How Ireland got their Queen

Panti, Rory O’Neill’s drag queen, is the subject of a new film. Her persona and what she represents are the result of decades of collaboration.

Panti Bliss
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Rory O’Neill and Panti are both separate and inextricably linked. O’Neill’s part of their Venn diagram contains characteristics that are alien to Panti. O’Neill is reserved, slightly stand-offish, shy. Panti is pronounced, vivacious, magnetic. Then the lines blur. Panti can deliver a line about HIV being the Kylie Minogue of viruses – “first the gays got Kylie, but now everyone gets Kylie” – while riffing on O’Neill’s diagnosis. And both use the salutation “Hi, chicken.”

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Panti’s part in club culture and her transition to the theatre stage and, now, film have been the result of collaborations. O’Neill is, of course, the foundation of Panti, but along the way many others have helped to build the persona of Panti and what she has come to represent. A documentary about Panti is out next week.


Preview screening of the The Queen of Ireland at Dublin’s IFI on Wednesday, October 21.

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