Ireland for Gays & Lesbians You'll find that Ireland is very welcoming of gays and lesbians
This subject has been brought up occasionally from a few clients who have had confided in me that they are gay or lesbian and had reservations about traveling to Ireland due to the conservative nature of their culture. Despite same-sex marriage in the US and marriage equality in Ireland, the subject is still a concern from prospective clients.
Kudos for coming out to us -- you'll find it makes our job much easier and also ensures that you get the information you need to enjoy your holiday in Ireland! Regardless of where you travel, it's good to have a gay travel agency available to make sure your travels are safe.
From the owner: I gay and have traveled to Enchanting Ireland many times with my partner, even getting engaged on the Cliffs of Moher in 2002 (I did the proposing... and if the answer was no, over he went!) So, this information comes to you from someone who doesn't seek out the "gay scene" everywhere I go but have taken in the nightlife in Dublin and Galway on occasion. We now travel with our daughter, born 2010, and have friends we must visit on each trip. You'll get first-hand experiences on how to handle traveling in Ireland with your partner and discover just how welcoming the Irish are.
Irish B&Bs for Gays & Lesbians
Rather than the added expense of hotels, I always used the Ireland Bed and Breakfast Vouchers throughout, saving a nice bundle. In 2000 I began traveling with my partner (now husband!) and we still took advantage of these low-cost, comfortable accommodations.
"We're a gay couple. What about requesting one bed in and Irish B&B?"
I was nervous about this on my first trip with Bob however everything worked out just fine and we didn't have a problem, including those B&Bs where I've stayed numerous times, making friends with the owner. As with everything we deal with, it comes down to making a few adjustments to make everyone happy...
When calling your B&B and asking for your room, you really have three choices:
- Ask for a twin - Twins are two beds for two people. More than likely, the room will contain two double beds ... and you only need one! Convenient!
- Ask for a double - You'll have no problem if they have a double available but when you arrive you may be greeted with surprise and offered a twin if they have it available. It's happened to me and I've taken the twin, which had two double beds anyway.
- Ask for a twin or double - Accept whatever you get, knowing that most twins contain two double beds.
I've never been treated differently by the B&B owners with two men traveling together -- nothing but a pleasant experience and I continue to do the B&B tour each year we go.
2012 Update: Gay Travelers Are Very Welcome
Over the years we have seen not just a change in Irish attitudes toward gay and lesbian travelers but we've also experienced it first-hand, from our engagement/commitment ceremony to the adoption of our beautiful daughter Clare (after County Clare and her grandmother!)
We had been staying at a B&B in Galway for a few years in a row and after one of our visits the owner, Mary, pulled me into the kitchen to show me something... but what she really wanted to say was, "I see you both have rings - did you get married?" Before I could finish my "Yes.", she was down the hall yelling to my partner, "Congratulations!" It took him off guard quite a bit because we had never formally come out to Mary, fearing we'd lose the friendship we were developing. Again, our own fear and Mary dispelled all of that. In fact, when we adopted our daughter, Mary sent a silver Claddagh bracelet as soon as she found out -- an amazing gift that we cherish... and we made sure we popped in when we took Clare on her first trip to Ireland.
This story is repeated over-and-over again with our friend Becky in Doolin, Raymond and Florence in Ballylickey as well as Maya and Gene in Glengarrif... and of course Catherine in Dublin. We've found that our sexual orientation just doesn't matter -- it's who we are that matters.
This past year we have sent many gay couples to Ireland and the response has been amazing -- not one complaint or awkward feeling from anyone.
"I was honestly really surprised - there was not even one of those uncomfortable moments. I wish it weren't so, but I'm pretty sensitive to them while traveling. Even with a pit stop in the tiniest place, there wasn't even one. It was really amazing that way." - Jeff S. 2012
We make it a point to reach out to our clients after their return to ensure that their trip was a success and we dig a little deeper with our gay and lesbian clients with regard to their comfort and safety. The above quote was from a September 2012 trip and shows how great Ireland is for gay and lesbian travelers.