Cork and Belfast host huge crowds for fabulous Pride celebrations

Pride parades took place in both locations over the bank holiday weekend, with the PSNI saying record numbers showed up in Belfast.

Queens celebrate Belfast Pride the day before Cork Pride.
Image: Twitter: @brendanjharkin

Pride celebrations were held in Cork and Belfast over the August bank holiday weekend, lighting up Ireland from North to South in fabulous rainbow colours. Huge numbers were in attendance in both cities, as organisers hosted their first full-scale events since 2019.

On Saturday, July 30, the streets of Belfast saw tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ people and allies donning rainbow colours in honour of Pride. The parade has been described by the PSNI as the “largest Pride parade to date,” suspected to have beaten out the 2019 edition which saw roughly 60,000 participants marching.

The theme of the event was ‘Community United in Diversity’, with a group of asylum seekers and refugees leading the march through the city centre. 200 organisations registered to take part in the parade, up from 135 in 2019, with the likes of Ulster Rugby, the Belfast Azlans, Ulster GAA and many more involved. It was the first Pride since marriage equality laws were extended to Northern Ireland, with Festival co-chairman John O’Doherty saying the occasion offered people a belated chance to celebrate the achievement.

“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to celebrate the introduction of equal marriage, something we haven’t been able to do over the last three years,” he said.

“There’s so much to celebrate today. But there’s a lot of campaigning we still need to do to ensure that we have full equality for our community.”

Fellow co-chairman Cara McCann added: “People are fed up sitting at home the last couple of years and I think that’s why we have increased numbers today […] But also I think Pride has increased generally and people just want to take part in it.”

In the Rebel County, Corkonians marched on Sunday, July 31 with a spectacular 75-meter-long rainbow flag from the Grand Parade to the Afterparty Venue at Port of Cork. Crowds were treated to performances from the iconic headliner Nadine Coyle, fellow Derry Girl and Eurovision star Brooke Scullion, Sparkle, The Guilty Judges, Kabin Studio, Red FM DJs and an array of Cork’s finest drag talent. The highly praised event was hosted by the legendary Paul Ryder who said it was “an honour” and “a dream” to be a part of the occasion.

Sunday’s festivities wrapped up a week of celebrations in the People’s Captial. There truly was an event for everyone, with the 2022 programme being bigger and better than ever.

Speaking to Echo Live, Clive Davis, chair of Cork Pride described Sunday as “absolutely and utterly amazing”. He added that it “felt like the biggest crowd we’ve ever had”.

It wasn’t just the organisers who were blown away by the scale of the event, as Davis said the headlining performers were also in awe. 

“I don’t think they expected how good it was going to be. They just expected a provincial Pride, but we are the biggest regional pride outside of Dublin. I think it blew an awful lot of people away,” he said.

“Everyone has said to us, ‘what are you going to do? You can’t get better than this’ – but I think that is what we’re going to do,” Davis continued, alluding to festivities in 2023.

If you missed out on attending events in Cork and Belfast, fear not as there are still a range of Pride celebrations taking place across the country to look forward to this year. Check out our exhaustive list here.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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