The 2023 Rainbow River Swim Parade will mark the 30 year anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland

  • Limerick Pride press launch. Photo Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick

This year’s Limerick LGBTQ Pride Festival, running from Monday, July 3 until Sunday, July 9 with the Parade on Saturday, July 8 marks the 30th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts between men in Ireland and the group wanted to acknowledge this so this 2023 theme this year is ‘United in Solidarity’.

On Saturday, June 24, the Rainbow River Swim Parade will mark the 30 year anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland and will kick-off the Pride festivities from 10am from Curraghgour Boat Club with over 80 swimmers from Limerick swimming group Limerick Narwhals taking to the river followed by over sailing boats, paddle boats and kayaks in a celebration of Pride on the River Shannon.

Lisa Daly, Chairperson of Limerick Pride said,

“This year is especially important to our community as it’s the 30th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland and we wanted to acknowledge this so our theme this year is ‘United in Solidarity’. When we march up O’Connell Street on Saturday, July 8, we will be marching in honour of our brothers and sisters who came before us and laid the path for our freedom. We want to spotlight and celebrate the power and resiliency of our community. There is something for everyone culminating in the annual Pride Parade on Saturday, July 8 and the PrideFest party directly after the Parade at the Hunt Museum.”

Mark Dempsey, Limerick Narwhals, said the group's involvement came about when they were approached by Lisa Daly and Jim Lawless in the build up to Virtual Pride in 2021.

“They came up with a great idea where we can swim, we could pick up swimming, then when they said it would be the only swim of Pride outside of Amsterdam, in the world, that kind of went ‘oh yeah, Narwhals love doing their things first’ so we all got together, and now we’re here again.”

Lisa Daly added,

“It’s great to be teamed up with the swimmers again, and to get everyone out in the water and celebrate Limerick City, River Shannon is the heartbeat of Limerick City, so why not get it pulsing with all the rainbows in it! We are so grateful for everyone who supports Limerick LGBTQ Pride Festival year-on-year, and we are so happy to have the support of local and national organisations, we would like to thank Bus Éireann for supporting the Rainbow River Swim Parade.”

Sign up for the event here.

Pictured at the Launch of Limerick LGBTQ Pride Festival 2023 were Mark Dempsey, Limerick Narwhals, Lisa Daly, Chairperson Limerick Pride, Richard Lynch, Limerick Pride PRO. Picture: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk