After a four-year hiatus, Béar Féile’s much-anticipated Mr Bear Ireland competition returned to Dublin on Saturday, March 25, with Martin ‘Marty’ Daly taking home the sash as the 2023 winner.
Bear is a label typically assigned to queer men with rugged masculine features, and Mr Bear Ireland is essentially a pageant where self-described bears compete for the title.
Run as part of Ireland’s biggest bear event, Béar Féile, this occasion was greatly missed by the community over the past few years, and a room full of queer men and allies cheered triumphantly as the contestants strutted across the stage. Many audience members had held onto their previously purchased 2020 tickets which were still valid.
The competition was sponsored by The George and held at The Button Factory, where, in addition to the competition, guests enjoyed listening to a performance from musical guests, Depeche Shop Boys.
As part of the competition, each bear was interviewed by the host, trying to win over the audience with their answers to questions like, “What would you bring to Mr Bear Ireland?”
After the question and answer portion was complete, DJ Corky played a dance mix and all competitors were invited on stage to show off their best moves.
One by one, each remaining contestant joined the stage and danced alongside their competition, battling it out for the title. The crowd shouted with excitement as several contestants removed their clothing to reveal an assortment of leather harnesses, jock straps and accessories.
During the ten-minute dance-off, the panel of judges deliberated on who would take home the title, and the third and second-place finalists were announced! Finally, the crowd erupted into cheers when Marty was crowned the winner of Mr Bear Ireland 2023.
The 2019 winner walked across the stage to adorn Marty with his Mr Bear Ireland sash before they embraced. Upon accepting the title, Marty said that he was floored, thanked the crowd for their support and encouraged everyone to come over and say hello.
Marty is the 11th Mr Bear Ireland, and as the winner, he will now represent the Dublin Bears and Ireland at local events as well as trips abroad.
If you missed this event, don’t fret. GCN live-streamed the whole night on Facebook, and it’s available to re-watch now!
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