I have reletives that live in Belfast I live in Australia I was told not to disclose my sexuality to them when I visisted and i soon worked out why by their comments . After the 3rd trip they worked out I was a lesbian all contact ceased and I know why , so their loss . I feel for any homosexuals living there as it is not accepted nor tolerated .
Lyn, that is very sad to hear, but most of Ireland has advanced hugely in recent years on LGBT rights. Dublin and the other cites now have thriving gay scenes and the final struggle in the Republic of Ireland is now for gay marriage.
That said, there are still many pockets of extreme homophobia, one being by far Northern Ireland which is the most backward part of the island of Ireland (but is in the UK politically) and is very socially backward part of ther developed world (and has so many other problems aside from homophobia) and parts of rural Ireland, like the West where gay men and lesbians can feel isolated and marginalised. No wonder they tend to flock to Dublin where they are accepted.
What this story fails to mention is how sparsely populated the west of Ireland is – Galway; Mayo; Roscommon. With the exception of Galway (population 80,000) there are no urban centres in the region. Gay people tend in Ireland tend to live in Dublin; Cork; Belfast and Limerick. I fully understand how isolated the lives of the gay community must be in these areas. But the reality is that most gay people don’t stay there.
I agree with Patrick and Simon, i think a survey in the UK and most western countries about gay lives in such rural areas would come up with similar results. That’s why most gay people move to cities, and yes Northern Ireland is a universe all of it’s own. But things will get better there!