6 events not to miss at OUTing the Past

, ,

This all-island OUTing the Past festival celebrating LGBTI+ history includes a series of free talks, exhibitions and webinars highlighting lives and stories too often hidden from our past

OUTing the Past is back with a riveting programme illuminating the lives and legacies of artists and activists, and important LGBTQI+ developments.

Taking place at 15 cultural institutions across Ireland, the festival runs from 18 March – 10 April, and includes a mix of online and in-person events.

Here are just some of the fascinating discussions and exhibitions to mark in your diary.

1. Kilmainham Gaol – The Casement Diaries – Authenticity and Homosexual Identity

Renowned human rights campaigner Roger Casement’s sexuality remains a contended issue to this day, over a century after he was executed for treason. Casement’s private diaries, the authenticity of which have never been proven, contain acccounts of illicit liaisons that give a rare insight into the secret sex lives of men in Ireland before the war. The lecture takes place in the atmospheric former courthouse in Kilmainham on Friday 18, March, 6.30pm-8.30pm. Book here.


RFR is a changing exhibition that evolves over a three-week period through a series of public talks, workshops and performances in response to the exhibition The Narrow Gate of the Here-And-Now: Queer Embodiment, to coincide with the OUTing The Past Festival. The RFR initiative is aimed at engaging with LGBTQ+ community groups on a national platform to uncover queer histories and expand their retelling and relevance through artistic interpretation. Through a series of talks, tours, workshops and personal accounts RFR will develop a body of creative responses. Running at IMMA’s project spaces from Wednesday, 23 March – Wednesday 13 April, there is no booking required.

3. National Gallery of Ireland – The tracing the influence of Eileen Gray in a painted folding screen by Mainie Jellett

Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone, two of Ireland’s most significant modernist artists met as art students in London and both moved to Paris in 1921, becoming lifelong artistic partners. The nature of their relationship was never explicit, but investigation of their working practices lays bare their entanglement in the wider community of queerimmigrant artists living in 1920’s Paris. This presentation will examine a case study in that light; a painted folding screen by Mainie Jellett that is currently undergoing conservation at the National Gallery of Ireland. No booking required but space is limited.

4. Butler Gallery Kilkenny – Queer Community in Rural Ireland

Poet and activist Hayley FR presents a personal and community testimony of the transition from urban to rural life in Ireland and illustrates actions that created queer community in isolation. ‘Make Space for Us’ incorporates ephemera, community
records and the poet’s own work to illustrate how community has been identified in some of the most underserved areas of the country.

5. National Museum of Ireland – Country Life – The History of OutWest

Members of OutWest will discuss their origins as well as their support and advocacy work for LGBTI+ people in the West of Ireland. Originally founded in 1997 as Mayo Roscommon Outreach, OutWest is a voluntary group that aims to organise social outings and events several times a year in various venues in the West of Ireland. As well as advocacy and awareness work, OutWest provides educational sessions, to benefit the LGBTI+ community, both in Connacht and on a national level.

6. Museum of Free Derry – The Queering of the Northern Ireland Women’s Movement

Now working on a follow up exhibition to 2020’s Queering the North exhibition, Sara Canning will present the idea for the new exhibition on the queering of the Women’s Movement and discuss the problems of researching and presenting a hidden history. Running at 12.45pm on Saturday, 9 April, book here.