Arklow makes history with Republic of Ireland's first permanent rainbow crossing

The colourful pedestrian crossing was installed on the Main Street of Arklow, becoming a permanent fixture for the Wicklow town's LGBTQ+ community.

Arklow rainbow crossing outside An Post on Main Street
Image: Facebook @wicklowpridefestival

On Tuesday, December 21, Arklow became the home of the first permanent rainbow crossing in the Republic of Ireland.

Situated on one of Arklow’s most prominent streets, the symbol of Pride was first proposed by local filmmaker, author and LGBTQ+ activist Dave Thomas in 2016. While the initiative didn’t get approved the first time around, Thomas saw success when he proposed the idea again in 2021.

“I am thrilled beyond words that Arklow Municipal District accepted my proposal and created this amazing crossing on Arklow’s Main Street,” said Thomas.

“It would never have happened without the support from the Arklow Town Team, Town Engineers, Arklow Municipal District Staff and Administrator Claire Lawless, along with the County Councillors. I would like to give a special mention to Cllr. Peir Leonard who took on this initiative on my behalf and who underlined the importance of this project to the other Councillors. Cllr. Leonard has been a fantastic ally for the Arklow LGBTQ+ people.”

“It is a very important public statement from Arklow on acceptance of the diversity of the town, publicly supporting the LGBTQ+ community and it clearly tells young people questioning their sexuality that no matter who you are or what your sexuality may be, you are accepted for who you are in your own hometown. It acts as a beacon of hope, inspiration, and support. It also is a very public way to celebrate the diversity in the town and to show the world how progressive Arklow can be.”

The idea of rainbow crossings as a permanent symbol of Pride seems to be gathering momentum, as there are now plans for similar crossings in both Wexford and South County Dublin.

Meanwhile, earlier this year a rainbow crossing was installed in the UK’s County Derry, becoming the first county on the island of Ireland to give a home to such a feature.

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