Cork and Carlow mark Pride with cities' first permanent rainbow crossings

Both cities opted to colorfully demonstrate their allyship year-round, though they made sure to do so in time for each city's Pride celebrations.

One of the rainbow crossings recently installed in Cork and Carlow. crossing in Carlow.
Image: @corkpride via Twitter

Cork and Carlow have both installed their first permanent rainbow crossings as of July 20, creating constant displays of allyship and representation for LGBTQ+ residents and visitors alike. 

Cork Pride, Cork City Council and the Cork LGBT Interagency Group collaborated to add the colorful road markings to Patrick Street, stretching between Brown Thomas and Dunnes Stores. The road now features the Progress Pride flag design on either side of the regular white crosswalk.

Especially of note, the Cork crossings are the first in the Republic of Ireland to feature the inclusive Progress Pride design, according to Cork LGBT+ Pride’s Business Development Manager Kery Mullaly.

Installed by a team from Cork City Council on the night of July 19, the Cork crossing arrives right on time to amplify buzz about Cork Pride, which will begin in just a few days on July 23rd and lasting through the 31st.

Councillors John Maher and Lorna Bogue suggested the city put in a rainbow crossing back in 2019, as proposed by the Cork Gay Project, according to the Irish Examiner

So proud this evening that Cork City continues to lead the way in ensuring we are open to all,” Maher tweeted the evening of July 19.

In Carlow, a rainbow crossing was originally laid down in time for the city’s Pride events July 10th, thanks to the Carlow County Council with encouragement and lobbying from the Carlow Pride Festival.

While a vibrant depiction of the Pride flag in a thoughtful display of solidarity, this measure was originally only temporary, though not on purpose. Due to customs issues, the permanent paint meant to be used for the crossing did not arrive in time for Carlow’s Pride.

The Council adapted and moved on, though, according to John Paul Payne, chairperson of Carlow Pride Festival. The Council obtained temporary paint in order to have a rainbow crossing on the ground in time for the festival, in a measure demonstrating their commitment to the community even beyond the crossing in and of itself.

As of July 19, however, the permanent paint had been received and utilized, and two enduring rainbows on either side of the white crosswalk have replaced the temporary crossing. 

We are so thankful for all the work Carlow County Council have done to make this world a better place to live for a lot of people,” Carlow Pride Fest wrote in an Instagram post about the crossing’s new permanent status. 

The festival organizers also wrote that multiple young people had already contacted them to express their appreciation for the crossing. “It makes them feel happier/safer and represented in Carlow,” the post reported.

Others, the organizers said, have come to Carlow from Kilkenny and even Offaly to see and photograph the crossing.


Carlow Pride Festival’s organizers originally wanted a rainbow crossing years ago – in fact, they wanted to have the first in Ireland, Payne said. At that time, however, there hadn’t been enough studies on the safety of having such a crosswalk for Carlow’s satisfaction, so they did not move forward with plans for installation.

Carlow Pride Festival did eventually suggest a rainbow crossing to the County Council in 2019, and the Council supported the idea. When Covid 19 struck, however, the priorities of both the Council and the Festival (which turned its energies towards producing a magazine instead of a live event) shifted. The crossing was set aside for the time being.

It was unclear up until the last minute if there was demand and desire for an in-person festival this year, Payne said. But when Carlow Pride found in March that Covid rates and concern levels had relaxed enough for that demand to very much develop, they renewed their calls for a rainbow crossing.

“We wanted the council to make a statement,” Payne said. The organization wanted a commitment, if a small one, of some finances to create a permanent signal of support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Council was happy to make that happen. Payne noted that Carlow Mayor Fintan Phelan played an essential role in the Council taking on and completing the crossing as a project. 

Though the Carlow crossing features just the six colours of the traditional Pride flag, Carlow Pride Fest is developing plans to specifically represent Trans and Intersex people and queer people of color through community art designed and created by the communities it represents.

“We wanted to give them their own moment,” Payne said. The organization is actively encouraging those interested to contact them.

As July begins to fade out and take with it the last of Ireland’s Pride events for the summer, these new rainbow crossings will serve as reminders to the Carlow and Cork LGBTQ+ communities to take pride in their identities year-round, whether strutting down a catwalk or simply crossing the street.

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

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