An American in Dublin: Exploring Gay Life Over the Rainbow

12.3.2013

By Jeffrey Hartinger

Relaxed and well-read Irish gays are far removed from their American counterparts, finds one writer visiting the Emerald Isle.

When I arrived in Ireland, a wave of anxiety swept over me as I made my way through the airport. I wasn’t anxious because I was traveling by myself, or because it was my first time in a foreign country alone, but because I was disconnecting from social media and communication with family and friends for a week. And maybe I was a little anxious because I’ve always been attracted to gay Irish men. Well, gay Irish-American men.

As a freelance journalist who also works full-time in social media, I wouldn’t classify myself as “dependent,” but like a majority of American Millennials, social media has been engrained into my work and personal life for the past few years. I wanted to experience Ireland for the reasons I was drawn to the country in the first place: the talkative nature of the inhabitants; the beautiful streets that crisscross throughout Dublin; the picturesque countryside.

It wasn’t a priority of mine to dart into a café for free Wi-Fi so everyone could know I had just spent the entire day in a pub listening to music. However, it was a priority to chat with the locals about politics and religion and the LGBT experience. And to have a few pints in the process.

Due to the time difference and the fact that I couldn’t check into my hostel early, I ended up being awake for around 24 hours. I stayed at Generator Hotel Dublin in Northwest Dublin — a beautiful, massive place filled with many tourists in their early 20s and large families looking for a group deal. Although it was central and a relatively cheap travel package (I paid $810 for a round-trip flight from New York City to Dublin, six nights in a hostel, and airport shuttle service through a deal on gay-friendly Expedia), I learned that I’d rather pay the extra money for a private hotel room.

When your friends or travel companions wake you up at 7 a.m. while on vacation, it’s easy to say, “shut the fuck up,” and then roll over back to sleep. At least for me it is. That’s not necessarily the case when your sharing your room with seven other people and you’re traveling alone — although I did come pretty close to losing my shit a few mornings. That being said, I didn’t quite stay in my hostel every single night.

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