I guess there was always a part of me that knew I was a naturist – even before I knew what that word meant.
Thinking back to my early teenage years I remember skinny dipping in a lake with some friends and thinking there was no better feeling than being naked and outdoors.
As the years passed and we all got a little older, the skinny dipping stopped and I suppose I forgot for a time how it felt to be naked publicly.
As I reached my twenties, I went on my 1st foreign holidays with groups of friends – the typical Irish “lads holidays” to Santa Ponsa, Ibiza and Gran Canaria.
I recall sitting in the tour reps introduction meetings where they would joke about the local nudist beach saying “ If anybody has the urge to see some naked bodies, drop by the nudist beach, where you will see all of the middle aged overweight German men playing rugby”. You could see the Irish guys laughing at the thoughts of it, but to me it raised a curiosity that had been supressed for the previous decade.
I spent a week trying to find a chance to escape for an hour to take a sneaky trip to the beach & see were the reps joking or serious about what took place on the nudist beach. Sadly on my first few holidays this never happened.
Eventually on a holiday to Gran Canaria, I got the chance & on my last day made my way to Maspalomas and wandered down to the nudist part of the beach.
To my amazement there was not a rugby ball to be seen. Instead I saw a mixture of Spanish, German, Scandinavian & even a few pale Irish or English people all enjoying the Canarian sunshine au natural.There were men, women & children of various ages wandering around or sun bathing without a care in the world.
Nervously I found a spot well away from everybody and layed down my towel. I sat for ten minutes and tried to summon the courage to take off my shorts – thinking everybody on the beach was looking at the white skinned Irish guy with his shorts on.
Quickly I slipped them off and rolled onto my stomach and felt a rush of excitement at the thought that I was naked on a beach and there were hundreds of people present. Again it took me ages to roll over & sit up but when I did, I realised nobody even knew I was here – or cared for that matter.
Soon I was able to take a stroll down to the water and even went in for a swim. It felt amazing to be so free and I didn’t want the feeling to go away. Altogether I was probably there for about an hour before I reluctantly got dressed and went back to my friends – and of course I could never tell them where I had been for fear of being labelled something terrible.
As the holiday was ending the next day I didn’t get a chance to revisit Maspalomas beach again and went home to Ireland wondering when I would ever get the chance again.
As happens to all of us, time flew past and as I got older my nude experience slipped into the back of my mind and was forgotten.
Until one evening a TV program was advertised where a reporter called Angela Scanlon was going to an event in a little town in Leitrim called Drumshanbo to report on a Naturist Convention that was taking place in a hotel there.
I couldn’t believe it – there was naturism in Ireland ? After all this time thinking it was only a pastime for holidays. I couldn’t wait to watch the program, and again my interest in naturism came to the fore. I watched the program and have to say I was a little disappointed with the show itself ( I feel there was an opportunity to do so much more with it – but that’s just my opinion) but I started to look around me in a different way. I now knew there were lots of people in Ireland interested in naturism and I decided I needed to find ways of meeting people who felt as happy being nude as me.
The next day I decided to go outside into my garden nude & do some gardening ( I have a very private garden so knew I wouldn’t offend anybody) and it felt great. Next I started to google, looking for places I might be able to be nude & people to meet with.
I travel to the UK quite a bit and found some “Clothing optional spa’s” over there and decided to pay one a visit.
When I arrived I got the same goose bumps and nerves that I experienced way back in Maspalomas so many years before. When the lady taking me around the spa brought me into the changing rooms & introduced me to a naked couple getting prepared to enter the spa, my heart was racing.
I took off my clothes slowly and nervously again and entered the spa area, thinking as before that everybody is looking at me – this feeling lasted for about ten seconds and was replaced by feelings that I can only describe as feeling free and a wave of joy swept over me. I stayed there until closing time and didn’t want to leave.
I knew I had found a lifestyle that was for me and now I know that I am a naturist and this is a lifestyle choice that I have embraced since then. My only regrets are that it has taken me until now to realise the joy of nudity and that there are so few places in Ireland where it is possible to be nude socially.
Through people I have met with the INA I have started to attend get togethers on the beach at Brittas & swims in Dublin, but wouldn’t it be great if we could get this country into the 21st century & have naturism accepted for what it really is – a lifestyle choice rather than a taboo that has stigma attached.