Cork’s first Naturist Festival

August 26th and 27th 2022.
the WNBR

It is an unlikely scene.

The steps of Cork City Hall are crowded with brightly painted naked cyclists, surrounding the city’s Deputy Lord Mayor who is giving a welcoming speech.

In the bright Saturday afternoon sunshine the gold of the mayoral chain of office stands out even in that colourful company.
Councillor Damian Boylan, deputising for The city’s First Citizen, looks completely comfortable giving his speech, as if it is the most natural thing in the world to address bare-chested and bottomless visitors.

And that is the magic of this moment.
Cycling naked through streets busy with afternoon shoppers is not merely tolerated.
It is officially welcomed.
For naturists in a small city, this is as good as it gets.
It is our moment.

But how did we get here?
I think the answer is in the sheer audacity of it.
Years ago, in the old Yahoo groups online naturist forum, there was a hotly debated subject: ought we venture out of the dunes and sunbathe on the beach?
In the open? Visible?
I was fascinated that it was even up for debate.

I was against hiding ourselves in the dunes for two main reasons.
First it made us invisible even to fellow naturists, making it practically impossible to achieve any sense of community or personal connection with others, which I believe to be vital to the growth of our movement.

Second, by keeping out of sight, by hiding ourselves, we are playing into the hands of people who would denounce us, those joyless souls who are quick to judge and put others down.

By bringing our naked bodies out into the open, we allow the rest of the world to see that we are ordinary decent people like anybody else.
By being brave, by claiming a space in full public sight, by asserting our right to hold joyful, naked gatherings in a fully public way, we make it more difficult for the miserable few to fabricate a negative stereotype about naturists that is based on their own toxic fantasies.

So, in that warm happy scene on the steps of Cork City Hall, we were able to share in the delight of the many passers-by who cheered and clapped for us.
We posed happily for delighted and amazed bus passengers who scrambled for their phones to take photos.
Every person on the steps wore a smile as if to say Nude and Proud.

The World Naked Bike Ride has been a gift to us in Cork, and continues to open doors and minds as we make our colourful and noisy way through the streets of the Real Capital.

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