MIDSUMMER IRISH NUDE DREAM – JUNE 2016
June 2016 saw the inaugural event for the INA’s Midsummer Irish Nude Dream. A program of events created by the INA Events Team, bringing naturists together from the North, South, East, West and Midlands of our island.
It all started on Sat 18th at the monthly swim in Cahir, Co. Tipperary where nineteen people gathered to make use of the swimming pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. There was a feeling of excitement in the pool that night as people chatted and mingled throughout the facilities in anticipation of the event to follow, just a few hours later at Brittas Bay for the Summer Solstice.
After the swim, a small group drove in convey to Brittas Bay to celebrate the Summer Solstice. As we arrived at Brittas we joined up with two more people and waited in our cars for the rain to stop. A frying pan and gas camping cooker was used to boil water to make tea. As the rain cleared, we made our way to the beach, using our mining head lamps for light until we found a suitable spot to set up base. Our tents were decorated with lights so that our fellow naturists arriving later in the night would find us easily. We chatted for hours and sipped some wine before going a sleep.
I recall waking up as I heard the voices of some new people joining the group. It was time to get up and light the BBQ fire which was a welcome source of heat as I was naked now. Before sun rise, we released some bio-degradable sky lanterns in front of a naturist group of fifteen people. Unfortunately it was too cloudy to be able to see the sun rise above the horizon but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we played some sport games and went for a brisk walk before returning for breakfast an hour later.
Two resilient members of the group went for a swim before 7:00am just before some people jogging showed up in the distance. Represented for the Summer Solstice were Counties Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Clare, Meath, Laois, Cavan, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Dublin. No one slept longer than an hour but felt refreshed with the sea breeze.
Next on the program of events was the much awaited “Nude Bangor Trail” which took place on Tue 21st June. This was an outing that was planned as we chatted in the pool one morning at this year’s AGM. The group of 5 naturists met in Newport at noon (20km from where the trail begins) and followed our guide.
The Bangor Trail is an ancient drovers’ path connecting Newport with Bangor Erris in North West Mayo. It’s a remote area of landscape and comprises of mountains, bogs, forests, lakes and rivers, and has been designated Ireland’s first official wilderness.
Once parked, we walked a short distance along a wooden platform above a bog to our starting point where we stripped off and applied generous amounts of sun cream. We soon realised how completely barren the area was with no sign of human habitation. It reminded me of the phrase “in the middle of nowhere” as nobody could be seen for miles.
We began walking along the boggy marshy track, sometimes having the luxury of small stones and loose boulders to assist. As always, the weather was on our side, it felt wonderfully natural to be able to shed our clothes and walk along the trail so freely. We stopped for many photo and video opportunities along the way, most noticeably when we came to a waterfall which we were guided to by some sheep. The richness in the greens that surrounded us was spectacular for miles and miles around us. We also past, what I believe to be the only tree, an ash, on the entire route. The scenery was simply breath-taking, more majestic than any beach I have been to before and that combined with the sun shine and fact that we had the whole place to ourselves for miles made the whole day unforgettable.
When we reached our turning point we stopped to appreciate the beautiful landscapes as we ate some fruit, drank water and chatted. After lunch we walked back to the cars to make our way home. It was impossible to resist the temptation of an additional stop for some pictures as we came across a river just meandering through the landscape. Eventually we got dressed and departed the Bangor Trail with the intention of returning there in the future.
On Wednesday 22nd June we had the “Midlands Nudist Track” where we were exploring the midlands in search of locations to take pictures for our ‘Co. Map’ (Clothing Optional) of Ireland. First stop was Brownshill Dolmen – a megalithic portal tomb just outside Carlow. This is an astonishing structure and is listed as a National Monument. The capstone is reputed to be the heaviest in Europe. As we arrived, the sky was grey and cloudy but quite warm, making it a great scene for some videos and pictures. When there was nobody around, we stripped out of everything including watches and shoes and began making our short video entitled “The Prehistoric Experience” where we imagined ourselves struggling against nature – in the end, nature won and I was killed by a giant rock!
A picture of Limerick was missing from the ‘Clothing Optional’ map of Ireland so we decided to drive to Limerick next. Along the route, we stopped off at a 14th Century Norman Tower at Dove Hill, Co. Tipperary for a picnic. By now, unlike in Carlow, the sun was shining and the green ivory on the outside of the Tower against the blue skies seemed perfect for a picture. We discovered a stairs inside the tower which allowed one of us to climb upstairs. We took some naturist pictures from the outside before packing up and heading to our next destination.
We continued our journey to Limerick, keeping our eyes focused on any sign posts indicating a scenic area, the type of signs that have a brown background colour. We drove as far as Pallas Green without seeing anything suitable and decided to take the next exit on the left as we could see a hill in the distance with nice views of Limerick City. Unfortunately every farm gate we stopped at had a sign prohibiting entrance into the fields. We continued driving and soon came to the quiet village of Old Pallas and found a wonderful green tunnel of trees on the road exiting the village. With rays of sunlight breaking through, it seemed an ideal spot to take our Limerick photo for the map.
On Thursday 23rd, we travelled to what must be the most north easterly point on the Island as we went to Fair Head in Co. Antrim for the summer picnic in collaboration with our friends in BN NI. Like many driving trips in recent times, our eyes were actively keeping track of the scenic signs as we travelled north along the M1. Almost automatically, my car slowed down as we approached a sign post for Bernish Viewpoint and we took the next exit to examine it further. After a couple of kilometres along an inclined, narrow, twisted road, we came to a carpark. The views as we stepped out of the car were magnificent, taking in the Ring of Gullion and overlooking Newry City. A couple of clicks of the camera and we were on the road again, just in time before another car arrived at the car park.
