So you want to strip off and go naked in Ireland? No problem, just be sure to do it in the privacy of your own room and only observed by consenting family and friends. Otherwise you might have a run-in with the law.
To be blunt: public nudity is illegal in Ireland. Though it might be tolerated occasionally. Here's the crunch - if you strip off in the wrong area you might find yourself having a lot of explaining to do.
Irish Laws say "Stay Covered"
At a first glance there seems to be no law against skinny-dipping or getting a tan without pale bits. But two Irish laws may apply if you drop your textiles:
- The Town Improvement Ireland Act of 1854 forbade men to expose themselves - apparently this was mainly aimed at urination in public, obviously just a male problem.
- The Public Order Act of 1935 criminalizes nudity - if the nudist intends to offend.
You can see that a. male nudity is a bigger problem and that b. the law might be open to interpretation. After all ... does or doesn't the intention to offend start with stripping off?
What it boils down to is this: nudity in public is off limits.
Curiously enough local authorities would have the power to establish cloth-free or clothing-optional areas on beaches. But none do, preferring to turn a blind eye to the problem. This might well be due to fear of a public opinion backlash should any authority be perceived to further "indecent behaviour".
Irish Nude Beaches Amongst Best in World
Now here's a curious fact - Irish beaches feature amongst the most popular nudist beaches in the world. Not a bad effort considering that there are no nudist beaches in Ireland.
Yet there are nudists in Ireland. And if they are not otherwise engaged or fighting the (often very vocal but still ludicrous) minority opinion that nudists are perverts and potential paedophiles ... they actually like to strip and hang out together. And slowly but surely they have claimed some areas as their own. Illegally - that goes without saying.
Regularly rated top are Trawalua in County Sligo (according to a Ryanair in-flight magazine even Nude Beach No. 1 in the world), Brittas Bay and Inch.
Zones of Tolerance - Where to "Get Nekkid" in Ireland
Here is a run-down of the beaches that have been "claimed" by Irish naturists - for detailed instructions how to get there visit the website of the Irish Naturists' Association. Take note that the "nude" parts of the beaches may be a considerable distance from the nearest car park and other facilities.
- Brittas Bay,
- Curracloe and
- Dalkey - Vico Road.
- Clonakilty Bay,
- Inchidonney and
- Long Strand.
- Achill Island - Trawmore,
- Roundstone - Dog's Bay,
- Silver Strand,
- Trawalua Strand and
- Yellow Strand.
According to the website of naturists in the UK there are no official or unofficial nude beaches in Northern Ireland. Which chimes in with a weird graffiti once seen in Belfast: "No Topless Beaches! Ulster Has Suffered Enough!"
On a slightly curious note you might also like to try Dublin's "Forty Foot", a public "gentlemen's" bathing place in the shadow of the James Joyce Tower at Sandycove. Here otherwise conservative gentlemen brave the waves naked, sometimes adding nude aerobics to the entertainment - in plain view of the busy promenade.
Some Final Words of Caution
If you hit any beaches mentioned above, do not get everything off without taking a good look around you first. You should be fairly safe if there are other nudists (or nobody) about. But should a group of elderly nuns and a large gathering of young schoolchildren enjoy the beach nearby it might be unwise to strip off in front of them. Let common sense prevail - bearing in mind that a complaint may lead to a run-in with the law.
Secondly - act naturally, do not flaunt yourself or engage in anything that might be interpreted as "sexually suggestive" or lewd behaviour. Let alone with a partner.
And finally - be aware that any rustling hedges might indicate wildlife as well as curious natives. With even topless tanning being rarely seen in Ireland you should get used to becoming an instant attraction to inquisitive (male) eyes.
Oh ... and just by the way ... check up on the Irish weather before planning a nudist holiday here. Average temperatures might see your enthusiasm shrinking fast!