QueerBash – A Paddy McHugh Legacy

QueerBash all began in 2004 when Paddy McHugh RIP, the then President of  OutinUL Society decided to take the words Queer and Bash and make it into something positive for the gay community and also the event was to bring together the whole student community of UL whether you where Gay, Straight, Bi-sexual, Lesbian, Transgender or Questioning. I have been told that the naming of the event caused quite a stir in both Gay and Straight communities at the time. To me I feel it was a master stroke by an exceptional  man who unfortunately I only had the pleasure once of meeting in passing and never got to know well, I will just have to rely on the knowledge of those close to him. Here is some words from some people who knew Paddy:

Mike Toomey and Lorraine Curham, OutinUL Co-Presidents 2008-9, state that Paddy’s favourite drink was Bombay Sapphire and tonic and he loved Irish music and dance and loved the “shock” factor. He was a really out and proud guy and didn’t put up with any crap…frightened the hell outta ya when you met him first.

Breandán Ó Héamhaigh, OutinUL former committee member, states that Paddy was someone who was unique, there was only one of him. He was incapable of being quiet, and never one for being a wallflower. He just loved a good argument, and a nice drink, and really disliked the Church, which led to lots of fun discussions. I’ll never forget being a 1st year, in the closet, and seeing His posters for QueerBash. It was controversial to say the least, as was OutinUL at the time and the more conservative people were shocked by the posters, and Christian Union went mad!
Paddy protested the Blood Bank every year, and dragged the Union into it but his work with OutinUL was special, because it was his work with Out in UL which made the Campus what it is today, he was the screaming queen with the big attitude, and the well hidden heart… And his attitude, and love of shocking people into submission forced the campus community to acknowledge that there were gay people on Campus, and brought a lot of straight people out to support anything he was involved in for the society. His work paved the way for the work Out in UL do today, and Queerbash is his legacy to us, that we really should keep alive!

Derrick Howard states that eight years ago a good friend of mine, Paddy McHugh (founder and then president of Out in UL) came to me with a big box of flyers of two men in leather pants holding hands. They were advertising his latest idea a big night out that would bring together the straight community in UL, the gay community in Limerick and of course Out in UL. And he wanted me to “put one in every letterbox in Castletroy” – I was a little worried about the residents of Elm park, etc might think, but we did it and generally got a positive response. Apart from one resident who I went head to head with on Live 95fm – She ended up sounding ridiculous – it was great!! It was a mental night – too much fun and far too much vodka! It’s with great joy that I see its still going on, and in its 8th year! I understand exactly the amount of work and organisation that goes into a night like Queerbash. We lost Paddy last summer to his battle with cancer but I know he’d be very proud to see OutinUL continuing on what I now see as he’s legacy! I don’t think I’ll make it back for QB8 but who knows maybe number 9! Wishing you every success with Queerbash and beyond!!!

QueerBash – A Paddy McHugh legacy.

By Greg Cooling

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