As Nature Intended – an insight into naturism by a female first timer

AS NATURE INTENDED

Naturism, nudism…it seemed the same to me. I couldn’t tell you the difference between the two concepts. I never thought of it beyond stereotypes: something done by “eccentric” people, somehow related to exhibitionism, and mostly done by men.

However, some time ago a friend told me about naturism, how she became a member of Irish Naturist Association and how much she enjoyed naturist outings and being in contact with nature, as nature intended.  She also told me how popular naturism is in some Central European countries, how naturism is practiced by families plus the benefits for children as they learn to appreciate and accept their own bodies and other people’s bodies, apart from sexual connotations, in a respectful environment. Talking to her inspired a genuine curiosity in me and I felt that I should try, at least try.

However, I always told her that my preference would be to experience naturism in a warmer location than Ireland. I am quite a shivery/chilly person, and the idea of going nude in Ireland was inconceivable for me. I have never worn sandals or shorts in Ireland and I’m always fully wrapped up.  Of course, I have never dipped my feet in the Irish Sea, despite the insistence of my children. I have always been a little envious of people swimming throughout the whole year in places such as Seapoint or the Forty Foot.

A few days ago, my friend invited me to join a naturist group of people to go to the beach. As this was likely to be the last sunny and warm day of the year, I did not want to miss this opportunity. So finally, I postponed my commitments and decided to join, ready for my first nudist experience.

How did I feel before going? It may seem weird, but I was more worried about the cold weather than about going nude. However, I was reassured by my friend that it would be ok if I remained clothed so my worries disappeared.

There we were, enjoying a magnificent sunny morning near the end of September. We parked the car and I was introduced to the people as they arrived.  Then, we walked towards the beach but as there were some non nudist people already there, the group decided to go to a nearby beach which was more secluded.

After a brief stroll through the bushes, we arrived at a wonderful Wicklow beach.  As people started to undress, I followed suit. Although I had never done it before, it felt both natural and a little strange to me. I recalled how I used to go to the beach or the swimming pool in the past and not have the confidence to wear a bikini and would always wear a full swimsuit instead.

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel nervous or embarrassed as I realised that no one is looking at you, just as you are not looking at them. The beach was really beautiful, soft sand and calm waters with the added bonus of incredibly warm and sunny weather. It was the perfect day for my first nudist experience.

I was so enraptured by the whole experience that I caught myself in surprise with the sudden realisation that I was walking nude along the beach, with the sun rays warming my whole body as I chatted to a complete stranger who happened to be a male and nude also.  And the best of it, it was quite natural and enjoyable. I was enjoying nature as I had not done so for a long time, in a nice and relaxed atmosphere, talking with affable people as we walked along a marvellous Irish beach.

I headed for a swim, a really short one. I was doing something I have never dared to do before, and I felt really good about it and what a refreshing swim it was. Overall, I had a feeling of getting back to nature, as nature intended, and I really enjoyed being there. I was in harmony and communion with nature and I had the impression that I belonged there. At some point, I experienced a feeling of being related to people that in ancient times were living much closer to nature as we do live now, and I realised how much I had been missing out.

Time to go back to normal life arrived too soon for me and it was kind of hard to accept. It was strange, but I wanted to remain there, and at the same time I was feeling sorry for my children, not only my children but most people, probably stuck indoors not being able to enjoy what I just experienced.

Back home, a very especial feeling of well-being accompanied me for the rest of the day. In the afternoon, after collecting my children from school, I played with them in the park, running with an energy that they were surprised to find in me. I was feeling really energetic and optimistic, and willing to share my experience with other people.

I don’t know if it was the effect of being nude, the cold Irish Sea waters, the sunny day, the beautiful Wicklow beach, the friendly people or altogether. But it does not matter! It was a wonderful experience that I highly recommend to everyone and that I am looking forward to repeating.

I am very grateful to my friend and to all the friendly people of Irish Naturist Association that allowed me to have this very enjoyable first nudist experience. I will not miss the next meet up!

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The perfect naturist treat – Free spa entrance on your birthday

Did you know that there are quite a number of textile-free sauna centres that offer free admission on one’s birthday? You just need to show your ID to get a free pass.

