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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C

David Norris: The Hirschfeld Centre revolutionised Temple Bar in 1979 - it deserves a commemorative plaque

Senator David Norris on the legacy of the Hirschfeld Centre, which burned down. / YouTube

RUINED BY A fire in the late 1980s, the Hirschfeld Centre had been the first LGBT community space in Dublin and was a home away from home for many young people.

Containing a restaurant, cinema, library and counselling rooms, on weekends it was also home to the Flikkers nightclub. The centre was integral to the development of gay culture in Dublin. 

It was opened on St Patrick’s Day 1979, and funded by Senator David Norris. Speaking to at the site the veteran campaigner said the centre kickstarted the transformation of Temple Bar.

We ran discos not just for gay people – but for women’s issues, for environmental issues…[the centre] brought young people into this area, they saw the possibility and took short-terms leases and opened up second-hand clothes shops.

The centre was attacked several times, Norris recalled. There was even an attempted bombing at one point. 

In response to a campaign from the senator, Dublin City Council has agreed to place a plaque at the site on Fownes Street where the centre once stood. Norris said it hadn’t been placed there yet – but that he was looking forward to its unveiling. 

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