For many years while living in Dublin, Peaches lived the glamorous (and often outrageous!) life of a drag queen entertaining audiences and straddling a nether world of camp performance art and sexual transgression. In 2010 Peaches scaled the dizzying heights of being crowned ‘The Alternative Miss Ireland’ at a raucous ceremony in Dublin. It was a long way from Luke McCaul’s conservative and Catholic working-class Dublin childhood.
Since coming to Australia 10 years ago Peaches has left her old life in Ireland far behind her and concentrated on the boring everyday technicalities of getting residency, keeping her head down and making a new life in Australia.
However after almost a decade out of Ireland Peaches is finding there is something missing in her life and is looking to reconnect with her Irish culture. For many people in Australia traditional Irish culture is strongly entwined with a conservative and Catholic mindset. Can Peaches reconcile her transgressive lifestyle with the Irish cultural form which is seen by many in Australia as socially conservative and even backward?
Peaches is unfazed by the cultural contradictions and has found a renewed interest in her Irish roots.
What is it that attracts Peaches back to Irish culture? How will the glamour and glitter of the drag world combine with the ancient traditions of Irish culture? What is it within Irish culture that draws Peaches back to it – even though she lives in 21st Century Australia?
Many Australians are not even aware of the existence of a distinct Irish culture given the long history of the Irish in Australia. For many Australians the Irish are part of an Anglo-Celtic dominant culture – not an ethnic minority. But Peaches is living proof of a new generation of Irish migrants who are making their own way and fighting their own life battles in modern multicultural Australia.
Along the way we hear the heartwarming stories of Luke’s dad Malachy (a military man!) and Luke’s mum Pauline (who makes Luke’s costumes) and how they reconciled with their flamboyant son.
The project was organised through the Irish Film Festival and Irish National Association with support from Sydney Queer Irish. Project producer was Enda Murray.
Documentary directors are Enda Murray and Scarlett Potter.
Peaches premiered at the Irish Film Festival in Sydney in 2022 before travelling to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.
The Peaches Queen of Éireann documentary can be viewed below. Just click on the video to view.
Peaches Queen of Éireann Premiere Photos
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The Peaches Queen of Éireann project is a collaboration between the Irish Film Festival and the Irish National Association.
Premiere Photography: Natalie O’Neill
Web Creation: Natalie O’Neill
Director: Dr Enda Murray & Scarlett Potter