Graham Norton was in Dublin last night for a question and answer session about his new novel, Holding. During the Graham Norton In Conversation event, journalist Roisin Ingle questioned the chat show host on a variety of issues including his extensive career, why he left Ireland and how he felt when the marriage equality referendum was passed last year.
When speaking of the vote, the 53-year-old said that it was an emotional day and one that he felt he’d never see. He also used Ireland as an example of what can be changed in a country in a relatively short time.
“I was in Vienna for the Eurovision Song Contest. It was a proud gay day! It was an amazing day. It made me cry because it was something I never imagined, in my lifetime.
“And I think what is extraordinary about Ireland is what’s happened in the last 30 years. And it gives you hope I think for a lot of those reactionary or right wing countries in eastern Europe, like look what happened here in 30 years,” he said.
Although Graham was delighted at the passing of the referendum in May 2015, he did say that he felt it was about more than just being gay. He felt that it was also about taking a stand against the church’s influence in Ireland.
“Now having said that, a lot of that, it seems to me, had to do with the fall from grace of the church, and what happened there, which is awful. I mean maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that that referendum was actually- I mean it’s lovely that the Irish people said ‘go on the gays, get married’- but I wonder if that vote was actually about the church telling us to vote against it.
“Everything else they told us turned out to be rubbish so we’re going to vote for it. And in a way I feel it could have been about lots of things. It wasn’t just about the gay issue, but it’s such an extraordinary thing, I mean I don’t feel that old but the fact that the Ireland I grew up in is the Ireland that passed that referendum makes me feel like a thousand,” he said.
Holding is available in book stores now.