Back with part 2 of our rather extended St.Patrick’s Day posting.
This one features, sadly, just one photo of Seosaimhin (Irish for Josephine, I’m told) at a Martello Tower at the Brittania Village Sim (based on Folkestone, Kent, England), hence the UK flag flying over it rather than an Irish one this St. Patrick’s Day.
And this time, there’s some RL naturist link. As well as in England, Martello Towers were built around the British Empire of the time, and that included Ireland, articularly around the Dublin area. One is particularly famous at Sandycove, due to James Joyce living in it, and also setting it as the home of the character of Stephen Dedalus (in ‘Ulysses’).
Not only that, but one location close to this tower is known as ‘Forty Foot’. Not a reference to the width of the beach, or depth of the water, but that it was a bathing place of the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot, a British army regiment who subsequently became The Black Watch. The Forty Foot were stationed closed by, and the beach became their chosen place of (nude) bathing.
In ‘Ulysses’, Buck Mulligan takes a dip there in that he calls ‘the snot green sea, the scrotum tightening sea’ (due to the Irish Sea being, well, blooming cold!)
Thereafter, it became a ‘gentleman’s bathing place’, code for ‘nude bathing’, and remained so until the 1970s when feminists struck out to claim equality, so that nude bathing is available to both genders now, despite Ireland not officially having any naturist beaches (the only country in Europe without any, I believe).
I don’t imagine many who historically took the plunge there would maybe have historically considered themselves nudist, but in poorer times (and certainly in the era of a British Army regiment doling out ‘kit’) a swimsuit was an unnecessary luxury. Instead, the hardy swimmers of Dublin’s fair city would have accepted they simply wore the swimsuit God gave them.
Seosaimhin prepares to take to the waters beside an SL Martello Tower.
The entrance to the RL ‘Forty Foot’ on the outskirts of Dublin
All of this sounds like a typical Irish solution to a typical Irish problem. Don’t have ‘official’ naturist beaches…but establish a set of rules whereby it can exist. 🙂 Who can fail to love the Irish approach to ‘issues’?
The Irish Naturist Association have a website here, for those who may be interested in naturist activities in the Emerald Isle. In 2014 the 34th International Naturist Federation Congress will take place in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim.