Ireland’s reputation as a relatively religious and conservative country is well-deserved and holds true even today, but that does not mean it is an unfriendly place to travel if you are gay. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1993, but several cities have made enormous strides since then. While you will undoubtedly find more of a gay-friendly scene in the more urban areas, you should not be afraid to travel throughout Ireland.
Having said that, outside the bigger cities you should know that most Irish people still view homosexuality as a sin. As long as you do not flaunt your sexuality, you should not run into problems. Of course, if you stay in the cities which have established and lively gay scenes, you can flaunt it all you like!
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Dublin is easily Ireland’s most gay-friendly city. It is, in fact, so gay-friendly that even though there are lots of gay bars and nightclubs to choose from you may not feel the need to seek one out. Any pub, bar, restaurant or nightclub you go into will be gay-friendly, regardless of the clientele. Cork and Galway are also very gay-friendly cities, although neither has the number of gay bars or nightclubs that Dublin has. Galway and Dublin both have annual Gay Pride Festivals, both held in the summer. Dublin also hosts a Lesbian & Gay Film Festival each August. Waterford is working on becoming more gay-friendly, and a non-profit group has been started which is responsible for putting on some gay-friendly events.
A couple of great resources for helping you find out about what is going on in gay Ireland are: