Loud and proud

Hav­ing con­ceived the Mother club nights nearly a decade ago, Cor­mac Cash­man has gained more than his fair share of knowl­edge about LGBT cul­ture through­out Dublin and be­yond. He talks to Pe­ter McGo­ran about top clubs, unique ex­hi­bi­tions, and why Pride 2019

Hot Press - - After Dark -

You might not know the man by his face alone, but if you’ve found your­self at some of Dublin’s best club nights these past few years, chances are that Cor­mac Cash­man was the rea­son you were there.

Hav­ing helped es­tab­lish the club and events com­pany Mother back in 2010,

Cor­mac has been at the fore­front of club­bing in Dublin for years and has watched the

LGBT scene bur­geon in the last decade.

“I’ll start with clubs,” he tells us as he sits down for a chat with Best Of Ire­land.

“I’m a nar­cis­sist, so of course I’ll men­tion Mother, which takes place on Satur­days, and Sweat­box, which takes place on Fri­days – both at The Hub.”

Mother is char­ac­terised as an old school club night – in the best pos­si­ble sense, we might add – for gays and their friends. The fo­cus is on “mu­sic and good times”, rather than pre­ten­tious light­ing ef­fects. The mu­sic pol­icy is elec­tronic, synth and all things disco, with DJs Ghost­boy and Kelly Anne Byrne to the fore. Sweat­box, mean­while, has been de­scribed as “Dublin’s best house mu­sic sweat den”, with guest DJs like Ed­die Kay and Rev­eller along­side regulars like Paddy Sc­ahill, DJ Karen Reddy and Au­dio Pi­lots. Both are at 23 Eus­tace St. (Check moth­er­club.ie and facebook.com/sweat­box­dub).

Cor­mac also men­tions a few well es­tab­lished gay favourites.

“Pan­tiBar (7-8 Capel St; pan­tibar.com) is re­ally great for a pint,” he says. “It has a real com­mu­nity feel and ev­ery­one is re­ally friendly and wel­com­ing. On the south side, you have to check out The Ge­orge (89 South Great Ge­orge’s Street; Tel: 01 478 2983, ge­orge.ie). Ev­ery­one knows The Ge­orge – it is iconic in terms of the gay scene in Dublin – and it’s a con­sis­tently great place.”

The Ge­orge styes it­self as The Heart of Gay Ire­land – which is prob­a­bly fair enough. The Sun­day Bingo with Shirley Tem­ple Bar is leg­endary, while theres’s lots of drag shows and con­tests, as well as club nights that go on into the we small hours. With DJ Dev­ina Devine on the decks and glit­terati dancers, Glit­ter Bomb on Fri­day nights is suit­ably OTT if that takes your fancy.

CLUBS FOR ALL SEA­SONS

Cor­mac high­lights a cou­ple of other club nights that are well worth check­ing out.

“Sun­day So­cial in Far­rier & Draper (South Wil­liam St; Tel: 087 756 9916) is great. Like­wise Bukkake in Opium (26 Wick­low St; opium.ie). So, in terms of club­bing and bars, in Dublin right now, there’s a wide choice for LGBT peo­ple to go out.”

Cor­mac also notes that there’s a range of unique ex­hi­bi­tions and cre­ative spa­ces for LGBT peo­ple in the cap­i­tal.

“Spice­bag (facebook.com/pg/

spice bag per­for­mance night) should al­ways get a men­tion,” he says.

In a clas­sic t of min­i­mal­ist un­der­state­ment, Spice­bag – founded by Stephen Quinn and the ame-haired Saragh Dev­ereaux (aka The Dirt­bird) – de­scribes it­self as “a queer per­for­mance night and dance party for suc­cu­lent mis ts, fab­u­lous amers, daz­zling dykes, trans ce­les­tial trav­ellers, bi­sex­ual bik­ers, asex­ual agony aunts, cock gob­lins, hoop trolls, Na­dine Coyle, that chicken llet roll from last night you woke up with on your pil­low.”

“It’s a fun and dif­fer­ent night out,” Cor­mac laughs. “I re­ally love it and it’s made a big im­pres­sion on the scene. In layper­son’s terms, it’s a va­ri­ety show, hosted by these two comic ge­niuses. And you’d have a line-up of cre­ative peo­ple which changes all the time. So for one event, there might be an opera singer, then at an­other there might be a per­for­mance piece, or a dancer. Or there’ll be po­etry or spo­ken word. It’s a real col­lec­tive–a mish-mash of in­ter­est­ing queer­ness and cre­ative bril­liance. It’s also hosted in the Dublin Work­ing Man’s Club (which is in a lane off Capel Street), so it’s also dif­fer­ent to your nor­mal set-up.”

Cor­mac also bigs up Glit­terHOLE (facebook. com/ glit­ter hole dublin )– which is“a DIY drag col­lec­tive, a queer per­for­mance space and a bit of a laugh” with events in Jig­saw, 10 Belvedere Court; Club Com­fort (facebook. com/cclub­com­fort), a monthly Dublin­based “party and spir­i­tual com­mu­nity”; and Trans Live Art Saloon (facebook.com/ trans live art saloon )– a col­lec­tive of trans and gen­der non-con­form­ing artists, based in Dublin, es­tab­lished in 2016 to – among other things – “el­e­vate trans voices in art and the me­dia, and to change nar­ra­tives around trans folk.”