Here a non-comprehensive list:

St Martin

Sole Felsen

Therme Laa

Meersburg

Zuiver Spa

Thermana

Be Naked Day in Ireland 2017… and tell a friend about it !

Having been a member of Irish Naturist Association (INA) and active naturist for almost four years, there have been many occasions where I wished that close friends and family could feel the same as me about naturism – the sense of freedom, relaxation, body-acceptance, benefits of vitamin D, self-esteem and the overwhelming feel-good factor that I always get. I wished that I would be able to tell them that I am a naturist. If only life was so simple!

The reality of course was a feeling of fear and nerves any time I dwelled on the idea. The fear of not knowing how someone would react was the most concerning – would they cut me off or how would their opinion of me change. But surely by keeping naturism a secret I risk giving people the perception that I am hiding something or doing something wrong.  There’s a strong case to suggest that the more people that reveal their involvement in naturism, the more positive the opinion among textiles becomes. A naturist friend of mine once told me, “if friends cannot accept you as naturist, for what makes you happy or for who you are, then perhaps there were not good friends to begin with”.

In Ireland it’s a fact that many naturists keep their naturist activities a secret from their parents, partners, children and friends. The difficulty of this is that when you can’t be totally honest you become involved in a situation where you need to make excuses or lie. Thankfully I was open and honest with my partner from day one about my love of naturism and although it was not something that appealed to her, she appreciated my honesty. One important point to highlight is your choice of words, as some people relate the word “nude” to sex. I simply used the words “naturist” and “clothes free” when describing my involvement with INA.

Over time I told three other friends of mine but never face to face, just over email/social media chats. In fact the first friend I told was a female in her forties who lived over 5,000 km away and her reaction was very positive “good on you” and a feeling of “I wish I could do that”. It certainly felt good after telling someone other than my partner and I remember saying to myself that I should have told her long before now. I followed up by telling two other friends who were both in their thirties, although living in Ireland, they lived a considerable distance away from me so I told them over social media chats. All three friends asked me lots of questions, why I like being a naturist, how long had I been a naturist, what type of people do I meet, did I ever meet someone I knew and  where do I practice naturism in Ireland. All three asked the same question about a member of the public seeing me when I was on the beach. My answer was simple, I never go out to cause offence to anyone and there’s always the added security and safety in numbers when I attend INA events as I am always in a group. By now I had received three very positive responses … Why did I wait so long?!?

In August ’17, as part of “Be Naked Day”, INA proposed a challenge to just tell someone you know about your participation in naturism. I thought about it and felt this would be a good opportunity to actually tell a friend, face to face. I was planning on going to a popular naturist beach, Sallymount, Co. Wicklow on that day and had a friend that lived less than 10kw away that I had been meaning to meet up with from some time now. This could be an opportunity, I thought.

However, this time around felt very different as I thought how I would be able to see his initial reaction, read his body language and listen to the tone of his voice – all of which were absent from my interaction with the previous three friends. Yet again I began thinking and predicting what his reaction would be. This was someone who I worked with in the past, I used to be his boss for almost 10 years and we were both in our early forties now. How would his perception of me change, from a professional and personal point of view? As these questions wondered through my mind, I did consider not telling him but something inside me kept saying ‘what’s the worst that can happen’.

We met in a coffee shop at the agreed time, after two or three minutes of small talk, I told him I had some news for him and explained how I was a naturist. His first reaction was “What?!” as he tilted his head and converged his eyebrows, I could sense he was asking himself the question did I say what he thought I just said. I spoke about the amazing benefits that I have felt since joining Irish Naturist Association, especially the outings to Sallymount Beach, just south of Brittas Bay relatively close to where he lived along with the feel good factor, the freedom and how I have made some really good friends. But to be fair he listened to me and didn’t judge. I told him about my very first outdoor naturist experience which was at Sallymount Beach and that I will never forget how great I felt afterwards as I drove home. It was an amazing experience that I instantly became addicted to. Then he said: “WOW, fair play to you!, I would never have guessed!!”. He did make a comment that he knew about the naturist beach just 10km away. He also passed a comment on how popular it appears to be in mainland Europe.

I followed up by telling him about some of the special event Spas I attended in a naturist environment in Ireland along with the trips to some other spas in Europe where it was simply natural to be naked.

I showed him my International Naturist Federation card and the first thing he noticed was the 2013 stamp and asked why I was telling him today. I opened the INA newsletter on my phone and showed him the flyer for “Be Naked Day” and spoke to him about the challenge. He laughed and said “who knows, maybe someday I’ll join you at the beach…”

It really felt good to have told a friend, face to face and to have received such a positive reaction, no silly jokes or anything like that. Time for my next challenge…….

 

Living the Dream, by Pat Gallagher, president of Irish Naturist Association

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    LIVING THE DREAM

    Sitting here in front of the computer on a miserable Sunday morning with torrential downpours outside, and reading the naturist blog. Then it occurred to me that I have never made a contribution, so now seems as good a time as any.
    Many reading this blog may know me and Mary. Many others will not. Mary and I discovered the freedom of not having to wear clothes back in the mid 70s. We were fortunate enough to have got the lend of a friends caravan near to a beach in Co Wexford. We usually went in June and mid- week the beach was mostly empty. We had a wind cheater for comfort. I soon realised that when I came out of the water and dried off I was still wearing a wet bathing trunks. After a day or so I dispensed with the trunks after swimming and discovered this sense of total freedom. Mary was somewhat fearful that someone might come along and see me, but then she copied my actions and discovered for herself how free it was to be naked and not have to wear wet clothing. We soon dispensed with the costumes altogether and strolled around as nature intended us to be. When we would see a person coming along we simply went to cover behind the wind cheater.
    We took to this lifestyle like a duck to water, soon exploring quiet beaches and lakes
    where we could be naked. We even found a small corner of our semi detached house. Where with the use of a blanket on the clothes line we were not seen from the neighbour. We continued this scenario for a number of years until we discovered the Irish Naturist Association and joined. The association then was somewhat of a secret society with one venue in south Co Dublin. Occasional visits to Brittas beach where we spent most of the time in a large sand dune for fear we might be seen. However, over the years we progressed and soon had proper beach outings and the use of a corporation pool on a weekly basis. Now we were practising proper naturism.
    In 1997 Mary and I decided to pull up sticks and move from the city to a rural setting where we might be afforded more privacy to be able to live our lifestyle. After looking at many places all around the country we found this ideal old farm dwelling in Co Roscommon. It was much further than Mary wanted to go but on arrival this little house somehow seemed to say buy me. So we did. We moved on the day before our 27th wedding anniversary. We knew no one around so it was either a brave or totally senseless move. As it turned out it was the best decision we probably ever made.
    We soon settled in and got to know our way around and meet with people. We were
    accepted well by all but still had our complete privacy around our new home.
    In the beginning the gardens all around were completely overgrown with just about every kind of weed and bramble it’s possible to have. The weather was good so we set out to clear areas for use. This we were able to do without clothing except when using certain heavy power tools. 20 years on now we still carry out some maintence but mostly as nature intended. But mostly when the weather is good we just laze about naked and eat meals in the great outdoors as much as possible. We grow some fruits around the gardens which when picked goes to jam making. This is a hobby that Mary enjoys doing nude except for the occasional use of an apron for health and safety reasons. These jams are sold in the Farmers markets around Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo and are in high demand. We used to have our own stalls in markets but now we have another person who sells our jams. Most of the work outside and indoors can be done without clothing so we can spend many hours naked as nature intended. In winter we heat the house with radiators from the range so again no need for clothing as the house is always quiet warm. And there is nothing more exhilarating than being able to go out in the frost and snow for a short walk around the property before coming back in to a warm home.
    We got lucky a few years ago when an offer of a hot tub came our way at the right price. This is installed in a specially made housing outside on the veranda. We love to use it regular especially first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. And it is also appreciated by our naturist friends when they visit.
    I hope by putting our story in writing it has made others think and consider changing their lives so as to get the most out of being naturists and living the dream also. A few photos included to show a little of our lives.
    Pat and Mary

World Naked Garden(ing) Day in Ireland 2017

Following on from the success of our inaugural event to celebrate World Naked Gardening Day at Hunting Brook Gardens last year, where our YouTube video has reached views in excess of 73,000. This year’s event was held at Strokestown Park, Co. Roscommon, over the weekend of the AGM where over 40 INA members plus invited guests to the AGM attended the private booking.

