Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.13 7 Aug 2020


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There has been a rise in naturism in Ireland, which is being partially attributed to the COVID-19 restrictions.

The Irish Naturist Association has seen a surge in interest in the past few weeks, with a 31% increase in memberships between May and July.

Member Ciara Boud told The Hard Shoulder: "I'm an artist first and foremost and all my work is kind of always centred around nakedness, the body and Ireland's attitude towards the body.

"So originally when I joined it was to look at doing kind of a collaborative art project with them.

"But I've done naturism from travelling - in the saunas in Japan or in Iceland - and just moving around the place.

"But once you join the association and you see how welcoming everyone is, you start to see the point as to why there's an association in the first place for that kind of more social nudity aspect, I guess".

The association has more than 200 members, around 20% of whom are women.

On this, Ciara said: "It is really different in other countries: in Brazil, I'm pretty sure it's majority female.

"In the Nordic countries, it's more 50/50, but I would say it kind of shows that country's attitudes towards the body and females bodies.

"In the Nordic countries there was people that are also kind of in the public eye, and they're very out about being naturist."

On the increase in membership, Ciara suggested: "Maybe people had more time to be online, they're looking up stuff.

"The Irish Naturists have a very good presence on Instagram or Facebook or their YouTube channel.

"For me personally, it was quite a reflective experience: if you're spending more time with yourself".

"We did online pubs, we did talks, we're trying to get a podcast going... we'd different naked gardening competitions, work naked Wednesday was really popular.

"I highly recommend it, get it into the studio there - they'll love it!"

Ciara said she had no hang-ups about her body or being naked.

"I think after you're experienced being naked around other people and you've experienced your body and you become comfortable with it, it sounds odd but it almost just stops immediately."

"I'll let you in on a secret: we're all naked under our clothes."

On joining the association, she explained: "I used to live in Greece and it was just something that we used to do on a Saturday: you'd head out to the beach, or you'd head out to the naturist beach.

"We always preferred the naturist ones over the ones with people wearing clothes, it just felt more free and more natural."

"But I was a little apprehensive for a while, and I actually didn't join for about a year once I stated wanting to do more artistic projects with people around the body".

On naturism and the Irish weather, she said: "You get accustomed to it, the same way that people live out by the sea and they're swimming every day... and even in the harshest of winters.

"I'm not that brave - I go out for the new year's day swim but that's kind of it for me.

"I prefer the warmer weather as well, I suppose".

'You get accustomed to it' - Irish Naturist Association sees surge in memberships

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Main image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay 

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