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We’re running a contest to giveaway a free stay during The Outing Festival in Co. Clare! This prominent festival, held every year around Valentine’s weekend, is just one of the ways in which Blacknight proudly supports the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the arts in Ireland. This year’s festival will feature a new LGBTQ+ film festival.  The Outing Festival began in 2012 by Queen of matchmaking, Eddie McGuinness, and was an off-shoot of the traditional Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking festival with a new twist on old traditions. In 2019 after seven years in Lisdoonvarna, it moved to a beautiful new location, on the grounds of Dromoland Castle, at the sister hotel; ‘The Inn at Dromoland’.  Now in its tenth year, the volunteer-led festival’s mission is to celebrate the diverse culture of the LGBTQ+ community by providing Ireland with various activities to promote and engage in matchmaking, queer arts, music, sports, educational, civic, and cultural activities in order to enrich the lives of LGBTQ+ people and the community as a whole, and to work together to achieve a common goal.

“We, at Blacknight, are proud to support the LGBTQ+ community and Irish arts, said Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon. “The Outing Festival not only highlights Irish culture and music, but it also gives the LGBTQ+ community a safe space to express themselves in a fun and unique way. Promoting this festival and LGBTQ+ pride is something we are delighted to have the opportunity to do.”


The Outing pictured by Eamon Ward

There are lots of fun activities to enjoy throughout the weekend during the Outing. Guests can participate in speed dating and a masquerade ball on Friday, go on walks to explore Clare and an evening of karaoke on Saturday, then end the weekend in the arts and crafts fair and live music on Sunday. The weekend is jam packed with lots more activities which are listed on the Outing’s website. Everyone (including singles, couples, and groups of friends – straight or gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and their friends) is welcome to the inclusive and entertaining twist on an old tradition. Tickets are available here. A new addition to the festival is the “Time Lapse Film Festival” featuring short films that address lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer-themed issues. Submissions can be both new or previously released submissions.  This festival also encourages creativity as films do not need to ‘fit into a conventional format.’ It is open to submissions from around the world. Some of this year’s submissions have come from the UK and America, but most are from Ireland. This year’s festival will be held from the 10th to the 12th of February and its location along the Wild Atlantic Way is expected to help grow tourism in the area.

“We are happy to have Blacknight as The Outing’s headline sponsor again this year,” said The Outing founder Eddie McGuinness. “The festival is non-profit and we really appreciate Blacknight’s support in celebrating LGBTQ+ music and arts. Now in its tenth year, the Outing is a weekend that brings the entire community together in a fun and engaging ways that help enrich the lives of the community.”

We continuously support the LGBTQ+ community by working with various charities such as BelongTo, in order to promote the wellbeing of the community and promote diversity in Ireland. Most recently, we’ve supported BelongTo when we launched the .GAY domain for the Irish market and we continue to market the domain worldwide. In celebration of our sponsorship, we’re giving away two tickets to The Outing and an overnight stay for two people for two nights during the festival at the Dromoland Hotel. The stay will include a double or twin room with a Full Irish Breakfast, two passes to all events of the weekend, and access to the amenities at the hotel along with a guided hike of the area. The contest is only open to residents of Ireland and details on how to enter are here. You have until the 7th of February to enter. Good luck!

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