The Viking Inn, at 75 Dame Street, predated The George as being Dublin’s first ‘exclusively gay bar’. Situated just beside The Olympia Theatre, the pub was taken over and renamed Brogan’s Bar in the early 1990s.
The earliest (newspaper) records show that 75 Dame Street operated first as a surgery for a ‘mechanical dentist’ by the name of John Egar in the 1850s. Remodeled as a public house it was known as O’Brien Bros. (1920s), Kerins (1940s), McCabes (1950s), Leonards (1960s/1970s), The Crampton Court (late 1970s), The Viking Inn (1979 – 1987), The City Hall Inn (1989 – 1993) and finally Brogan’s Bar (1993 – present).
The Viking was the first bar in the city to be owned by a gay proprietor and to be opened specifically as a gay bar. It closed in 1987, shortly after The Parliament (now the Turks Head) opened and a full two years after The George first set up shop.
Poster John K. on gaire.com remembers:
Because it was beside the Olympia there were many amusing incidents when straight people, especially from the country, went in and quickly began to feel very uncomfortable … The Viking was a great spot. I first went in there around 1980 (and) I have no recollection of any Garda harassment.
Fourcort recalls plucking up the courage to visit the place for the first time:
One night in the early eighties, I walked the entire length of Dame St. about 20 times trying to get up the courage to push in through the door of the Viking. A couple of drag queens cottoned on to me at one stage and started laughing at me. Eventually, I just forced myself in, got a pint (I never drink pints, I just thought I could make it last, and not have to move again), and went and hid down the back.
There are lots of aspects to Dublin’s LGBT culture that I’d like to cover in the future including the four-storey gay Hirschfeld Centre (1979 – 1987) in Temple Bar, Sides D.C. (now The Mercantile) on Dame Lane, the legendary acid house nightclub which started out as a gay club and the tragic events surrounding the 1982 murder of Declan Flynn, a 31-year old gay man, in Fairview Park by a gang of thugs.
Veteran campaigner and DJ Tonie Walsh has done fantastic work in trying to record the history of the LGBT community in Ireland, his long standing work cumulated in the Irish Queer Archive which was donated to the National Library in 2008. The archive contains, amongst other things, ‘over 250,000 news clippings dating from the late 1960s and covering all the national print media, all lesbian/gay print media published in Ireland since 1974 and rrivate papers, journals and diaries (the earliest dating from 1947)’.