PEEPING TOMS OGLE NUDISTS; Irish naturist club boss slams 'perverts'.
Irish Naturist Association (INA) may be about to celebrate its 40th anniversary, but according to the group's boss they still can't wear their birthday suits in public.
Despite the fact that going topless and wearing G-strings has become the norm, naturists still have to contend with Peeping Toms and antiquated laws which make it illegal to even undress in your own bedroom if the curtain isn't drawn.
The INA came into being after a group of Irish holidaymakers met up in the Canaries in 1965.
Impressed at the freedoms offered by nudist beaches, they brought the idea back home with them and set up an association to promote the concept.Although naturism hardly raises an eyebrow on the continent, back home voyeurs are still an occupational hazard for naturists wishing to enjoy a day at the beach:
INA president Pat Gallagher said: "I call them Meerkats, we see heads popping up and down in the dunes. It doesn't bother me, but I think it says something about the society we live in.
"Most people are still rather secretive about being a naturist. If you went to the pub people would openly talk about sport or the holiday they were on, but yet they would shy away from talking about being on a naturist holiday.
"If you worked at teaching for example, you might not want someone getting the wrong idea. Personally I'm very open and can't see what the fuss is all about."
Pat's early foray's into naturism were trips to Wexford to quiet out of the way beaches, where a wind cheater was erected to keep away prying eyes.
Today the INA is involved in campaigning for legally designated areas for nudists:
Pat said: "This year's slogan is Bums On Beaches. Presently we have about a thousand members.
"We also have a monthly magazine. I didn't get involved with ther INA until 1980. Prior to that me and my wife Mary and our in-laws had been doing our own thing without realising that such an organisation existed. We didn't even know we were naturists, we never even realised there was a name for it."As the membership grew, the INA decided to set up a number of branches nationwide.
The Dublin-based Club Aquarius caters for people in the Leinster area with the Southern Naturist Club caters for people in the Cork and Munster area.
Club Aquarius runs a weekly swim through-out the year in a hired pool. Similarly, the Southern Naturist Club uses a leisure club facility in South Tipperary which has a jacuzzi and swimming pool.
Camping weekends are also a popular fixture for the more hardy and the INAhas land near Drogheda it uses.
Currently it is an offence liable to prosecution to be found naked, even on private land, and viewable from a public place.
The law even applies to people in their own bedroom if their curtains are not drawn. Regardless, Pat feels these laws will one day change.
He said: "No one takes any notice of topless sunbathing any more and swimming costumes are getting skimpier all the time which indicates people feel more comfortable with less clothes,"
TOP SITES FOR GREAT CRAIC
THE Irish Naturist Association recommend the following unofficial nudist beaches:
CO MAYO: Achill Island, Westport, Bartraw, Tramore
CO CORK: Clonakilty Bay, Long Strand
CO DUBLIN: Dalkey, Corballis, Donabate
CO GALWAY: Silver Strand, Roundstone
CO WEXFORD: Curracloe, Brittas Bay
CO SLIGO: Yellow Strand, Trawalua Strand
CO KERRY: Inch
BEACH BUMS: Poster marks campaign; WHEEL SIGHT: French tourists bike nude in Ireland; BOOTY CAMP: Meath; BARE BOULES: Corballis
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|Publication:||The People (London, England)|
|Date:||Aug 21, 2005|
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