The 29th Galway Community Pride Festival kicked off this week and there are still four days to go, of music, comedy, clubnights, discussions, visual art, family fun, as well as the Pride Parade on Saturday afternoon.
Events are running daily in the festival and the LGBT+ community is urging all Galwegians to take part and enjoy the events. “Pride week is a fantastic opportunity for the entire community to get together, educate, and celebrate," said Galway Community Pride chair, Sharon Nolan. "We can reflect on the progress our community has made, while also highlighting the fights our LGBT+ community still have ahead of them - such as trans healthcare access, PrEP [Pre-exposure prophylaxis for people at very high risk for HIV], and better facilities and supports for our older and younger community members.”
The festival opened on Monday with the main event being the Pride of Galway Awards 2018, in the Róisín Dubh. Awards were presented to Bi+ Ireland, for Community Group of the Year; Galway Together For Yes, which won Campaign Group of the Year; Martin McMahon, of LGBT+ clubnight Club Gass won the People's Champion Award; Maria Molloy of Amach LGBT Galway, took the Pride Choice Award; and popular drag queen, Kiki St Clair, scooped Artist of the Year.
Accepting the award on behalf of Galway Together For Yes, Pauline O'Reilly, who is also the Green Party Galway West candidate, said: "Every person who marked an X beside 'Yes' on May 25 was involved in this campaign and we will never know each of their stories. It was an honour to canvas for months with women and the wider members of the LGBT+ community. I couldn't be happier than to accept this award as part of our large team in Galway Together For Yes."
The festival continues today, through to Sunday. Todays events include the BTQIA+ Tea Party at The Secret Garden, William Street, from 4pm to 7pm. A screening of the documentary, The 34th: The Story of Marriage Equality, followed by a Q&A in the Pálás Cinema at 8.30pm. Also at 8.30pm in Nova, there will be an event entitled Queersplaining, which will examine the controversial term 'queer' and how it has been reclaimed by the LGBT+ community. At 9pm, singer-songwriters Steven Sharpe and Kaite O'Connor will take to the stage of the Róisín Dubh.
Friday's events include the Trans Meetup in Teach Solas (5pm to 9pm ); Let's Have A Kiki with Galway's leading drag queen, Kiki St Clair, at 8pm in Nova; and two events in the Róisín Dubh, with a comedy show at 8pm, and the Mother clubnight from 10.30pm.
Saturday is the big day of the festival with the Pride Parade. There will be the Amach Pre-Pride event at Teach Solais, from 11.30pm. The parade itself will gather at City Hall, College Road, and begin at 1.30pm, followed by the Family Fun Day at Father Burke Park (3pm to 6pm ), a day long event with Club GASS at the Róisín Dubh from 3pm; and the Pride street party outside Nova, from 6pm.
The festival concludes on Sunday with the Sunday Soccer Tournament, and from 2pm, the Princess Matthew's Pride Closing Party in Nova. A visual arts exhibition, featuring work by Joseph Neary, Senan O’Connor, Dylan Meade, and Gary Duffy, runs throughout the festival in the 126 Gallery, St Bridget’s Terrace. The AidsWest Rapid HIV testing takes place in Teach Solais on Friday (2pm to 4.30pm ) and Saturday (3pm to 5pm ).