Tipperary's very first Pride festival lights up Thurles

The county's LGBT+ community also enjoyed their first Pride Parade, which spread a rainbow through the town.

Thurles town centre filled with revellers as a Parade of LGBT+ people march, waving flags and holding banners
Image: Eamon Brennan

Thurles was the place to be last weekend, as Tipperary proudly held their first LGBT+ Pride, bringing the queer community and its allies together in celebration and solidarity.

While Friday night saw the fantastically fun kick-off in Taffy’s Bar, Saturday really got the rainbow-coloured ball rolling. There was a relaxing meditation circle before the Parade began, winding its way through the town before culminating in a terrific outdoor party on Baker Street.

The main Pride event then kicked off at Jim Kennedy’s Bar, entertaining attendees with fun events such as Blind Date, Mr and Ms Tipperary and a Battle of the Drags, before continuing into the wee hours.

Sunday saw a much-needed chill out breakfast at the local Green Sheep restaurant.

Before the official launch, Evelyn Roberts of the Pride committee, shared with GCN her initial inspiration for the event and the journey that followed: “Having Pride in Thurles was such a scary thought at first. When I shared the thought with one or two friends they said I was nuts to even think it. However it made me think – why not? It grew bigger over the weeks and people were delighted to see change coming to Thurles. So I knew what I was doing was the right thing to do.” 

“The majority of people in Thurles will tell you that it is very set in its ways and very slow to change, however I was recently pulled aside by a number of women and told I was an inspiration to many young teenagers in town. I was told by a certain lady her niece felt trapped in this small town up until she found out Pride was coming to Thurles. To hear that brought a tear to my eye. And now that niece is involved in the event!”

A group of women carry a massive Pride flag through Thurles

Evelyn continued, “One father met me in the pub and just hugged me and said thanks a million. He has two daughters and a son and he explained that if his children were gay he would be so scared that there would be no support in Thurles and now it’s starting to change. So I feel Pride is being more welcomed than I thought.”

Congratulations, Tipperary! And here’s to many more Pride celebrations for the county in the future.

It’s been a great year for Irish Prides as only recently Carlow had their first Pride event, Drogheda its first ever Parade and Mayo also proved to be no slouch when it came to throwing a party.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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