Western Glees

When I was fourteen our Latin teacher asked us to participate in the brand-new students literary journal. So far only a beautiful anonymous poem had been submitted and I found myself striving to produce some compelling narrative at the height of those deeply cryptic verses. It didn’t matter that my classmates were not interested in literature, I finally came up with a story that had the desired effect on my teacher. I wasn’t so sure it was that good but she seemed very impressed. It was some sort of coming-out story that ended in a dreamlike private party with lots of diverse characters discussing art around a nude statue. I was just trying to depict my idea of coolness at fourteen and, to be truthful to my textile upbringing, the nude statue element was there probably on account of my classical studies teacher or as a subversive touch but not hinting at any latent nudist inclination.

Flashforward  a couple of decades and I am driving away from our Cavan summer picnic, suddenly  smiling to myself while that old creative writing memory comes to mind after our magnificent nudist party on the 14th August 2021. My idea of coolness hasn’t changed that much, I’m amused at that insight. It still involves human diversity, a surprising setting and some sort of originality. We had it all at David’s party, including naturism and the inherent good vibe that makes it always a recipe for success.

An amalgam of people from all corners of Ireland, most of them unfamiliar with each other, seized the chance of naturist prospects in a safe environment and appreciated David’s generous disposition to host a summer party for all interested members of Irish Naturist Association alongside our friends from British Naturism Northern Ireland. A sauna, a hot tub, a greenhouse, a marquee, a barbeque, a delicious buffet, a forest walk, raindrops for Irishness, an artist with loads of nude drawings and even a proper lecture. Plus the uniqueness of social nudity with all the added mental blessings. My fourteen-year-old self would have been proud of this!

While some people stayed and camped overnight in Cavan, I had decided to immerse myself in a West Irish expedition that week-end. I drove west through Co. Leitrim and Fermanagh, making a mental note of the many lakes, and arrived at the charming town of Bundoran. Unaware of the scenic views of the cliff walk, I promptly ended at the sea shore, amazed at the discovery of an inviting man-made pool, quite far away from the town centre, in which a man was swimming with his daughter. I couldn’t help thinking that pool would be perfect for a spontaneous skinny dip some time later if I managed to bring someone with me there. (I didn’t in the end, so it’ll stay as an open bill in my accounts).

The next day led me to the Benbulben, the beginning of my Sligo adventures. I met new people again at the arranged time -this was an open event, and I was not disappointed to gather intrepid non members. We followed the circular trail with breathtaking views of the flat-topped rock formation. We admired the greenery and animal life of the mountain while observing the quaintness of our forest and the superb panoramic views up to the sea shore, and leveraging it all for fantastic shots directed by photographer Ciara Patricia Langan. That day we were the spirited protagonists of the Sligo phase of the Coastal Bodies Tour.

In the second part of the day we discussed how to explore Yellow Strand but couldn’t come to a valid conclusion as to where to park our cars, hence we decided to continue our naturist activities on the best traditional naturist beach thereabouts, Trawalua in the village of Cliffony, a 4-mile-long sandy beach whose naturism is well known by locals and duly appears on touristic sites: https://www.choosesligo.com/trawalua-beach.html

Our group of  ten people met with two more there. We carried on with poses resembling Durga, or some other multiple armed divinity and we also tasted the Sligo waters. As the signs warn, swimming is too dangerous on that beach but sunbathing and nude beachwalking is really advisable. Up to sixty naturists could be seen at a time during the heatwave, the reports went.

After a while it was time to go back to Dublin. Two of us carpooled and stopped on the way at Lough Melvin in Co. Fermanagh. We couldn’t resist going into the water at one deserted shore. That quick dip remains now as unfinished business, I would have had more swimming companions. 

A weekend full of naturism, my western glees did measure up to the northern delights.

Next time… southern joy! West Cork, here I come in summer 2022! 

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