THE rainbow flag flew proudly as hundreds of people across the city took part in the annual Gay Pride parade this weekend.
O’Connell Street was brought to a standstill, as more than 500 people took part in the parade, while hundreds of Kerry and Mayo fans also enjoyed the sights and sounds.
Colourful displays included moving butterflies, and groups taking part included the Limerick Volunteer Centre, GOSHH, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) teachers union, as well as political parties Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail.
But the parade was led off by openly gay senator Katherine Zappone and her partner Anne-Louise, alongside Mr and Mrs Gay Limerick Shane Guerin and Stacey Collins, who travelled in an open top car.
This year, the aim of the event was to highlight the quality and diversity of the gay community.
And this was reflected in the wide range of ages in attendance at the colourful spectacle.
In a bid to make the march more family friendly, a special children’s area was set up behind the Hunt Museum, near where the parade kicked off.
Lisa Daly, the organiser of the event, said: “I am delighted to see Limerick pride is getting bigger, and I hope it continues to grow each year”.
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, and were given rainbow flags to join the fun.
Gardai showed solidarity with the LGBT community by flying a rainbow flag over Henry Street station. It was initially only meant to be flown for the day, but it remained flying high last night.
Lisa said this is a massive step forward.
“There are so many people in the community who do not feel comfortable reporting a hate crime, they don’t feel they will be taken seriously. When Henry Street put up the flag, it shows you can be comfortable reporting these type of crimes,” she said.
Senator Zappone also reflected this in her speech.
After the parade, there was a massive after party, featuring performances from X Factor finalist Mischa B among others.