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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > June 2018 > Queer as Cork

Queer as Cork

CARRIE LYELL HAS A GAY OLD TIME IN IRELAND’S SECOND LARGEST CITY

Think of the gayest places in the world. Where springs to mind? Sydney? Brighton? San Francisco? New York, where the modern gay rights movement began in 1969, has to be on the list. Cork? I mean, I love Ireland, but it’s the Emerald Isle, not the rainbow one, and certainly wasn’t riding high in my list of LGBT destinations. That was until last month, when I went for a long weekend of Guinness, Irish whiskey and “the craic”. But instead of old stereotypes, I found a modern, vibrant and politically active queer community which welcomed me with open arms.

My gay education (Geducation? Sure, let’s go with it) begins on the terrace of the newly refurbished Montenotte Hotel (themontenottehotel.com), overlooking the city, where I meet Ms Gay Cork.

A community development graduate from Cork Institute of Technology, Stephanie Fogarty (who wanted me to tell you that she’s single) is heavily involved in LGBT activism, and fills me in on how the country has changed since the 2015 referendum on equal marriage, and what it’s like to be a lez/bi woman in Ireland today. Steph is in campaign mode again, with the Repeal The Eighth vote taking place on 25 May. You can’t fail to notice the tension in the air here, and she looks nervous as she admits it’s going to be close. A win, she says, depends on galvanising young people in the same way they did three years ago.

We continue talking about why abortion is a queer issue as we make our way to the Jameson Experience (jamesonwhiskey.com) in Midleton, a town in County Cork just a short drive from Cork City itself. After a fascinating tour of the old distillery, where we learn about the rich history of the brand and how whiskey is made, we take part in their premium tasting, which I’m very excited about. Sadly the same can’t be said for my wife Sarah, who doesn’t drink, or Steph, who confesses she’s not a whiskey fan. But the difficult crowd doesn’t faze Lorraine, our guide, who talks us expertly through the various whiskeys and doesn’t laugh (much) when Steph nearly chokes. “I’m more a Corona drinker!” she splutters, downing a glass of water.

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About DIVA Magazine

This month we’re super excited to have actor, singer and Radio DIVA co-host Heather Peace rocking our cover for a record-breaking seventh time. In her most revealing interview ever, the Lip Service star opens up about her marriage, lesbian parenting and why she’s actually very different to the roles she plays. Make sure you check out our stunning photo shoot and find out what went down when we spent the day chez Peace, ahead of the DIVA Music Festival. Also in this issue… Holby City’s Catherine Russell on Berena, feminism and being a lesbian icon We hang out in Amber’s Closet and get to know the woman taking YouTube by storm Legends Of Tomorrow’s Maisie Richardson-Sellers: “I don't want to exist within the boxes given” The career issue: How to start your own business, by women who have Why we love The Voice finalist Lauren Bannon Does being out on the court still have the potential to kill a career in tennis? “How a stay at an artsy lesbian Airbnb made me question my whole identity” PLUS: Karima Francis, Rachael Cantu, menswear for women and so much more!