2023 Rainbow River Swim Parade will mark the 30 year anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland and will kick-off the Pride festivities on Saturday, June 24. Pictured at the launch were Dan Lawless, Limerick Pride Committee, Richard Lynch, PRO Limerick Pride, Lisa Daly, Chairperson Limerick Pride, Marie King, Bus Eireann, who partnered with Limerick Pride for the event, Cllr Olivia O’Sullivan, Andrew Duhig, Chairperson Currogher Boat Club (back) with Jason DePaor, Limerick Pride Committee and Jean Sparling and Brian Dillon, Limerick Narwhals (front). Picture: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick
The 2023 Rainbow River Swim Parade will mark the 30 year anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland and will kick-off the Pride festivities on Saturday, June 24
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 we wanted to acknowledge this so our 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 groups 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,” said Mark, continuing, “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!”
This year’s Limerick Pride has a host of events in what promises to be one of the biggest Limerick LGBTQ Pride Festivals yet with the official festival kicking off on Monday, July 3, the Rainbow River Swim Parade will be one event building up to the festival which Lisa says wouldn’t be possible without festival sponsors.
Lisa Daly said, “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.”
Marie King, Bus Eireann added, “Bus Eireann are delighted to partner with Limerick Pride for the Rainbow Swim on a very important date for the community in Limerick and the wider community around the country. We are supporting event nationwide this year as diversity and social inclusion are extremely important to everyone at Bus Eireann.”