May 26, 2021

The Queen of Ireland

2015 | Documentary | Runtime: 1 hour 25 minutes | English

Part glamorous aunt, part Jessica Rabbit, Panti Bliss is a wittily incisive performer who is widely regarded as one of the best drag queens in the world. Created by Rory O’ Neill, Panti is in her own words 'a court jester, whose role is to say the un-sayable' and in recent years, has become a figurehead for LGBT rights in Ireland and was a figurehead in Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum in 2015.

Ireland’s historic referendum was started by the incisive performer when she called out the systemic homophobia prevalent in Irish media. The Queen of Ireland documents the ensuing ‘panti-gate’ and the rise of Panti Bliss from drag performer to national figurehead for LGBTQ rights.

Within mainstream media, Rory O'Neill and his drag alter-ego Panti Bliss are commentators on the fringes, standing on the outside, looking in and saying the unsayable. Conor Horgan's five years in the making documentary follows Rory's journey of self-discovery against the backdrop of Ireland's 2015 referendum on marriage equality.

The Queen of Ireland is the first feature documentary from director Conor Horgan, whose feature debut One Hundred Mornings was met with critical acclaim and the Special Mention Award at Slamdance 2010.

A post-screening discussion featured Rory O'Neill (Panti Bliss) in conversion with Anna McCarthy, Professor and Chair of Cinema Studies at NYU. There was a video introduction by director Conor Horgan.

A program introduction was provided by Solas Nua’s Kate Meenan-Waugh.

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Conor Horgan

Conor Horgan

Conor Horgan is an Irish photographer, filmmaker and visual artist. Equally happy on location and in the studio, he enjoys connecting with all kinds of people from all sorts of backgrounds; whether it be working on a commission, an experimental film or shooting a story in a distant country. He also works as a screenwriter and film director, and bring these narrative skills to bear when telling stories through stills, motion, the written word or a combination of all three.

Anna McCarthy

Anna McCarthy

Anna McCarthy is Professor and Chair of Cinema Studies at NYU. She edits the online site for the academic journal Social Text. Her books include Ambient TelevisionMediaSpace, and The Citizen Machine: Governing by Television in 1950s America. She also writes fiction, and recently published an essay on Ireland's longest running television program, The Angelus. 

Panti Bliss

Panti Bliss

Panti is considered to be Ireland's foremost drag queen. From 1996 to 2012, Panti was the hostess of the annual Alternative Miss Ireland pageant. Panti regularly hosts the annual Dublin Pride celebrations, which take place in the month of June every year.