Thousands of Irish women donned their birthday suits – not their bathing suits – for a world-record skinny-dipping event intended to raise money for children’s cancer research, Reuters is reporting.
Specifically, 2,505 women gathered at Magheramore beach, a remote – and secluded – Irish sea beach about 37 or so miles southeast of Dublin. There, braving water temperatures of about 53 degrees, combined with air temperatures of about 70 degrees, the women suffered for five minutes in the bracingly-cold water. That was enough to count, says Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator Lucia Sinigagliesi, who officially granted the women the world record for the largest women’s skinny-dipping event.
Deirdre Betson, of Dunboyne, found the event empowering and validating.
“It was amazing. I have never been naked in front of anybody before, except my husband, and it was brilliant and bracing. We are all different shapes and sizes and ages and it was just super.”
So there’s a question that popped into this writer’s mind while researching this article, and you, the reader, may have wondered the same thing. Were men allowed? And the answer, according to The Independent is no, this event was women-only.
In fact, most of the women were either cancer survivors or women who had in some way been affected by cancer, such as event founder and cancer survivor Deirdre Featherstone.
“With our laughter, scars, dodgy boobs – or in a lot of cases only one or none, we would like to send a message that there is life after cancer and also raise awareness of how important it is for ladies to get checked. It’s a magical day for all involved.”
Featherstone said she came up with the idea for the skinny dip event after undergoing a mastectomy herself in 2013, when only a few dozen women turned up. The next year, a few hundred showed up. Over the years, the event has raised over 153,000 Euros (about $180,000), not counting this year’s take, for the children’s cancer charity Aoibheann’s Pink Tie.
The children’s charity was founded in 2010 by Mick Rochford and Jimmy Norman, after Norman’s daughter Aoibheann, 8, died of cancer. Aoibheann would have been 17 this year.
“We did it in her memory.”
In case you were wondering, the previous world record for mass skinny-dipping was set in 2015 in Australia. 786 participants gathered off the coast of Perth to promote positive body image, swimming in much more agreeable – though still pretty-darned-cold – 73-degree water. By comparison, the temperature of a warm bath is about 100 degrees.