Written by Orla Egan
Loafers Bar was opened in 1983 by Derrick Gerety and closed down on 4th May 2015. The closure was announced that day with a post on the Loafer’s FaceBook page:
In an interview with the Cork Evening Echo, Ted O’Connell, proprietor of Loafers, said the premises was under a lease, but that the building is now being sold and the bank wants vacant possession.
The closure was widely reported in other newspaper reports and on social media.
The announcement was greeted with sadness and shock by the Cork LGBT community and the wider community. Loafers has been a key part of the LGBT community since it opened in 1983, providing an invaluable space for the community to meet, engage and play.
View the speeches made as the bar was about to close:
The day before the closure Loafers hosted the annual Pub Quiz as part of the Cork Women’s Fun Weekend. My team, the Orgasmic Bananas, won the coveted Golden Barbie, despite several attempts to steal her.
In response to the announced closure members of the community gathered in Loafers. Many of us were saddened and stunned to think that this was the last time we would be in Loafers. It has been our space for so long that it is difficult to think that it will no longer be there. As my 9 year old son commented, “it is our favourite bar, it’s the rainbow bar.”
On the last evening in Loafers the pub was visited by the Cork Garda LGBT Liaison Officer Karl Griffin and his colleague. They just called in to say goodbye to Ted and the staff, a clear indication of the positive relationship between the LGBT community and the local Gardai.
Some reactions to the closure of Loafers:
Rachel: “Shocking news!”
Damien: “Loafers is iconic to all of us and today is a very very sad day. But amazing memories will always exist of the most amazing bar that welcomed each and every patron and treated us not like a business but like friends and extended family x”
Suzanne: “Devastated it’s closed, met the love of my life there, best memories with all my friends in there, so gonna miss it xx
John: “It is a real shame. A true institution. Wasn’t there very often but it was a bar synonymous with Cork’s egalitarian ethos way before such tolerance was common in Ireland.”
Kenneth: “Oh no….that’s made me very sad…I worked there for 5 years when I was in college, I even lived upstairs for a while! It will be so strange to come home and not be able to pop in for a pint.”
Maria: “So sorry to hear this – very sad indeed.”
Christy: “When I feel down and low going to Loafers help me a lot – seeing good friends and knowing that I am not alone – I will miss that so much.”
Siobhan: “Such a loss to the community – and truly symptomatic of the economic climate. I remember nervously approaching Loafers as a 19 year old during my coming out phase, terrified and excited all at once. The sense of belonging that grew from there was just so comforting. And 20 years later I came back to that spot to reconnect with this community. It’s just so sad that our queerspace is no more.”
Below is a selection of photographs of the last day in Loafers:
More photos from the Women’s Fun Weekend pub quiz in Loafers on 3 May 2015 – Thanks to Caz Gethings for permission to use her fabulous photos: