Rainbow Revolution

The Rainbow Revolution Exhibition displays a series of new artefacts that define some of the most memorable moments in the LGBTI+ movement in recent years


Panti Bliss - Noble Call Dress, & Wedding dresses of Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan. These objects will be temporarily on display in Rainbow Revolution before moving to “Exhibiting the nation”

The National Museum of Ireland is participating in the Pride celebrations in 2019 for the first time.

The Rainbow Revolution Exhibition displays a series of new artefacts that define some of the most memorable moments in the LGBTI+ movement in recent years, the Museum will also be launching a new trail throughout its the National Museum of Ireland- Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks site highlighting noteworthy members of the LGBTI+ community from early mythology to current day, and a poignant video series of oral histories gathered from members of Ireland’s LGBTI+ community.

Porcelain figure of Guanyin, a figure in Chinese Buddhism. On display at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks.

New LGBTI+ artefacts to be unveiled to the public

The new artefacts derived from recent contemporary collecting, which will go on public display for the first time on June 28th, are as follows:

  • Panti’s dress – worn when delivering her famous ‘Noble Call’ speech in the Abbey Theatre in 2014. The speech, about homophobia in Ireland, helped to start the national conversation on same-sex marriage ahead of the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015.
     

The wedding dresses of Minister Katherine Zappone and her wife Ann Louise Gilligan, worn at their wedding ceremony at Dublin Castle in 2016, 8 months after Dublin Castle had been the site of large celebrations when Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Sword was carried by William III at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. On display at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks

  • The Rainbow Flag, a symbol of LGBTI+ Pride, used by activist Conor Kelly to counter protest against extreme pro-life groups demonstrating outside Irish hospitals during the Repeal the 8th Campaign in 2018.

LGBTI+ storytelling through video

Videos telling the stories of LGBTI+ people in Ireland are on display on 4 screens around Collins Barracks, and also in the National Museum of Ireland’s - Country Life, Turlough Park.  These include the oral histories of some 42 people, many of them previously unseen, which were captured by RTE film-maker Edmund Lynch in 2013 for his documentary, A Different Country. Many of those interviewed are household names, and aged between 50 and 80, and they share their experience of growing up LGBTI+ in Ireland. Amongst the well-known people featured are Nell McCafferty, Lydia Foy, Ailbhe Smyth, and Tonie Walsh.

The NMI has also commenced the collection of new oral histories, to record the full and complex history of LGBTI+ life and the rights movement in Ireland. It is inviting people to volunteer for interview by emailing LGBT@museum.ie

This French modernist evening coat was worn by Gray and is on display in our permanent Eileen Gray exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland: Decorative Arts & History

Rainbow Revolution Trail

A new ‘Rainbow Revolution Trail’ is now open to the public. Visitors to the National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks will be provided with a map and encouraged to explore what is the first historical trail at the Museum focusing on LGBTI+ history through the centuries and throughout its galleries, from early history to 17th century warfare, from the LGBTI+ men and women of the Irish revolutions to 20th century design icons, and the recent campaigns for equality in Irish law.  Amongst the historic LGBTI+ figures that will be represented in the trail are the Greek God Hercules, Dr Kathleen Lynn and Elizabeth O’Farrell, who were active in the 1916 Rising, Roger Casement, and designer Eileen Gray. 

Details of the Rainbow Revolution Trail