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

A rainbow flag with OUTing the Past, Dublin 2020 on it

Please note: OUTing the Past was unfortunately cancelled due to the closure of national cultural institutions in March 2020.

Festival of LGBT history comes to Dublin in March 2020

The National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland-Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks and Kilmainham Gaol Museum are delighted to present OUTing the Past Dublin 2020: The International Festival of LGBTI+ History on 20 – 22 March 2020, bringing LGBTI+ history to a wider audience with an exciting, inspiring and thought-provoking programme of events.  

Following the festival’s hugely successful Dublin debut in 2019 at the National Gallery of Ireland, this year sees three of the capital’s most popular cultural institutions host events across the city.

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 a keynote lecture at 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 opens at the historic Kilmainham Gaol on Friday 20 March with Sexual Identity, Authenticity and the Casement Diaries, a lecture with Jeffrey Dudgeon, Northern Irish politician, historian, gay activist and distinguished author of Roger Casement: The Black Diaries.

On Saturday 21 March, the National Gallery of Ireland plays host to the Festival. A Drag Story Time Tour with personal drag guides creates stories and games based on queer works of art in the national collection. Gender.RIP’s Conspiracy Workshop allows the public to conspire about what a queer gallery looks like, and how spaces can be taken over. The concept of the asexuality and its impact among artistic communities over time is discussed by Aoife Convery at Asexual Representation, while Clare Geraghty explores hip-hop as an expressive medium born out of underground transitional networks at Hip Hop Feminism: Queers of Colour and Strategies for Resistance. At pop-up talk The Faithful Underground, Dr Richard O’Leary draws on documents from the Irish Queer Archive, personal oral testimony and never before seen photographic evidence to tell the story of Gay Christians in Ireland. Kris Reid of Historic Royal Palaces talks challenging the status quo by queering the stories in places of 'power' at Queering the Castle. Drag & Draw, a life drawing class with drag performers as models, takes over the Grand Gallery.

The final day of the Festival takes place at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks on Sunday 22 March and features events including Esther & Oscar, author Denis Kehoe’s exploration of clothing as a means of expressing self-identity. Clothing is also explored in ‘It’s What You Wear’, by trans activist Sara R Phillips, who looks at the role clothing has played for the trans-community over the past 200 years. Taryn de Vere talks about her experiences as a fashion activist (with pieces now part of the Museum’s collection) and as a mother of a trans child. Schulze Rainer discusses the significance of the “Pink Triangle” for LGBTQI+ History and Political Activism and visual artist Bríd Murphy introduces the ‘Iam-CAMP’ Project, a video and sound installation created in collaboration with Darren Collins, a Traveller and LGBTI+ activist, which is currently on display at Collins Barracks. The Festival concludes with a live music performance from some very special guests to be announced.

Kate Drinane of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Education Team commented, “We are so proud that OUTing the Past will be at the National Gallery of Ireland again this year. Two 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 2020 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 NGI and Kilmainham Gaol and celebrate the strands of LGBTI+ history that weave through our national collections.”

OUTing the Past Dublin 2020 takes place at Kilmainham Gaol on Friday 20 March 2020, the National Gallery of Ireland on Saturday 21 March 2020 and the National Museum of Ireland on Sunday 22 March 2020. Admission to all events is free. Booking is required for some events in Kilmainham Gaol and the National Museum of Ireland: please see nationalgallery.ie and museum.ie for details.


Listings information:
20 March 2020 (Kilmainham Gaol)
Admission free; booking required.


Opening reception and keynote lecture

Sexual Identity, Authenticity and the Casement Diaries

Jeffrey Dudgeon


21 March 2020 (National Gallery of Ireland)
Admission free; no booking required.


Opening remarks

Sinéad Rice (Head of Education, National Gallery of Ireland)


Presentations by LGBTQIA+ Young People and their Allies



Hip Hop Feminism: Queers of Colour and Strategies for Resistance

Clare Geraghty


Pop-up talk

The Faithful Underground: A Cross-border fairy picnic, 1990

Dr Richard O'Leary



Drag Story-Time Tour

Ben Panthera & Avoca Reaction


Film screening



Pop-up talk

Asexual Representation

Aoife Convery



Drag & Draw Drop-In Workshop

Drag & Draw      



Gender.RIP Conspiracy Workshop

Alber Saborio



Queering the Castle

Kris Reid

22 March 2020 (National Museum of Ireland-Decorative Arts & History)
Admission free; booking required.



Lynn Scarff (Director, National Museum of Ireland)


Opening keynote lecture

Queer Eye for the Museum

Dan Vo



Reclaiming the Link with the Past:

The Importance of the “Pink Triangle” for LGBTIQ History and Political Activism

Rainer Schulze



Fashion as LGBTQI+ Activism

Taryn de Vere


Video & sound installation

Iam; CAMP Project

Bríd Murphy & Darren Collins



It’s What You Wear

Sara R Phillips 


Closing event

Musical performance with some very special guests

Additional events happening at National Museum of Ireland on 22 March 2020 in line with OUTing Past:
Admission free; drop-in events; no booking required.



Esther & Oscar at Collins Barracks

Denis Kehoe



Rainbow Workshop

Fala Buggy

Notes to Editors:

  • Images are available on request.
  • Available for interview are: Kate Drinane (Education team, National Gallery of Ireland); Judith Finlay (Registrar, National Museum of Ireland) and Aisling Dunne (Education team, National Museum of Ireland); 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 outingthepast.com.

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 2020 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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