, and while the attendance was modest – we need to see more cis-gendered allies showing up – I was honoured to spend the day supporting trans and non-binary friends. I left feeling energised to continue to the fight.
Cork Pride theme: Power
Cork Pride may have been my favourite Pride of 2022. Everything flowed effortlessly, several restaurants offered Pride specials, and the vibe was proud and welcoming. I loved how younger groups were given a platform to speak and perform on the main stage. My outfit made me feel like a superhero for the first time in my adult life - as we were walking from the parade to the main venue, a cis man stepped out of my way.
Portlaoise Pride theme: Community
I was delighted to see Pride flags waving from nearly every shop when I arrived in Portlaoise. I later learned that all local businesses could become a Pride sponsor in exchange for a rainbow pack to decorate their storefront, and over 100 businesses participated! The whole production felt local, inclusive and well-organised. The community spirit was contagious. Christina Fitzharris, Project Coordinator, shared, “It was an incredible week of events with a turnout that far surpassed our expectations and we really need to thank the support and solidarity given by members of the local community, the local businesses and Laois County Council who went above and beyond to make sure LGBTQ+ people felt safe to celebrate all aspects of queer culture.”
I’m already looking forward to the 2023 Pride season which will begin in just a few months! Galway and Belfast are at the top of my list, and Dublin Pride will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary on June 24. See you there.