LIMERICK was awash with a sea of bright colours over the weekend as the seventh annual Gay Pride parade took over the city.
O’Connell Street was brought to a standstill as more than 500 people defied less than perfect weather to take part in the parade, which was led by the Grand Marshall, Miss Lilette Shannon Banks, the first Alternative Miss Limerick.
She was joined by Mr Gay Limerick Donal Dalziel and Ms Gay Limerick Lisa Daly.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangendered (LGBT) descended on Limerick for the parade, the main event of the annual Limerick Pride festivities.
This year, the aim of the event was to highlight mental health, marriage equality and LGBT human rights.
The LGBT teachers union joined Cecil Street’s Red Ribbon Project, as well as dance groups and individuals in marching, while a youth group brought members from Croatia and Slovakia.
Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the Socialist party all took part in the parade, which saw more than 90 people hold the colourful Pride flag aloft.
Limerick Chronicle correspondent Richard Lynch, of ILoveLimerick, the media sponsors, hailed this year as the “best Pride ever”.
“The biggest thing to come out of this was visibility, and to let people see that LGBT people are just people. Everyone is the same. We all have to love each other and support one another,” he said.
As the march wound its way through O’Connell Street, Mallow Street, Henry Street, before finishing at City Hall, Saturday afternoon shoppers stopped to admire the spectacle.
Festival PRO Madonna Lucia said this support makes it a lot easier to continue marching, saying: “No-one rained on our parade. Limerick is an open and diverse place. Today, Limerick showed its support for marriage equality, and it sends a message to the government: it’s time to move on.”
An after party at the Orchard Bar followed the parade, featuring performances by Unity Gospel Choir and girl band Grenade.