We all know the feeling of waiting ages for a bus and then all of a sudden three come along at once !! Well that is best way to describe a recent weekend in Cork. Ten years earlier I had rocked up to the Customs House in Dublin at 2.30am along with 3,000 others for the Spencer Tunick Dublin photo shoot. It was a major leap into the unknown , nervous energy was abound , tension palpable as the countdown to disrobing drew ever nearer. Like all things that scare you , once you take that leap of faith , you look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. Fast forward and now I find myself registering for not just one public nude event but three and all on the same day !! Saturday June16th 2018 , first up was #1000bodies photo shoot. This was a homage to the Spencer Tunick Cork shoot from 10 years previous. The 9am start was a lot more pleasant that its’ pre-dawn predecessor, the location was kept secret until the last minute. All that the participants knew was that it was walking distance from the City Centre. After a leisurely stroll , we arrived on site , got a debriefing on what to expect …. and then got debriefed !! Credit Photo : David Hegarty Credit Artist : Ciara Langan The location was a public park out by the University , surrounded on three sides by a six foot hedge. The ever thoughtful organisers decided to ease the concerns of any of the first time models by erecting a makeshift clothesline along the open side. As the wind picked up and people eased into the photo shoot , we laughed aloud at the feeble efforts of the volunteers to protect our modesty. By this stage the hesitant shy and reserved amongst us had transformed into radiant bubbly self confident individuals and it is this which will be their lasting legacy of partaking in such an event ! Credit Photo : David Hegarty Credit Artist : Ciara Langan In total about 10 or 12 different poses were captured , the punters on the open top tourist buses got more than they bargained for !! We had performed the Mexican wave in a giant nude circle and our photographer got so consumed by the occasion that even he undressed on top of the scaffolding to capture us in all our glory ! By then two hours had elapsed and it was a wrap as they say in the biz ! Credit Photo : David Hegarty Credit Artist : Ciara Langan If the #1000bodies was the base of our naked sandwich , then the naked bike ride was most certainly the filling. Cork is unique in World Naked Bike Ride ( WNBR ) community in that the majority of the participants tend to be bodypainted. This was my first bike ride and WOW it did not disappoint. This view was shared by seasoned veterans such as a retired couple from the UK who were participating in their fifth WNBR this year – “It was amazing , most colourful we’ve done , and fantastic atmosphere “. Whilst the bike ride was due to start at 3pm , the bodypainting kicked off as soon as the photoshoot was over. The buzz and positivity emanating from the studio was electric , it was a mosh pit of cyclists , artists and volunteers ; all embracing life , love and happiness. Credit Artist : Ciara Langan Throughout the two hour bike ride right in the heart of the city (it took us twenty minutes to get down the main shopping thoroughfare ) ,we encountered nothing but overwhelming positivity and unbridled joy from the public. The abiding memory of the day , will be the beaming smiles on all those that we encountered. Credit Photo : David Hegarty If we achieved nothing else but to temporarily improve a passers byes’ mental wellbeing or taught someone the lesson that LIFE is for living or that your body is beautiful exactly as it is or that it pays to push yourself out of your comfort zone , then just being a fleeting witness to the bike ride would be deemed a success . If you were fortunate enough to participate then you can multiply those benefits to infinity and beyond ! Credit Photo : David Hegarty If the Bike Ride was the filling , then finishing it off and meeting the Mayor on the steps of City Hall was the dressing on top. His diary was quite interesting that week as two days earlier his office had greeted Charles & Camilla to the city , quite an eclectic 48 hours !! Credit Photo : David Hegarty We completed our naked sandwich by heading off to the clothing optional after party in a nearby beer garden. We enjoyed the outdoor BBQ , mingled seamlessly with the non-bike riders and the embraced the freedom of the day by drinking au natural well into the evening. For those who can’t comprehend the concept of non sexual social nudity , I only wish that you were present in that pub as there was no voyeuristic or exhibitionistic overtones as all integrated naturally. Credit Photo : Stephanie Power So as I look back on that epic day what were the life lessons learnt ….. Am I the same person at the end of the day as I was at the start ? The answer is a resounding NO. Am I more confident and in a happier space at the end of the day ? The answer is a resounding YES. Did we bring a smile to the faces of thousands of people ? The answer is a resounding YES. Will I actively encourage others to do the same ? You’ve guessed it , the answer is a resounding YES.