We continued our journey to Fair Head in what was becoming a sunny day. A total of 10 people turned up for the picnic, two from the INA and eight from BN NI. This was the first time that the members of BN NI were together for an outdoor activity – prior to this they met at the monthly swim in Belfast. We enjoyed a naked picnic in great company with a glass of wine before departing on our hike. I was totally amazed by the scenery that unfolded as we began walking to the cliff edge. Such richness in the emerald textures of the green fields combined with the grey rocks and reflection of the blue sky in the sea. As we reached the cliff edge, I could see Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre, a little over 20km in the distance but so visible on such a clear day. We stopped to soak up the atmosphere and take some pictures of this magnificent scenery, almost 200m above sea level. We continued walking west along the coastline through the rocky, but very much climbable headland. In total we hiked almost 4km in a most enjoyable outing, bridging North and South naturist communities together. We left for a long journey home, 440km accounting for a slight diversion to take the finial picture to complete out naturist map.
County Monaghan was the final county left to be captured for the (Co. Clothing Optional) map of Ireland. We didn’t have any specific location identified but just a plan to drive south and turn west when we reached Dundalk. Halfway to Dundalk, it began raining very heavy, but I reminded my INA colleague how great pictures can be in the rain, with a slight smile! There was no way either of us wanted to travel home without capturing the final picture for our map. We kept turning off whatever main road we were on, getting deeper into Co. Monaghan. Driving along a country road, we caught a glimpse of a lake, we both looked at each other knowing that we had found our final destination. There was a small carpark which we pulled into hoping that the rain would stop or at least ease off. We could see the lake through the dense trees and a boardwalk in the distance. The name of the lake was Capragh Lake, just north of Carrickmacross in Co. Monaghan. The rain continued to fall, almost like a monsoon. We had one umbrella and decided to make a run for the trees and strip off. We took some photos which I must admit did look great under the weather conditions. We even used the umbrella in the set for one of the pictures. Wet, but happy to complete the map, we ran back into the car to dry off and make the lengthy journey home after a memorable day.
International Be Naked Day, Fri 24th
Despite the not so favourable weather forecast for Friday 24th we did want to celebrate INTERNATIONAL BE NAKED DAY, an initiative by members of British Naturism, and we invited people to head off to our most popular naturist beach in Ireland, Sallymount Beach south of Brittas Bay in Co. Wicklow. Menacing clouds greeted our group of brave naturists, who started to clean up the beach regardless of what was going to become heavy showers. We patiently waited for the storm to pass and indeed we were rewarded by a brilliant sunshine anew. It was arguably the wettest we did get in all our jaunts so far but the subsequent temperature completely dried us up in no time.
Sunday 26th was the return visit to the Russian Sauna at Hollyford in Co. Tipperary. Following the success of our first outing here during the Naturist Blitz held last March, it was only a matter of time before we would return due to popular demand. Three separate two hour sessions were scheduled for this event but the vast majority of the 18 people in attendance on the day opted for all 3 sessions. Snacks including Spanish omelette, pizza, homemade sausages and burgers were provided for everyone along with bottled water to help keep hydrated after the sauna. Just like our first time at this venue, the day turned out to be a great sociable event, numerous Aufguss sessions took place in the sauna for the hardy that could withstand such high temperatures and for those wishing to improve their circulation, Banya sessions were also held.
As a means of assisting with cooling down after the many sauna sessions, a small group went for a walk in the woods and fields beside the grounds of the sauna. A few opportunities for photographs were taken along the route also. Everyone was amazed how fast the time passed and agreed that it was an event we should do again. As we cleaned up afterwards, I soon realised that we were quickly approaching the end of our Midsummer Irish Nude Dream program of events with just one day left.
Monday 27th was the final day of our Midsummer Irish Nude Dream program of events where we held the “Rebels Gathering”. Thanks to a member of the INA Facebook Closed Group, two specific locations were suggested for our Rebels Gathering, namely Mullinghassig Waterfall and Coachford Greenway at Inniscarra Reservoir. This felt like an International Naturist event as four people from four different nationalities were present. The lake was less than 1 km walking distance from where we parked. This was a new naturist experience for the group and with it came a completely different canvas for our pictures. The sun light dispersed daintily through the tree leaves resulting in long shadows traversing along the rocks and river at the base of the waterfall. We had lots of fun at the lake with some new poses and even a Tarzan pose using a vine like rope as if we were amongst the wild jungle.
After our time at the waterfall, a short drive brought us to Coachford Greenway at Inniscarra Reservoir where we found a suitable spot for a naturist lunch. We were welcomed to the area by a local dog that seemed to enjoy our company. Prior to lunch, one member of the group had a refreshing swim in the lake. As it was later in the afternoon when we arrived at Coachford Greenway, it became apparent that the options for naturist walking would be limited as we could see many people in the distance using the scenic path for their own enjoyment. Nevertheless, we did take a textile walk to sample the beautiful scenery before making our way back to the car to drop our International friends back to Cork City.
All that was left was the drive home which was accompanied by various memories reminiscing the past eight days of our Midsummer Irish Nude Dream, not even the thoughts of going back to work the next day could wipe the smile off my face as I pondered over the magnificent scenery, landscapes and people I had just met during those amazing eight days.