Dublin Pride: tens of thousands march through city to celebrate LGBTQ+ rights

O’Connell street was at the center of the celebrations, with thousands marching among a carnival of flags, banners and feathers.

The parade started at noon as the spectacle of color spread through the capital, passing the Custom House and making its way across the River Liffey towards Merrion Square, where a full-day festival was planned.

Adoring the LGBTQ+ colors, people marching from every age and background were cheered on by a huge crowd watching from the sidelines.

Celebrating his first Pride with his family, Vicky Halton was joined by his wife Niamh, four-year-old son Jamie and work colleagues.

“It’s so nice for inclusivity, that’s the most important thing they can see,” she said

Tens of thousands of people attend the LGBTQ+ pride parade in Dublin

“This is our first time as a family.

“I was a little bit nervous in case there were people protesting and you don’t want to expose him to that, but he doesn’t see anything wrong with having two moms and it’s great to be here where everyone is to celebrate Pride and celebrate each other and love.”

As rainbow-clad friends and family came into view, people were seen running from the parade and embraced it with hugs and kisses. The temperature reached 25 degrees and the stewards were on hand giving out water to those walking the 2km route in the heat.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was among those walking in the parade with other government ministers.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe attend the annual Pride parade in Dublin, Ireland, June 24, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Eddie McGuinness, Dublin Pride veteran, celebrated his 30th consecutive Pride wearing a custom made sparkling outfit which was a replica of his first Pride costume in 1993.

“It has taken me a month to make this outfit. It’s the original design from my costume that I wore in 1993,” he said.

“The 1993 decriminalization was my first ever Pride. This is a celebration of who we are and what we are but most importantly it’s a protest because we still have to protest for the rights of all our community from trans, right across to diversity within our own community.”

Reflecting on his first Pride he said he was “scared and intimidated, but today I celebrate and embrace who I am 30 years on”.

Couple of seven years David Hendren and Kevin Coughlin flew over from Florida in the US to celebrate Pride in Ireland.

“It’s important to let the generation after us know that it’s okay to be you and to prevent suicide by not accepting who you are,” said Mr. Coughlin. “There are too many gays, youth suicides.”

Mr Hendren said the “positivity” of the Irish people towards the LGBTQ+ community attracted them to Dublin. “It’s more accepted and loving here than lamentable in the States. We love seeing all the trans pride flags especially,” he said.

The color of Dublin Pride celebrations Picture By David Conachy

Podcast host PJ Kirby joined in on the march and told the Sunday Independent: “Pride is about celebrating how far we have come but also make people aware of much there is still to do.

“It is intimidating, especially if you are questioning your sexuality, but pride is for everybody. It’s good to be with a group because it can be intimidating if it’s your first one.

“You can always take a break, you don’t have to do everything in Pride. Be proud of yourself even if you just go to the parade.”

The Dublin Pride parade is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, as well as reaching a host of other milestones including 50 years since the first LGBTQ+ group was founded in Dublin in Trinity College and 30 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Ireland.

Speaking prior to the parade, Jamie Kennedy, executive director at Dublin Pride, said the parade attracts between 60,000 to 80,000 people and is now a “well-oiled machine”.

“This year we have taken over both sides of O’Connell Street, we are just that big now.

“We are a well-oiled machine at this stage so there are no radical changes. It takes the first person to walk about 45 to 50 minutes. It’s not a very long march, but by the time it’s completely cleared, it can take a few hours.

People attend the annual Pride parade in Dublin, Ireland, June 24, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Reflecting on his first Pride, Mr. Kennedy said the parade can seem “very daunting but it’s one of the most informative and magical experiences you will have because you have your whole community celebrating with you, as well as that you have the whole of Dublin City cheering you on.

“It’s a great day and anyone I know who has ever done it for the first time, the adrenaline kicks in and they are really eager to do it again.”

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