One of the main attractions of Strokestown Park is a six acre walled garden that has been restored to its original splendour, giving an insight into horticultural design and architecture from the 1740’s. The walled gardens include features such as the herbaceous border, the fernery, the lilly pond, the Victorian rose garden, pergola, peach house, vinery, fruit and vegetable garden and herb garden to name but a few.

It must be said how wonderfully accommodating the event coordinator at Strokestown Park was in facilitating a private booking for members of the INA. She even arranged for a private lesson and game of croquet from two members of Strokestown Croquet Club (Croquet was played on the lawns of Strokestown Park in the 1890’s).

Everyone seemed to enjoy the croquet a lot, some kept playing it up until the end of the 2 hours while one lady from Galway displayed a competitive streak against a fellow member from Kilkenny – signs of things to come in the championship!

You can have a visual insight into out Visit to Strokestown Park here: video in youtube available now!

Checking out Mayo’s Naturist Beaches

 On many levels, Ireland is a perfect country for naturism. Granted, maybe our climate could be slightly more clement at times, but with miles and miles of coastline and a relatively small population, finding secluded beaches and coves to strip off in should never be too challenging.

For anyone looking to do just that, the ideal starting point is the INA’s own website which lists a number of naturist friendly beaches around the country. Some are well known and well frequented, such as Sallymount in Wicklow and Trawalua in Sligo; others less so. But equally there are many other locations where opportunities exist to go clothes-free that might not be known to the wider naturist community.

The western county of Mayo is a case in point. The third largest county in Ireland, its rugged and indented coastline is claimed to be the longest of any Irish county at 1,168 km, yet its entire population is only slightly over 130,000 people.

The INA website lists the following four beaches as being naturist friendly in Mayo, so to check out just how suitable they are, members of the INA paid a visit to the county in March. Granted, it was hardly naturist friendly weather, but that didn’t stop this hardcore group from stripping off – all in the call of duty! This is what we found.

  1. Trawmore, Keel, Achill Island

Located at the foot of the vertically rising Minaun Cliffs, said to be one of the highest in Europe, Trawmore is at the eastern end of Keel Beach, the most popular holiday location on Achill. Access off the main R319 thoroughfare is at Dookinelly, approximately 2km east of Keel. From there you progress through a rather densely populated area before the road peters out at the foot of the cliffs.

It’s a relatively open area, with a wave battered sandy beach behind which is a stony section. A car parking / turning area backs onto the grassy mountainside.

It was deserted on the day we were there (although a walking couple did approach as we were leaving), which provided an opportunity to get rid of the clothes and experience a quick stroll as nature intended.The local sheep were singularly unimpressed – clearly not the first naturists they have come across!

Verdict

During high season, the ease of access suggests that Trawmore is  likely to be rather popular on fine days. Though keep to the far end near the rocks and only the more dedicated wanderers should venture that far.

  1. Keem Bay, Achill

 Located at the westerly end of Achill Island (continue on the R319 until the road runs out), and bordered on three sides by cliffs, the exceedingly picturesque Keem Bay features on virtually every review of the region. Indeed on the day we visited there was a constant stream of sightseers despite it being a mid-week day in March, indicating that it is likely to be very popular on fine weekends.

However, take a stroll over to the far (northern) end of the beach and you come across a heart-warming word painted boldly on the craggy landscape.

‘NUDIST’

Beyond this is a small sandy section separated from the rest of the beach, obviously the area where naturists hang out. It would seem that when the tide is out you can just walk straight into it (so not very secluded), but you may have to clamber over the rocks once the tide comes in.

Verdict

Overall we’d rate this quite highly for its naturist potential. While not the most private location, it’s at the far end of the beach, and the ‘Nudist’ sign should give any unsuspecting wanderer sufficient warning of what they may encounter.

