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Ireland has been a popular destination for gay vacations at least since the time of Oscar Wilde, although in those days it was not necessarily a friendly country for the LGBT community. Like Wilde, many people were jailed or sent away for hard labor for what was legally termed “indecency” and, until 1861, acts of sodomy were even punishable by death, but Ireland has come a long way since these dark days, decriminalizing same-sex sexual behavior in 1993 and legalizing civil unions in 2009.
While these significant legal strides might not mean that every village – or even every larger city – is ready to fully embrace same-sex relationships, Ireland has become a rather welcoming country for the most part and is a wonderful choice for gay travel. Many larger cities, such as Galway, Dublin, Cork and Waterford, have active, visible communities, LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly establishments, and enough attractions and activities to fill an entire trip; however, whether you travel to Ireland solo or with organized gay tours, you will not want to miss the beautiful Irish countryside or the quaint, small villages that are scattered about the landscape or overlooking awe-inspiring coastal cliffs.
Dublin is also well known for a variety of community festivals held throughout the year, which include the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in May, Dublin International LGBTQ Pride in June, and the Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in July.
There is always something going on in Dublin, on either a small or large scale, so it is a good idea to pick up a copy of GNC, Ireland’s main community magazine, when you arrive in town. There are many must-see attractions when partaking in gay travel in Dublin, including the Guinness Storehouse, the Old Jameson Distillery, the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Book of Kells, the Oscar Wilde House Museum and Dublin’s quintessential LGBT bar, The George.
Those planning Ireland gay tours may want to consider participating in gay tours. This is a great way to make sure you are able to enjoy many of the most intriguing natural, cultural and historical attractions this romantic country has to offer.
Thoughts on Ireland authored by Howie Holben.
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