Irish cultural institutions celebrate festival of LGBT history in March 2021


Irish cultural institutions celebrate festival of LGBT history in March 2021

OUTing the Past at National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland and Kilmainham Gaol

The National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland and Kilmainham Gaol Museum are delighted to present OUTing the Past Dublin 2021: The International Festival of LGBTI+ History from 22 – 28 March 2021, bringing LGBTI+ history to a wider audience in an exciting, inspiring and thought-provoking programme of events.

This year marks two years since the festival’s hugely successful Dublin debut in 2019 at the National Gallery of Ireland. This year, three of the capital’s most popular cultural institutions host events virtually and online.

From a drag story time tour at the National Gallery of Ireland to events exploring clothing as a means of expressing self-identity at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, and speakers from Kilmainham Gaol, OUTing the Past aims to provide a platform for fresh perspectives on and new insights into past attitudes and behaviours related to sexuality and gender.

The Festival launches on Monday 22 March 2021 with the release of a pre-recorded video discussing the history of the LGBT rights movement in Ireland filmed at the historic Kilmainham Gaol. From Tuesday 23 March to Sunday 28 March, the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland will host virtual talks, workshops and webinars as part of the Festival. The Gallery will host a Drag & Draw Workshop inspired by the Gallery’s collection. A pop-up video on the Gallery’s Instagram and talks on topics such as the life of William of Orange and asexual representation in art will also take place. The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History will host a selection of virtual events including ‘It’s What You Wear’, by Trans activist Sara R Phillips, exploring the role that
clothing has played for the trans-community over the past 200 years. Taryn de Vere will explore fashion activism in an interactive virtual workshop.

Kate Drinane of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Education Team commented, “We are so proud that OUTing the Past will be hosted by the National Gallery of Ireland again this year. Three years ago, we launched LGBTQIA+ themed tours of the Gallery to make our national collection more accessible. We work hard every day to make the Gallery an inclusive and relevant space for all. Bringing this
important festival to our spaces again in 2021 is another step in the journey.”

“The National Museum is engaging with the LGBTI+ communities through acquisition, research, events and oral histories, for example the Rainbow Revolution exhibition and events highlighting previously hidden LGBTI+ histories” commented Judith Finlay of the National Museum of Ireland, adding “We are delighted to participate in the OUTing the Past Festival in collaboration with the
National Gallery of Ireland and Kilmainham Gaol and celebrate the strands of LGBTI+ history that weave through our national collections.”

OUTing the Past Dublin 2021 takes place online from Monday 21 March 2021 to Sunday 28 March 2021 across the Kilmainham Gaol, National Gallery of Ireland and National Museum’s websites and social media. Admission to all events is free. Booking is required for some events: see and for details.

Media contacts:
Kate O’Leary, National Gallery of Ireland / [email protected] / 087 334 1587
Brian Houlihan, National Museum of Ireland / [email protected] / 087 4110798
Brian Crowley, Kilmainham Gaol Museum / [email protected] / 086 8079071

Listings information:
Full programme is available here

Notes to Editors:
Images are available on request.
Kate Drinane (Education team, National Gallery of Ireland), Judith Finlay (Registrar, National Museum of Ireland) and Aisling Dunne (Education team, National Museum of Ireland) and Brian Crowley (Curator of Collections, Kilmainham Gaol).

About OUTing the Past:
OUTing the Past: The International Festivals of Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Trans History is an international celebration that comprises of events throughout the year and around the world, and a conference and gathering for academics and activists once a year in February. Find out more at

About the National Gallery of Ireland:
The National Gallery of Ireland is one of the country’s most popular free visitor attractions, housing the nation’s collection of European and Irish art from about 1300 to the present day, and an extensive Library &; Archive. Entry to the collection is free for all
to enjoy, learn and be inspired. Find out more at

About the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks:
Founded in 1877, the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) holds in its care 12,000 years of Ireland’s portable heritage and its natural history and is responsible for the preservation and conservation of the portable heritage of the nation, and to provide public access to the national collections, educate and raise awareness of our culture and history, and undertake academic research. In September 1997 the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History opened in Collins Barracks. For the very first time the National Museum of Ireland, will host part of the 2021 OUTing the Past Festival. In 2019 the NMI unveiled the ‘Rainbow Revolution’, consisting of four new acquisitions that define some of the most memorable recent moments in the Irish LGBTI+ movement. An introduction to Ireland’s LGBTI+ rights movement accompanies this, on interactive touchscreens, with screens in Collins Barracks and Turlough Park.
This history was created in collaboration with key LGBTI+ community historians and archivists, and told through existing LGBTI+ resources, such as the Irish Queer Archive (part of the National Library of Ireland collection), the Irish Trans Archive, the Cork LGBT
Archive, RTE archive, as well as new and existing personal interviews. To expand our record of Irish LGBTI+ history, this also marked the launch of its LGBTI+ Oral History Project, preserving the stories of LGBTI+ history makers. To complement this, the Museum launched the Rainbow trail throughout its Collins Barracks site, highlighting previously hidden LGBTI+ connections within the Museums existing collections, weaving expanding knowledge of our collections to show wide and varied stories each object can tell. To this day it remains, as always, FREE Admission.

About Kilmainham Gaol:
Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the new County Gaol for Dublin. It closed its doors in 1924. Today the building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Kilmainham
Gaol Museum is operated and managed by the Office of Public Works.

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