Explore the history of Dublin's queer culture as part of Ranelagh Arts Festival

As part of Ranelagh Arts Festival, Hannah Tiernan will host a queer walking tour recalling many of the characters who shaped the Irish queer scene.

Ranelagh Arts Festival image description: a chalk drawing of a rainbow on pavement

Ranelagh Arts Festival returns from September 25 to 27 with a dynamic programme of events. From secret location gigs to back lane dog shows, from cycle coaching to walking tours, it promises to be an event catering for everyone. One of the highlights of the festival is an exciting queer walking tour, designed and delivered by Hannah Tiernan.

The tour covers a wide range of eras and issues and promises to expose some of the colourful characters who played their part in queer culture over the years. Beginning with Róisín Conroy, the tour takes a quick dip into the Attic Press archive. Hannah will look at some of the feminist and lesbian works published by Róisín during the 70s, 80s and 90s.

From there the tour moves on to Cullenswood House where Padraig Pearse founded St. Enda’s boys’ school. As part of the boys’ studies, Pearse invited guests such as Roger Casement and W.B.Yeats to deliver lectures.

The tour heads on to what was once dubbed, ‘Revolution Road’ where Dr Kathleen Lynn and her partner, Madeleine ffrench-Mullen, lived for nearly thirty years. Together the pair fought for women’s suffrage, ran field hospitals during the 1916 rebellion, and founded St Ultan’s infants’ hospital. As the name suggests, they were not the only revolutionary women to have lived there as Hannah will explain.

Dr Kathleen Lynn & Madeleine ffrench-Mullen

Moving back in time, the tour will head to the home of James Pillar, the owner of the gay brothel in Rathmines that became part of the infamous Dublin Castle Scandal of 1884. The scandal resulted in the ‘gross indecency’ act being passed the following year, by the then ruling British Parliament. This law meant that any sexual behaviour between men could be prosecuted.

Finally, the tour will make it’s way to Palmerston Park, one of the busiest gay cruising spots in Dublin during the eighties and nineties. This part of the tour will look at the dangers that gay men faced during these times and ultimately where we are today.

The tour takes place at 6 pm on Saturday, September 26 and 2 pm on Sunday, September 27. Places are limited so booking is essential. Visit Eventbrite to book now. To find out more about Ranelagh Arts Festival follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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