Monday 24 October 2016

Panti's parents are proud as punch at homecoming show

Rory O'Neill and parents
Rory O'Neill and parents
Rory O'Neill

Rory O'Neill, better- known as Panti - played his first hometown gig at the weekend and said his dad Rory Snr and mum Fin couldn't have been prouder.

The drag queen and gay rights activist who grew up in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, said his "homecoming show" was "amazing".

"The whole town was there from old ones to young ones and there was a great response," he told the Herald.

"Of course, I was very nervous about it because it's my hometown, but it was a really amazing experience - everyone was so welcoming and warm and fun."

O'Neill posted a picture of himself with his parents before performing for 500 local people.

"It hasn't always been easy to be my parents but I think they were very proud on Saturday night," he said.

"If you told me even five years ago that I'd be in a marquee in the car park in Ballinrobe dressed as a woman with the whole town there, I would've thought you were insane, so it was surreal but lovely."

It is just over a week since Ireland made history in being the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote, and O'Neill said the country has felt different since then.

"I've already noticed in Dublin that you see a lot more gay couples holding hands and stuff," he said.

"I think the last week has changed a lot of things and it's really exciting."

O'Neill is bringing his show, High Heels in Low Places, to the US next week - and it has already sold out.

"We're going to the Irish Arts Centre in New York with the show for 10 days and we've a few more gigs over the summer as well," he said.

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