Last year's Pride parade provided a colourful vista in the ciy centre | PICTURE: DAVID WOODLAND
WITH warm weather anticipated this Saturday in the city, this year’s Limerick Pride parade is set to be the most popular ever.
Hundreds of people are expected to don bright and colourful costumes for the annual celebration of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture.
And among those taking part will be the Limerick county GAA board, who are making a bit of history – for they are likely to be the first county GAA group to take part.
The festivities have a serious side – for they come on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings in New York City which paved the way for the rights of LGBT people across the world.
The colourful parade, which forms the centrepiece of this year’s Limerick Pride festival, gets under way from City Hall at 2pm, with people gathering from 1.30pm.
Pride Public relations officer and Limerick Leader columnist Richard Lynch said: “The Limerick parade is unique. It’s the whole energy of the parade, and Limerick has that in droves. There are so many people in Limerick and they will bring something very unique.”
The parade will gather at City Hall at 1:30pm, before making its way up O’Connell Street, and heading across Mallow Street to Henry Street before it winds up at the Hunt Museum, where there will be a showcase of local LGBT culture.
Leading the way this year is Moninne Griffith, who is the executive director of BeLonG To youth services, a national organisation supporting LGBTIQ young people in Ireland.
A walking tour of Limerick takes place on Friday from Arthur’s Quay at 7pm. It’s not clear what the theme is, but we’re told there will be “good fun gay humour”.
And that same evening, a special party for youngsters will take place at Lava Javas Youth Cafe in Lower Glentworth Street.
The traditional pre-Pride party gets going at Mickey Martins later on Friday night, with “guest DJs and camp classics” all promised.
Following the parade on Saturday, there will be a chance to party into the night with the Pride climax party taking place at Dolan’s pub from 8.30pm.
Here, for the first time in Limerick a RuPaul’s Drag Race queen, Jujubee will perform from 8.30pm.
There will also be performances from top local talents Emmett Daly, Michelle Grimes, Letycha Le’Synn and Carrie Deway.
Richard paid tribute to the Limerick Pride committee for getting the party off the ground – in particular Lisa Daly, Moyross, who chairs it – and has welcomed a little baby girl.
”She doesn’t do it for the credit. She’s not there to be acknowledged. She’s there as she just likes to work away. There would be no Pride if it were not for people like her,” he added.
Meanwhile, he is delighted the local GAA is taking part.
He said: “It’s amazing that a sporting institution as incredible as the Limerick GAA has acknowledged the LGBT community in Limerick. It’s amazing, and a great feeling leading up to the parade to see progress of this kind of description.”
Asked what they will bring to the spectacle, Richard added: “Their own unique personality. That’s all you want anyone to bring to the parade.”
The plan for Limerick GAA to take part was rubber-stamped at a County Board meeting this Tuesday night. Limerick could be the first GAA board to take part in Pride, although the GAA officially took part in the Dublin Pride parade last month.
Limerick GAA Munster Council delegate Paul Foley, who led the initiative, said the message is clear: “Everyone is welcome”.
“In every club in the country and in every club in Limerick, there are LGBT members. Often-times, you’d have a situation where a young boy or a young girl may be grappling with this journey. I felt it would be sending a really good message of understanding and a really good message of inclusion for people who are going on that journey if Limerick GAA were confident and brave enough to show leadership in this matter,” Mr Foley said.
“We are making a statement and that’s the message really: We are inclusive and are all about our members,” he added, “We are compassionate and inclusive. We want it to be seen that Limerick GAA is a leader in the community.”