New plaque erected to honour the Hirschfeld Centre’s legacy

by Shane Dillon
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The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, was joined by Senator David Norris and many of the early organisers and attendees of the Hirschfeld Centre to unveil a commemorative plaque at the Hirschfield Centre in Temple Bar.

The Hirschfeld Centre, named after gay rights reformer Dr Magnus Hirschfeld, opened its doors on March 17, 1979.

The centre was the first full-time lesbian and gay community venue in Ireland, and included a cafe, a small cinema and a disco.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Cllr McAuliffe said: “I am delighted to see this significant cultural centre have a commemorative plaque erected in the year of the 40th anniversary of its opening.

“As the first event in Dublin Pride, it symbolises the vital importance of honouring and remembering the history and level of work that went into fighting for and achieving gay and civil rights.

“Dublin Pride reminds us that these rights must be fought for and we stand beside those countries and states who do not have these rights, and to protect and assist those in our own country who still feel isolated and alone because of their sexual identity.”

Senator Norris said: “When I started the Hirschfeld Centre in 1979, I deliberately named it after Magnus Hirschfeld in order to preserve the memory of this courageous man whose career had been largely obliterated by the Nazis.

“The Hirschfeld Centre – with its restaurant, discotheque, theatre, library, publishing section and counselling service etc – became a hub for the gay community, and led to the revitalisation of the Temple Bar area despite the fact that we were the only group not to receive any funding from central authorities.”

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