“They’re all fan­tas­tic, unique events,” Cor­mac says.

THRIV­ING OUT­SIDE DUBLIN

Cor­mac notes that the LGBT scene is thriv­ing through­out Ire­land. Even in ru­ral ar­eas, things have im­proved hugely. And the same goes for North­ern Ire­land de­spite the fact that gay rights con­tinue to be lim­ited and same sex mar­riage re­mains il­le­gal, as a re­sult of re­li­gious con­ser­vatism and the DUP’s cur­rent dom­i­nance over the po­lit­i­cal agenda.

“There’s a lot of great places through­out Ire­land with thriv­ing LGBT scenes,” says Cor­mac. “I think it’s im­por­tant that we look be­yond Dublin, be­cause it’s in the smaller cities, and in the ru­ral ar­eas and around the coun­try that queer spa­ces can be­come the most vul­ner­a­ble. Of­ten times, queer venues are the rst to close in these ar­eas, and that can have a real ef­fect on LGBT peo­ple who live there.

“As you can imag­ine, I haven’t been ev­ery­where in Ire­land, but I have been to some re­ally great places in re­cent years. I’m think­ing of Mav­er­ick (1 Union St; Tel: 0044 289094 2049) in Belfast; and Club Gass in the Roisin Dubh (9 Do­minick St Up­per; Tel: 091 586 540) in Gal­way.”

Mav­er­ick is in Belfasts’s Queer Quar­ter, and was billed as “a rad­i­cal al­ter­na­tive” when it opened. Sun­day Ser­vice is a big night of drag cabaret, com­edy and karaoke; and Wed­nes­days sees “bearded beauty” Ross lead a ‘hairoke’ ses­sion in high heels.

The Gay Quar­ter is lo­cated in the city’s Smith eld and Union Quar­ter area, north of the city cen­tre, on the edge of the Cathe­dral Quar­ter, with Krem­lin (96 Done­gall St.) and Union Street Bar (8-14 Union Street) among the es­sen­tial stop-offs.

“There’s also a re­ally thriv­ing scene at the mo­ment in Cork, with a lot of great nights there.”

It’s worth check­ing out Cham­bers Bar, Wash­ing­ton Street, which is open late from Wed­nes­day to Sun­day. They do themed nights, drag shows and lots more be­sides. And The Loft, Con­nell Street, close to Lapps Quay, is also men­tioned in dis­patches.

AN UN TOLD STORY

Here at Best Of Ire­land, we’re also look­ing ahead to per­haps the big­gest ever Pride in Dublin (June 20-29) this year. Cor­mac Cash­man em­pha­sises that this an­nual event is still a vi­tally im­por­tant date, in terms of un­der­stand­ing and cel­e­brat­ing the LGBT com­mu­nity.

“Pride is still a state­ment of vis­i­bil­ity and re­spect,” he re ects. “It’s about con­tin­u­ing to echo the marches of the past and re­mem­ber­ing the rea­son why this was such an im­por­tant event. The mar­riage ref­er­en­dum showed us that the ma­jor­ity of Ir­ish peo­ple have our back, but I’d also like to say that we need to re­mem­ber how im­por­tant trans rights are at this time. That’s go­ing to be a fo­cus in the years to come.”

Cor­mac Cash­man will play a big part in mak­ing this year’s Dublin Pride an even big­ger oc­ca­sion.

“For the Mother Block Party this year, we’ve man­aged to se­cure Collins Bar­racks (Ar­ran Quay; mu­seum.ie) for our venue,” he re­veals. “It’s a real up­grade on our pre­vi­ous venue. We’ve been run­ning the party for nine years now and it’s just grown to a fes­ti­val-sized event. We’ve got such a solid line-up this year as well, with the likes of Pil­low Queens, Daithí and MØ. I’m re­ally happy with it. And we’ve got such an his­toric site as well. I’ve been go­ing to Collins Bar­racks since I was a kid and I have so many mem­o­ries of it, so it means a lot to me to think that we’re go­ing to be host­ing a re­ally big LGBT party there. The city’s go­ing to come alive this year – I can’t wait for ev­ery­one to come along and join us.”

Meanzwhile, for those look­ing to learn more about LGBT cul­ture and his­tory in Dublin, Cor­mac shares a few rec­om­men­da­tions.

“The queer leg­end that is Tonie Walsh does a re­ally great walk­ing tour called An Un­told Story (Airbnb.ie/ex­pe­ri­ences/64516), which takes peo­ple through the so­cial, cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal life of LGBT Dublin.

“Then you have GCN – Gay Com­mu­nity

News mag­a­zine – which is a free mag­a­zine avail­able in all gay bars here across the city. It usu­ally has listings for queer stuff go­ing on through­out the city. You’d also have Out­house (105 Capel St; Tel: 01 873 4932; out­house.ie) which is a Com­mu­nity Re­source Cen­tre for LGBT peo­ple. There’s a café as part of it as well – and there’s a re­ally rich his­tory there!”

“There’s a lot of great places through­out Ire­land with thriv­ing LGBT scenes.”

COR­MAC C ASHMAN

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