Things really have changed!
Years ago when I lived in Dublin, there were only two bars that were frequented by the gay crowd. They didn't admit to being gay bars though!
Rice's on the corner of Stephens Green,
(the building is no longer there) and Bartley Dunnes.
No snogging allowed! You'd be barred!
Rices, because of it's prominent location, a lot of people were afraid to be seen coming or going, so avoided it, except under cover of dark, a quick furtive glance around and slip in the side door. Only the truly brave, or brazen used the front door.
David Norris had the biggest influence on the Irish gay scene. When he brought about the Hirschfeld Centre. That and his tireless work in the courts to decriminalise gay sex.
A statue should be built to honor him, and don't wait until he dies! (may that time be long in coming)
Then Mr. Pussy opened a club on Parnell Square. Then the Pembroke started having gay disco's on Sunday mornings, and soon had "ladies night" .
Limerick, Cork, Galway none of them had a gay bar. Pilgrimages would be made to Dublin.
So, yes, things have improved, hopefully it is easier for kids to come to terms with being gay in a less stressful way than before. Now there are resources to help.