An Irish Lesbian's thoughts and observations…

I’ve a confession to make about my lesbian life… I’ve never been to a gay bar. Ever. Not once.

It’s not because I’m not interested in going to one. Well, I suppose that’s partly it because the gay bars here aren’t very gay. Gay friendly would sum it up much better because it’s mainly hen nights and fag hags that fill the bars here each weekend.

I must also tell you all that I can name at least five gay bars that have closed down throughout Ireland over the past few years. Why are they closing? Apart from the obvious answer to that question (lack of customers), I really don’t know. For whatever reason the LGBTQ community’s love of going to a gay bar has seriously declined over the past few years. Some might suggest that this is happening because we are more welcome to be open in most night clubs and pubs. Personally I’d totally disagree with that statement for so many reasons. I still hear of circumstances of discrimination and homophobia at least once every few months so surely there is still a gap in the market for the safe haven that is a gay bar? If you are actually lucky enough to find a gay gay bar.

The closest gay bar to me was over an hour away by car. I say was because it’s one of the ones that’s bitten the dust now. That hour would not be an easy or cheap trip for someone like me who doesn’t drive so to make this awkward and expensive journey to a bar filled with straight ladies that happens to have a pride flag hanging outside it just doesn’t sound worth it to me. If I could find a bar that fulfills the expectations I had for so many years after watching The L Word and Queer as Folk then I would be very impressed and I would definitely be there!

Dublin Pride was brilliant, in my opinion, but I was only seventeen when I was at it so sticking around in the hopes that I’d gain access to one of the clubs Dublin has to offer didn’t make sense back then. So if Pride can be so loud and proud with it’s numbers growing each year but gay bars are disappearing rapidly does that mean that our community is simply becoming more comfortable with the idea of fading away and blending into the background? Are we now satisfied with just having that one day to show our colours before we return to our daily lives? I was asked if it is even necessary to segregate ourselves from the heterosexual community with Prides and exclusive bars. Honestly, I don’t see it as segregation or exclusivity. I would love to see Ireland have a strong LGBTQ scene that includes a few good bars for lesbos like me who just wanna have fun! It’s still not fully accepted for a couple like us to actually act like a couple in public so until that day arrives I will happily tell everyone that I think it’s necessary for us to have gay bars and prides and festivals that allow us to be ourselves. It’s just disheartening to have to travel so far to actually get the opportunity to be ourselves but I still would hate to see that opportunity completely fade away even if it is only an opportunity to be in a gay friendly atmosphere rather than a full LGBTQ experience. I may go to a gay bar one day and if I ever do you can expect a full review! For now I’m fairly happy to be one half of the lesbian couple that seems to stand out so much in our small town but I’ll still be dreaming of a camped up, butched out, drag filled bar.

Comments on: "I Have A Gay Confession To Make!" (14)

  1. Carduus Sanguinem said:

    Thoroughly agree with everything you’ve said here, I’m really glad someone else notices this!


    • I notice it and I hate it. Thanks for commenting and letting me know you agree. It’s a frustrating ever present issue. I love meeting new people and having gay and lesbian friends but it’s so hard to find them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carduus Sanguinem said:

        Exactly, and this is especially true in rural Ireland. Honestly, I feel like the LGBTQ community in this country is growing at such a rapid rate now, so I’m really disappointed with the shortage of places like gay bars and such to facilitate that growth and give us a place to be comfortable being ourselves – even in the cities, we’re really lacking.


      • Yeah I live in rural Ireland myself and we’ve a serious lack of anything LGBTQ related here. I detest the thoughts of having to travel so far to get to anything gay related yet I crave the idea of being in such a gay friendly environment. It’s cool to hear the same sentiments echoed from someone else from Ireland.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carduus Sanguinem said:

        I have to say it’s such a lovely coincidence to have found someone on WordPress of all places who I have so much in common with – really refreshing to come across people I can relate to. Anyway, if you do end up visiting a gay bar as you mentioned, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the review!


