A famous Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival for singletons from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community was organised by a Dundalk man.
Eddie McGuinness, from Aghameen Park, has been reflecting on a successful “The Outing” festival which boosted a weekend of fun and frolics.
The festival has been on the go for over one hundred years and sees thousands of people descend on the small town in search of love.
“I discussed the idea back in 2002,” said Eddie while speaking to The Dundalk Democrat, “We decided not to do it, because the market base of the LGBT community was a lot smaller back then.
“People are now a lot more tolerate of gay relationships.
“Over ten years on since the idea first came to mind, we decided to give it a go.
“It turned out to be a great weekend.
“It was much more important than having fun. We wanted to raise awareness of LGBT issues that still persist in Ireland.”
The Outing raised funds for BelongTo, a national youth organisation which helps young LGBT people across the country.
“This is the first major gay event outside a big city in the country,” said Eddie, “Twenty years ago the idea that something like this could happen in a small town in Ireland would have been met with disbelief.”
Eddie is currently creating a five-year plan to grow the festival.
The former Marist pupil also praised the local Dundalk Outcomers service.
He said: “The people in these centres do a great job.
“It’s not only for the gay community, we find that people just like to have a chat and some company to express themselves.
“I have not missed a Dundalk Pride event since it started.
“This year was very innovative and the event is growing every year.
You can get in touch with Dundalk Outcomers by dropping into their centre which is located behind the centre’s old premises at The Coach House, 8 Roden Place, Dundalk.
You can also telephone 042-9329816 or 086-1625030. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact Bernardine at email@example.com or John at firstname.lastname@example.org.