Naturists shed their clothes and all their worries on the beach


On a secluded part of Knocknagin Bay Beach, a group of naturists enjoy the nice weather.

Around 15 people, members of the Irish Naturist Association, gather at this venue on the Meath/Dublin border in Gormanston every Wednesday evening. They sunbathe, swim, play football and chat on the banks.

“I think sometimes people don’t understand naturism. It is not related to public sex. It’s not voyeurism or exhibitionism. It’s about being natural in a non-judgmental environment. Nothing sexual happens here. It’s just naked people on a beach,” explains Leticia Medina, President of the Irish Naturist Association. “It’s about body equality. It’s about body confidence and creating an environment for positive aging. You feel free.”

There are around 500 members of the Irish Naturist Association across the country and their numbers have risen sharply during the pandemic. As well as meeting up on the beach, they engage in nude yoga, hiking and overseas trips to parts of Europe, often to visit saunas. They also rent out swimming pools and saunas in Ireland for private naturist sessions.

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen our membership grow. People started exploring their places when the 2km and 5km travel restrictions were in place. We’ve also now started to have a significant social media presence, so people can find us and engage with us when it suits them,” says Medina.

The group, which has various meeting places across the country, attracts people from all walks of life. Being naked in public is not a criminal offense unless it is “troubling” other members of the public or a sexual threat is reported.

“We always look for places that are very remote,” says Medina. “We’ve had very little resistance from anyone because we don’t look you in the face about it. We are inclusive and it is a non-judgmental community.”

Recently the group have organized two private nude tours – one at the Crawford Gallery in Cork and the other at the Smock Alley Theater in Dublin. Both galleries held exhibitions of nude art and facilitated private viewings for the Irish Naturist Association.

A naturist on Knocknagin beach last week explained how he became interested in naturism after visiting a naturist beach with his family on holiday abroad. “I’ve been a naturist for about 10 years. I was suffering from depression at the time and found it really helped me. I’ve made some good friends here. It’s nice to come here and undress. You put your problems aside, too,” he says.

Gerry Mathews, who lives locally in Gormanston, is another member who enjoyed a nude soccer game on the beach last week. “I’ve always been a naturist, but I found this organization about six years ago. I wish I had found it 20 years ago. It’s just a community where there is no judgement. I just find it very liberating,” he says.

The people who join the group have a genuine interest in naturism, and it generally doesn’t attract people who may have ulterior or sexual motives, Medina says. “We really do have a self-review process. We are about what we are. People notice that quickly.”

While the good weather has led to more naturists gathering at various designated locations, many naturists are also out and about in all weathers. “More people come alone in the summer months. But it is not seasonal. It’s a lifestyle choice,” says Medina. Naturists shed their clothes and all their worries on the beach

Fry Electronics Team

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