Zappone donates wedding dresses to National Museum

Dresses worn by Minister and her wife to serve as symbols of same-sex marriage vote

Katherine Zappone and Anne Louise Gilligan  at City Hall in Dublin on their wedding day in 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Katherine Zappone and Anne Louise Gilligan at City Hall in Dublin on their wedding day in 2016. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said it is an “honour” to donate the dresses she and her late wife Dr Ann Louise Gilligan wore on their wedding day to the National Museum of Ireland.

The dresses will be put on display in the museum’s contemporary Ireland collection in Collins Barracks as symbols of the historic referendum to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015.

The collection features items of national importance from the beginning of the Irish Republic to the present day.

“Ireland is going through a period of immense social change as we become a country which is fairer, kinder and just,” said Ms Zappone. “It is important for the generations to come that the National Museum of Ireland records these huge social changes, and how they must never be reversed.”

Ms Zappone married Dr Gilligan in Dublin Castle in January 2016 following the referendum in May 2015 which legalised same-sex marriage in Ireland.

The couple were previously married in Canada in 2003 and were prominent campaigners for LGBT rights in Ireland in the years leading up to the referendum.

Dr Gilligan died in June 2017 following a short illness.

Brenda Malone, a curator at the National Museum of Ireland, said: “As the wedding dresses become part of the NMI collections, they represent Katherine and Ann Louise’s love and life together, and their personal struggle for equal recognition. In a wider sense they also represent the Irish LGBTQ community’s struggle for equality, and the Irish nation’s story of social change. The NMI is committed to recording and preserving these stories”.