      • Yes it’s actually awesome to have connected with you so thank you again for commenting 🙂 Fab and I’ll be eagerly awaiting going there!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!


  3. I don’t like how to much of gay culture (I’m a gay trans man) still centers around gay bars and alcohol, and how too many pride events are too flamboyantly and overtly sexual. Even as they have tried to make it more “family friendly”, but then again while Allentown, PA’s Pride in the Park really is trying, while NYC Pride just fails miserably unless you are part of the PFLAG section.


    • Many prides here are definitely becoming more family friendly but, while I totally get your point, I still would like to see gay bars here succeeding rather than having to close their doors forever. Most prides here have child friendly activities after the parade or have a party in a park with some pretty cool music acts at it. There’s Outhouse which is a LGBTQ coffee place in Dublin and there’s even a gay film festival every year.

      My problem is – if I want a night out where I can be totally open about who I am then I’m out of luck because there’s nowhere near me that fits that description and I don’t like the idea of travelling to Dublin to go to a so – called gay bar just to find it full of heterosexual women who are dying to ask you a thousand different questions about your sexual identity. That has been the experience of every lesbian I know who has been to a Dublin gay bar in recent times. Apparently lesbians are quite a rare find in gay bars in general here now too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The big clubs are disappearing but plenty of smaller bars are thriving. They are often very niche from what I have heard, though where I live it’s like only one of two you can go to if you don’t want to drive the distance to the city.

        And trust me, plenty of gay men who are tired of their places being overrun with fag hags and straights, because they think it’s “trendy” to be seen at a gay bar. They will hit on a guy who increasingly turns out to be straight and then there’s the “no homo” going on, or they get offended.

        And I am sure as a lesbian, sometimes the lesbians try to go to these bars (sometimes the local gay bar caters to all things glbt, especially in small rural areas where I live), and you think a woman is gay/bi, and when you hit on her, she goes all berserk because she’s straight.

        But thanks to apps like Grindr, people can go out to the clubs or bars and not have to worry about going solely for sexual delight. They can go out just to party or chill, and increasingly that’s the trend (the HuffPost has something on that).

        I finally have a job as a coffee barista here stateside and can’t wait till I get my first paycheck and can hit the local gay bar again. Been well over two years. (I live in a very depressed area, very much an employer’s market here!) I forget when it’s trans/crossdresser weekend (I hate they put us together, but I am affectionate with drag culture!).


      • Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The smaller bars are trying but are inevitably unsuccessful in lasting long term. Right now I’m facing a three hour journey to the nearest gay bar.

        A night out with my wife where I’m completely unafraid of homophobia is exactly what I want. I’m not a huge fan of kissing in public but dancing with your own wife and not worrying about what other people are thinking or acting a certain way around each other would be a welcome change. Don’t get me wrong, Ireland is not a very homophobic or even transphobic country but when someone doesn’t like who you are they aren’t afraid to let you know. If I get my gay night out I’ll let you guys know!

        Congrats on the new job! I hope you have a great night out – I’m actually looking forward to hearing about it. 🙂 Thanks for commenting Charlie!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The reason our local bar has stayed alive is because it’s actually a full-on resort. However, the younger generations often don’t see the need to segregate anymore, either, and any bar will do. I am on the cusp, I can understand where they are coming from, as we are generally less homophobic on the West in general, and so why the need, but I can still see from the from the older generation’s POV that we still have phobes our there and we sometimes still need that safety, or just find a place where we aren’t subjected to heteronormativity or can know for sure the person we are hitting on is GLB.

        Once I hit the gay bar as a trans man, I’ll let you know about it. Some guys are dumb and need that penis to be there or are afraid of “losing their gay card”, but others are more fluid and open-minded.


      • Wow, that sounds amazing! Our gay bars are hidden along back streets. Out of sight out of mind, I guess. Thanks for sharing the Stateside reality of this issue. It’s interesting to hear.

        I sincerely hope you get a great response on your night out. You seem like a pretty sweet person and I wish you well.


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