Cork says goodbye to Loafers as Ireland’s oldest gay bar closes

Ted O'Connell and Marcus McCann outside Loafer's Bar on Douglas St, Cork City.

Cork institution Loafer’s, which describes itself as the country’s oldest gay bar, closed its door for the final time last night.

In a post on the bar’s Facebook page yesterday, owner Ted O’Connell wrote: “Well friends. It is with a profound sense of sadness that I have to announce that today will be my last day opening the door of Loafer’s. To say the least I am devastated.”

The bar was opened by Derek Gerrity in 1983, a full 10 years before the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Its website described it as catering “to all members of the spectrum who respect the ethos of the bar which is, simply put, to provide a safe and friendly social environment for the LGBT community and their friends”.

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Mr O’Connell told the Evening Echo: “It’s very, very sad, but today is the last day. We had hoped to be able to host a referendum celebration party later this month as we fight for a yes vote but it will have to be somewhere else.”

He said the bank wanted to have vacant possession as the bar was being sold but said economic factors had also impacted in recent years.

In his Facebook posting, Mr O’Connell announced that for, the rest of yesterday, “we are going to go out with a blast” by making all drinks €3 “till it’s all gone”.

He signed off by thanking all those who had supported Loafer’s over the years.

On social media, past and current patrons of Loafer’s expressed their sadness at its closure. One wrote: “How sad this makes me. Loafers kept me sane and safe when I was young and terrified back in the day. I visit it every time I come home and will miss it. It will leave more than one generation with wonderful memories.”


 

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