Oscar’s new basement flat

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After a 20 year project, a temple devoted to Oscar Wilde crammed with devotional-style religious art has been opened in the basement of a New York church.

Conceived by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough at The Church of the Village, the space will be open to members of the public five days a week and available for private ceremonies, including weddings.

Mr McDermott said the temple was a place “free of religious doctrine, honouring a watershed historical figure who pioneered the long struggle for equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender peoples”.

The Oscar Wilde Temple transforms a basement chapel back to 1882-83, the time of Wilde’s lecture tour to the US. A 1.2m wood statue of Wilde which looks like marble is displayed with his prisoner number from Reading jail. On the walls are seven oil and gold leaf canvases on linen based on newspaper coverage of his trial and imprisonment.

https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0913/904296-wilde_secular_temple/

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Dublin’s gay secrets!

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Dublin in the late 1970s had a secret gay scene, based on the local coffee shops and pubs, explains Liam Collins.

There was an underground scene comprised of married men, priests and prominent public figures who lived in constant fear of being ‘outed’.

The more obvious gay scene was centred around the theatre and RTE, which was known by some in both the gay and political communities as ‘Fairyhouse’. Bartley Dunne’s pub, along with Rice’s and Tobin’s nearby, formed a triangle of ‘gay-friendly’ pubs before the term was widely in use. None of them were strictly gay and they liked to keep an eclectic clientele so that prominent figures in the legal profession, actors and the like would not stand out as being obviously homosexual at a time when it was illegal.

The response by the authorities to the murder of a gay man called Charles Self “was to round up 1,500 known gay men and build a data bank of fingerprints and photographs and ask who they slept with and for their partners’ names,” according to Brian Merriman, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. “This action traumatised and destroyed many lives.”

The Garda file notes: “Many of his friends and acquaintances can best be described as an arty set with different attitudes and behaviour patterns from that of ordinary and conventional members of society.”

in 1993, homosexuality in the Republic was decriminalised by the Minister for Justice Maire Geoghegan-Quinn after a successful legal challenge by David Norris, who is now a Senator.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/special-reports/dublins-gay-scene-was-hidden-but-it-was-thriving-34925814.html


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A day in May

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Easons | 16215gh

Veteran Irish journalist Charlie Bird has just published his new book “A day in May” about the historic referendum last year in the Republic of Ireland which paved the way for gay marriage.

The book chronicles the lead-up to the historic Marriage Equality referendum last May.

The book includes 50 powerful interviews with members of the LGBT community in Ireland and their family and friends, which was inspired by his involvement chairing the ‘Yes Campaign’ in last year’s referendum.

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/charlie-bird-labels-himself-one-of-the-most-heterosexual-men-in-the-world-ahead-of-marriage-next-week-34692560.html

http://www.easons.com/p-4254000-day-in-may.aspx

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Dublin: Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards

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Writing in the Irish Times (print edition) on the occasion of the referendum on same-sex marriage, Miriam Lord notes that veteran Irish journalist Bruce Arnold declared on radio that life was not too bad for homosexuals in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. Says Arnold:

“I remember particularly Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards strutting through St Stephen’s Green, hugely admired and known as a gay couple.”

Miriam continues:

“Which brings to mind the old story of how Dublin’s hard chaws would shout at the two as they ostentatiously strolled around the green: “Hey, youse two, would yis ever effin get married.” And MacLiammóir would reply: “Love to, dear boys, but one of us is a Catholic and the other is a Protestant.””

Micheál MacLiammóir was born on October 25, 1899 and died on March 6, 1978; Hilton Edwards was born on February 2, 1903 and died on November 18, 1982.


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Dublin: The Fairview Park Murders and the Declan Flynn murder case

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Fairview Park Protest March photographed on Amiens Street, Dublin by Derek Speirs, courtesy “Out For Ourselves” (Womens Community Press, 1986) | Irish Queer Archives/Come here to me | 14074

In 1982 during the summer a series of systematic beatings was carried out in Fairview Park, Dublin. Gay men used the park as a meeting place and for cruising. On September 10, the gang attacked 31-year-old Aer Rianta worker Declan Flynn. One of the gang was used as ‘bait’ and when Flynn sat down next to him on the bench, the other four rushed out from behind trees.

Their victim managed to run towards the gate and the main road but did not get out of the park in time. They kicked and beat him with sticks and left Declan Flynn lying on the path choking on his own blood. He died within an hour of admission to Blanchardstown Hospital.

Mr Flynn, living in a country where and when homosexuality was illegal, was not out to his family.

Fairview Park, Dublin | Google Maps | 14075

His attackers were 19 year old Tony Maher, 18 year old Robert Armstrong, who were both members of the Air Corps, 18 year old Patrick Kavanagh, 17 year old Colm Donovan and a 14-year-old boy. “We were all part of the team to get rid of queers in Fairview Park,” Armstrong later said.

In March 1983, in court, Justice Sean Gannon gave them suspended sentences for manslaughter and allowed the five to walk free. “This,” he said, “could never be regarded as murder.”

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Gaire.com | 14076

The ruling caused outrage – as did the judge’s comments that the so-called vigilantes were “cleaning up the area” – and became the catalyst for Ireland’s fledgling gay rights movement, leading to the foundation of the main gay organisations in the Republic of Ireland.

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