Commemorative plaque unveiled at site of Hirschfeld LGBT+ community centre

The Hirschfeld Centre was a vital support for the gay and lesbian community in a time when homosexuality was still illegal.

Vintage image of Hirschfeld Centre exterior with a group of people outside
Image: Photographer: Derek Speirs. From the Irish Queer Archive Facebook Page

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled today at 6pm by Senator David Norris and Paul McAuliffe, Lord Mayor of Dublin, at the former site 0f the Hirschfeld Centre in Fownes Street, Temple Bar.

Named after gay rights reformer, Dr Magnus Hirschfeld, the lesbian and gay community centre opened in 1979. It housed a café, a small cinema and a disco called Flikkers. The centre was a vital hub for the LGBT+ community before being badly damaged by fire in 1987.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Senator Norris said, “When I started the Hirschfeld Centre in 1979, I deliberately named it after Magnus Hirschfeld in order to preserve the memory of this courageous man whose career had been largely obliterated by the Nazis. The Hirschfeld Centre with its restaurant, discotheque, theatre, library, publishing section and counselling service etc became a hub for the gay community and led to the revitalisation of the Temple Bar area despite the fact that we were the only group not to receive any funding from central authorities.”

The centre also offered an information and advice service called Tel-A-Friend which was essential at a time when homosexuality was still an illegal offence.

The Lord Mayor commented, “I am delighted to see this significant cultural centre have a commemorative plaque erected in the the year of the 40th anniversary of its opening. As the first event in Dublin Pride, it symbolises the vital importance of honouring and remembering the history and level of work that went into fighting for and achieving gay and civil rights.

Dublin Pride reminds us that these rights must be fought for and we stand beside those countries and states who do not have these rights, and to protect and assist those in our own country who still fell isolated and alone because of their sexual identity.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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