11 amazing films that celebrate Irish LGBTQ+ history

From inspiring films exploring the marriage equality campaign in Ireland to edgy documentaries from the dancefloor of The George, check out these fascinating flicks!

Split screen of three Irish LGBTQ+ history films. Left is from A Century Later: LGBT in Northern Ireland - A Hidden History, middle is from
Image: (Left to right) A Century Later: LGBT in Northern Ireland - A Hidden History, "Where do all the old gays go?", The 34th

If you’re looking to brush up on your Irish LGBTQ+ history, films can be a great place to start. While it’s not always easy to know where to find them, we’re here to help with this list of documentaries that celebrate and spotlight the journey of the queer community in Ireland so far.

The 34th
The 34th tells the story of the people behind the successful Marriage Equality campaign in Ireland. From Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan’s groundbreaking case to achieving a YES vote on May 22, 2015, this documentary spans a decade, culminating in same-sex marriage becoming legal and recognised under the Irish Constitution.

Outitude is a multi-award-winning documentary which charts the richness of lesbian grassroots activism, collectives, community, academia and politics across Ireland from the 1970s to today. Featuring an array of notable interviewees, including writer Nell McCafferty, activist Ailbhe Smyth and politician Katherine Zappone, the heartfelt film explores attempts to get to the core of what it means to be a lesbian.

A Century Later: LGBT in Northern Ireland – A Hidden History
This film charts the story of the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland over the last century. So much of the history is hidden, only to be found in police and hospital records, as well as in some diaries, which are brought to light in this fascinating documentary.

I’m Here, I’m Home, I’m Happy
Created by Orla Egan, I’m Here, I’m Home, I’m Happy provides answers to the question, “What happens when you find your community, your tribe?”. Using material from the Cork LGBT Archive, the film explores the experiences of some of those who were active in the Rebel County’s queer scene in the ’70s and ’80s. The documentary has been screened at festivals across Ireland, and DVDs can be ordered for €10.


“Where do all the old gays go?” Experiences of the Older LGBTQIA+ Community in Ireland
This documentary delves into the lives of Ireland’s older LGBTQ+ community, offering a touching exploration of their experiences. In it, several interviewees share their stories with heartfelt openness, reflect on their past as well as their hopes for the future. The short film is available to view in full below.

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name
With the name inspired by Oscar Wilde, this documentary traces Irish LGBTQ+ history from the legendary Irish writer’s gross indecency trial all the way up to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993. Featuring the likes of Senator David Norris, GLEN’s Kieran Rose and author Emma Donoghue, the film screened at GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival in 2013.

The George
If you’ve ever wondered what The George was like over 20 years ago, this documentary has the answers! The archival film follows regulars of Dublin’s iconic LGBTQ+ nightclub, many of whom we still know and love today, and highlights events like Alternative Miss Ireland. The George has only been screened in Ireland twice, first in 2002 and then in 2023 to a sold-out audience in the Light House Cinema.


Another from Orla Egan, this film showcases the history of Loafers, Cork’s beloved LGBTQ+ bar. Opened in 1983 and closed suddenly in 2015, the venue is recorded as one of Ireland’s longest-running queer bars, and was described by Egan as “a crucial community space, a home for the weird and wonderful of Cork and a refuge for the Cork LGBT community.” Using a combination of interviews, archival footage, photographs, illustrations and animation, LOAFERS gives a glimpse into the legend and legacy of this beloved establishment.


A Different Country: LGBT Oral History
For A Different Country, producer and director Edmund Lynch, along with his film crew, interviewed over 168 older LGBTQ+ people about what life was like in Ireland before decriminalisation in 1993. This is part of the legacy that Lynch leaves behind as part of his oral history project, following his passing last year.


Stories From The Silence
While this film appears to have been lost in the archive, a GCN article from June 1990 highlights Stories From The Silence, an Irish-made documentary about people living with HIV/AIDS. Produced jointly by the AIDS Action Alliance and the Irish Family Planning Association, the one-hour production “put a human face on the people behind the inhumane statistics” of the time. Read the full article about the film in Issue 19 of GCN Magazine.

Stories From The Silence Leaflet from the Cork LGBT Archive

How To Tell A Secret
In this groundbreaking hybrid documentary, genre-blurring techniques are used to tell the stories of people living with HIV in Ireland. While largely reflecting modern-day experiences, the film also includes historical information and references, as well as a dramatic tribute to Thom McGinty, aka The Diceman.

That concludes our list of fascinating Irish LGBTQ+ history films. So, grab a snack, get comfortable and dig into one of these amazing titles.

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