Appropriately enough for Ireland’s first International Naturist conference, many attendees were suitably undressed.
Almost 150 people from 30 countries arrived in Leitrim yesterday for the four-day conference of the World Federation of Naturists.
One issue was a change of legislation here to allow certain beaches or parts of beaches be designated for naturists.
Eamonn Scully, representing Irish Naturist Association president Pat Gallagher, said: “It is not our desire or intention to walk around nude in O’Connell St in Dublin or anywhere like that.
“What we really want is to be able to go to a beach and enjoy ourselves nude without having to wear swimming togs and to be left alone. A change of legislation would only be required for councils to put a sign up and say ‘nudists only’ beyond this point.”
Fáilte Ireland’s Brian Quinn, who is heading the Wild Atlantic Way team, was there to welcome the visitors.
He said that Fáilte Ireland doesn’t have a policy on whether to promote nudist beaches.
“This is a conference event in a private setting and we were very happy to support it,” he said. “If this does lead to social change, it may be people are prepared for it.”
Although nudity in public in Ireland is still illegal, a special part of Lough Allen Hotel, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, was set aside for the naturists. Half the balcony outside the conference room was roped off so they could enjoy afternoon tea — sans clothing.