  1. Bartraw Beach, Murrisk

Bartraw is a popular beach location south of Westport on the Louisburgh road (R335). Located near Murrisk at the foot of Croagh Patrick, it’s a narrow peninsula jutting out into Clew Bay- take the first road right after Murrisk village to access.

The eastern side of the peninsula (facing towards Croagh Patrick) is the naturist friendly section. Hilly dunes separate the two sides with well worn trails in between. Unlike the western side which has decent stretches of sand, the naturist side of the beach is largely stony.

Verdict

Again this is a beach that will be popular on fine days, though most people will stay on the western side. Walk some distance from the car-park and there should be sufficient privacy to allow naturism to be practiced.

  1. Old Head, near Louisburgh

Old Head is located a few kilometres further on from Bartraw in the Louisburgh direction. The naturist area is a small secluded cove north of the main beach.

From the R335, a turn-off to the right (if you are coming from Westport) sign-posted for Old Head leads to a curving sandy beach backing up onto rocks. When the tide is in traversing over the rocks to the naturist area may be challenging.

There is another access road a little further north off the R335 – a narrow lane that ends on the beach close to the naturist section. However this access road offers minimal car parking space (a couple of cars at max), and barely even room to turn a car, so we’d suggest it is better to park at the main car park and walk around the seashore.

Verdict

The naturist part of the beach is fairly secluded and unlikely to attract too many casual passers-by. The beach area itself is a mixture of rocks and small sandy sections. Access is the biggest challenge – either a decent walk from Old Head car park with tide movement a consideration, or very restricted vehicular access on the nearer road.

CHECK HERE THE VIDEO DEPICTING OUR EXPERIENCE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXnBVRkS9UE

Have you experienced naturism on any of these beaches? Do you agree with our reviews? Are there other beaches in Mayo that are suitable for naturist activity? If so, please let us know.

Irish Girl Experiencing Naturism For the First Time

Every time I think about what I’m about to do my tummy turns upside down, the sweat grows in the palms of my hands, and my heart races. “Don’t worry my friend tells me” “you’ll be fine”. That’s it! , I have finally made the decision to take my clothes off, GO NAKED!! OMG.

Remembering, I’m the woman that gets undressed with the lights off. I have a million questions going around in my head. What will people think of me?

My body? My scares? My stretch marks? A friendly voice beside me quietly says “your scares are your story, your life and your war wounds. Don’t worry what people think of you it’s none of your business. Take your time and do what makes you comfortable “.

The day has finally arrived, Sun shining high in the sky, walking slowly towards the cliff edge. Then all of a sudden I see naked people. I keep my head low, acting as normal as possible, “to be honest I had a little peak “. My friend utters those words that have occupied my thoughts for months. “Ready! We’re here”. “This is it! Off come the clothes, she laughs at my half-hearted attempt. Then I lay down, the Sun shining on my pale skin, parts of my body have never ever seen the Sun before.

I feel relief, clam and proud of me. I lay there for an hour rising at times to look around. My confidence builds, I stand up “NAKED”. I can’t believe this. The words in my mind keep repeating “OMG I’m so proud of you”. People walk by and say hi as though we were walking by on the street. They don’t look at my body, they look straight into my eyes, people come to chat to me and my friend and they are so friendly, no one focused on each other’s body. Well I did, I seen a guy with a nice behind.

Throughout the day my confidence grew, so much so I decided to swim in the sea NAKED. I met another person swimming “male” we both stood there chatting about where we came from, we joked and laughed.

This is the moment all my fears of being naked left me, I forgot I was naked.

I would have never believed if you told me a year ago that I would be swimming naked with a stranger, “not me”, sure I’m too fat, and my body is not fit to be seen.

Well those thoughts were no longer.

That day before we left, I stood at the edge of the cliff with my arms held high, my head to the Sun and eyes closed feeling a world of emotions. So grateful I faced my fear, I’m not the women I was before I walked on to this cliff. I have my confidence back; I’m grateful for my body my friends support.

I’m proud of me, and to write the words “proud to be a naturist”.

Don’t knock it until you try it.

THIS GIRL GOT IT

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