Bare-cheeked face their fears, their insecurities and the chilly sea water to raise cash for charity
The biggest naked public splash in Irish history yesterday brought 350 people, mostly women, to Dunmoran Strand near Skreen, Co Sligo.
About 50 men, dashing across the beach 100 metres away from the women, joined the all-nude Dip in the Nip.
Four couples who insisted on splashing in together had a third departure point another 100 metres away. Organiser Maire Garvey said the separate starting points were to ensure women, or men, who were shy about showing their bodies in front of the opposite sex could take part without embarrassment.
The ban on clothes didn't spoil the dippers' efforts to turn the day into a laugh-a-minute gig to raise funds in the battle against cancer.
One woman, who arrived late, went in on her own with her pet chihuahua. Red-haired Wilhelmina Callaghan, 38, from Belturbet, Co Cavan, said: "I thought I would bring Richard, my chihuahua, for a dip. It was fine coming from Cavan but I got lost on the roads around Sligo, but I don't mind going in on my own."
One man had his body painted all blue with a floral sea-scene. Geoff Seabert, 48, originally from Philadelphia and now living in Sligo, said: "The more blue I looked the less naked I feel."
He added: "My Irish mother-in-law has cancer. She has skin cancer and breast cancer and the Irish care system is looking after her. She is doing fine."
Labour Party senator Susan O'Keeffe, the only public representative to take part, carried a red rose and wore a green hat.
"I wear it when I'm doing silly things. I bought this hat in Rome 20 years ago and then got arrested. The police thought we passed a fake note. They locked us up for three hours. It was the guy in the shop that swapped the money back but it took them three hours to unravel it. This hat reminds me of mad things and good times."
The dip, the third annual one in Co Sligo, was this year named after cancer patient Mona Heneghan, from Co Mayo, who took part in the first at Lissadell in 2009 and died last year after battling the illness for eight years.