Every year Galway has a summer of non-stop action, festivities, and cultural and artistic show cases. At the end of typical that summer in Galway comes Galway Pride.
This is no typical Galway summer but Galway Pride will still be delivering a week full of events like the 30 years that have come before it, albeit in a new online format.
The pride festival began in 1981, at a time when the LGBT+ plus community in Ireland had to endure much more regressive attitudes in Ireland, and the festival was as much a protest against that as anything else.
Many things have changed since then, but the Pride festival remains much needed as a celebration and a driving force to move the community forward.
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Galway Community Pride will be going ahead with its annual festival this month from August 10 – 16.
The festival will follow in the footsteps of others by moving the bulk of the events online.
Galway Community Pride Chairperosn Scott Green said that planning a Pride is always an exciting challenge and 2020 is no different.
“Galway Pride has had to adapt in ways in never has before and like many organisations we had learn on our feet.”
“We had imagined a very different Pride before Covid-19 made everyone change how we did events like these.”
“So with a mostly virtually calendar of events we have managed to deliver another Pride Week because we know how important it is for our community.”
The theme for Galway Pride 2020 is ‘Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile’, which stands for strength through unity.
“Never before have we all had to stick together by making choices and sacrifices not just to keep ourselves safe, but to keep others safe,” Scott said.
“It’s why this year we have dedicated our Grand Marshal role to all healthcare care workers, for exemplifying these selfless principles.”
He added that this is also an important mantra for people in the LGBT+ community, saying that there are those who are increasing trying to target the “most vulnerable” in society.
The LGBT+ community is “completely united” in the face of a “seedy underbelly” of society that attacks them he said.
Galway Pride will run from August 10 – 16, with a total of 25 events taking place, most of them online in order to comply with social distancing requirements.
On Monday evening the Pride Launch will take place where the Community Awards 2020 will mark important role models, campaigns and community groups.
Gaeilge will again be a core part of Galway Pride as it is a bilingual event with many Irish language events throughout the week.
Several panels will also take place across Pride with topics on anti-racism, mental health, workplace well-being, activism, and trans and non-binary voices.
And of course there well be some much needed entertainment with music nights, movie watch alongs, and a rainbow cake tutorial.
Despite the current circumstances, the festival organisers wanted keep some of the in-person element of the festival, so three events will take place in person.
This will start with the annual flag raising in Eyre Square, followed by a midweek vigil, also in Eyre Square, with masks and social distancing at both events.
And on Sunday morning a new event will see the community on their bikes for a coffee and cake session in collaboration with the Galway Cycling Campaign.
“Having the chance to meet and come together in person, where safe, is really important for the community,” Scott Green said.