We take a closer look at the vibrant and thriving Queer culture in Dublin, Ireland. Manuel Schlothauer shares a curated guide of must-know people, venues and events.
If you're thinking of visiting Dublin for the first time, we hope this article will help inspire you to explore the city's Queer scene and discover new and exciting aspects of Queer culture unique to Ireland. And if you're a local, you might even learn about something or someone you haven't come across before. Join Manuel on this journey as he uncovers the hidden gems and amazing individuals that make Dublin a must-visit destination for Queer travellers.
First, a little about Manuel, and his connection to Dublin's queer culture...
Hi friends, I'm Manuel Schlothauer and before we get into the nitty gritty of Dublin’s colourful Queer scene, let’s address the elephant in the room: How on earth do you pronounce Schlothauer? The name Schlothauer originates in the picturesque mountain village of Ruhla, my home town located in the Thuringian Forest in Germany. Absolutely worth a visit but not why you’re here. Schlot•hauer means chimney puncher and is pronounced like “slow tower” but with a sh. Shlow•tower. Easy.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, I’m an award-winning Queer Therapist & Coach, bestselling Author, and the Founder of HeyManuel.com. My mission is to help Queer and LGBTQIAP+ Professionals around the world be their authentic selves without years and years of struggles. I've got some unique programs that use mediation, psychotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy, neuroscience, NLP, CBT, parts therapy, and Gestalt psychology, combined with transformational coaching, to sustainably elevate the Queer experience. As a consultant, I also help organisations navigate the complex intersection of Mental Health, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, Belonging, HR & Leadership. When I'm not working, I love nothing more than a good brunch, chilling out with an Iced Decaf Americano in the sun, and exploring the Queer nightlife and theatre scene. So, let's connect, have some fun, and get your queer game on point!
And now on to Manuel's picks!
Photo Credit: Washington Post
1. Know Your Queer History.
Interviewing 12 change-makers who were some of the key players in the progression of LGBTQ+ equality in Ireland, ShoutOut’s Know Your Queer History is a thought-provoking documentary that delves into the rich and varied history of the Queer community in Dublin.
I never really enjoyed history in school, so as part of a Queer travelling guide to the city, this documentary may seem like an unusual recommendation at first glance. However, having moved to Dublin right after the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015, I came to understand that learning about Dublin’s history will help you, too, gain a deeper appreciation for its present and create a more meaningful experience. By listening to the struggles and triumphs of Ireland’s Queer community, you will gain a better understanding of the city's culture, values, vibes and people.
Image Credit: ShoutOut
2. Queer for Good.
From ShoutOut’s documentary over to its extraordinary work at schools across the country…
Dublin's Queer community is shaped and strengthened by the work of local volunteers. From supporting LGBTQ+ youth to advocating for human rights, there are various organisations that provide vital services and help create a more inclusive society. As a Queer traveller, learning about these charities and their missions will not only deepen your understanding of the city, but also provide opportunities to give back and leave a positive mark during your visit.
Here’s a small selection of other incredible organisations:
BeLonG To — Specialised services for Queer youth with a focus on mental and sexual health
HIV Ireland — Advocating for HIV prevention, awareness, and support
TENI — Transgender Equality Network Ireland, advancing trans rights and equality
Intersex Ireland — Advocating for Intersex awareness, visibility and appropriate medical care
Dublin Lesbian Line — Queer and LGBTQ+ helpline
LGBT Ireland — Advocacy and support for Queer people and their loved ones
Image Credit: magazinecloner.com / GCN
Published by another wonderful organisation, namely the NXF (National LGBT Federation), GCN is a monthly LGBTQ+ publication covering political developments, community events and initiatives in Ireland and across the globe. With its first publication in 1988, GCN is the longest running LGBTQ+ publication in Ireland and my personal go-to magazine both in its digital and gorgeous print version.
Image Credit: Outhouse
Based in Dublin’s eclectic Capel St, Outhouse is a community and resource centre for Queer people and their families and friends. A vibrant and safe space for LGBTQ+ people, groups, and organisations, Outhouse offers a safe drop-in space, meeting spaces, support facilities, and a cafe to connect with the community.
Photo Credit: The Bernard Shaw
Only few things are as quintessentially Queer as brunch. Well, at least for me. Dublin loves brunch and I’m here for it. My go-to spots have changed over the years but you are very likely to find me in either Press Cafe or Two Boys Brew. (Just in case you don’t know what to get me for my birthday.)
If you crave some extra glitter in your mimosa, look no further than one of Dublin’s many drag brunches: Enjoy your french toast with The Misses at The Bernard Shaw, crab cakes with Davina Devine at Bow Lane, or Brazilian delicacies with Haus of W.I.G. at Wigwam.
Image Credit: gay-hiking.org
6. Queer Meet-ups.
Visiting or moving to a new city can feel daunting, especially if you don’t know anyone there. Over the years Meetup and Bumble BFF have been valuable resources to me and many of my close friendships originated there.
Here’s are two of Dublin’s many Queer Meetup groups:
Out and About — You would like to explore the Wicklow Mountains but don’t have a car? No worries, check out this LGBTQ+ Hiking Club.
Wet and Wild — Always wanted to try out kayaking, bouldering or surfing? Check out this LGBTQ+ Outdoor Sports & Social Club.
Photo Credit: hotel7dublin.com / Gate Theatre
7. Queer Theatre
Dublin loves theatre and theatre seems to love Dublin back given the stunning performances we get to enjoy on a regular basis. If you’re on your way to Dublin, make sure to check out one of my favourite spots, theatre Queer that I am:
8. Queer Nightlife
Same-sex sexual activity was only decriminalised in 1993, so understandably a major part of Dublin’s Queer life has always taken place in historically underground events and venues. Some of these still exist today and are joined by new spaces for the community to connect, dance and celebrate.
Here’s a tiny selection of Dublin’s iconic institutions:
Mother — One for the disco lovers. Expect local and international performers, strobe lights and festival vibes.
Street 66 — Board games and toasties by day, Eurovision vibes by night. Enjoy one of Dublin’s largest Gin selections while dancing to ABBA, Conchita and friends.
All My Friends — Relaxed Queer pub offering open mics, quizzes, markets and vibes.
The George — What started as a shellfish tavern in 1780 became a home away from home for the community over the last 40 years. Expect drag, pop and more drag.
About PLACES, FACES, SPACES:
Through this series we hope to highlight the possibilities of fostering an in-person Queer community, and encourage you to think about how you could contribute to Queer spaces around you and become a strong and impactful Queer Leader in your local area.
While you're here...
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