Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result

And if the referendum passes the party will only get bigger

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A big party has started in Dublin as the polls near their close in the world’s first-ever referendum on same-sex marriage.

Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon but many in the capital started the party early. Bars and clubs across the city were hosting post-vote parties to celebrate the historic poll.

The Bernard Shaw bar in the centre of the capital was holding a “Vote Yes & Party” night. “We’re opening our party arms to all of you who vote Yes for marriage equality across this country of ours” its website declared. “You go down to the polling station and vote YES, then come boogie with us!”

Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon

Meanwhile, in a mystery location, Celebration on Equality Street was expected to see revellers take to the streets in a secret quarter of the city whose location was sent to ticket holders. Kieran Doyle, 40, and his partner Ciaran Keating, 33, were emotional as they came out of the Francis Street polling station this morning. Mr Doyle, a psychiatric nurse, said: “We had a civil partnership two years ago but we’d like to turn it into a marriage. I’m one of nine children and all of my siblings are married. I want to be able to say I’m married too.”


The pair were planning to spend the weekend partying, regardless of the result. “We’ve made plans to go The George [Dublin’s most famous gay bar] in the afternoon and a friend is having a house party in the evening. They’ll be a lot of people with big hangovers.”

Irish nationals arrive by ferry at Dublin to vote on whether same-sex marriage should become legal

With no exit poll expected, Dubliners who voted Yes were going out with no idea of the result. For many, the night was about having a chance to reward months of campaigning. Club Lafayette was hosting an election special Crush lesbian night. Its organisers posted: “You have canvassed in the rain, broken world records, queued to register, made videos, took pics, ran fundraisers… And we are damn proud of you! Come and have a chill and dance with us , you deserve it!”

If the referendum passes the party will only get bigger. Special club nights combining a celebration and Eurovision screenings are planned at several gay bars tonight.

Support for the Yes vote is strongest in Dublin. Writer Hugh Travers, 33, and his film producer wife, Claire McCaughley, 33, were voting in central Dublin. Mr Travers said: “We voted Yes. It’s generally about equality but also for friends we know that are gay. We got married last summer and there were friends celebrating with us that at the moment don’t have the same right to marry.”

Ms McCaughley said: “We were 11 when homosexuality was legalised. In secondary school you didn’t know a gay person even though there were probably 1,000 pupils, because people didn’t feel able to say it.”