Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain 'got naked' in a Japanese spa
Published 11/07/2015 | 08:20
In what might seem like an unusual move for a former Rose of Tralee, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain has revealed she got naked in a spa in Japan.
The Mayo native was travelling in the Far East as part of a maths symposium and admitted that, while she found the idea "quite horrific" initially, it ended up being quite an "eye-opening experience".
"It was two weeks in Japan with professors from all over the world and we all went to Japan to see how they teach mathematics over there," she explained.
However, the trip took an unusual turn when they went to visit a hot spring in a hotel near Mount Fuji.
"About five days into this two-week trip of a maths symposium, we went Yamanashi, further north of Tokyo, and we were going to go to the hot springs," she explained.
"I was very excited about this because I had brought my swimming suit with me.
"And on the bus, our professor told us all about the hot springs close to Mount Fuji, and the thermal springs that are in what is called the 'onsen' that make your skin all lovely, and we were all excited about this until he told us what's actually involved."
The professor explained that everyone had to be naked.
"Thankfully, it's not mixed gender, but still these are professionals that you were working with," Aoibhinn laughed.
"You go into a room, you put on this Japanese robe called a Yukata, then they take you down to the spa - and then it all comes off.
"It certainly was an experience. It's all ages from 80 to 10, of all shapes and sizes, and it's a nice way of doing things, but for people coming from a Catholic background, it was very different. We certainly became friends afterwards," she added.
After spending some time in the springs, they put back on their robes and were brought to dinner.
"Dinner is then in this big room and you're sitting on the floor and you're supposed to stay in the same robe," she told Anton Savage on Today FM.
"Obviously, I went back up and put back on my underwear, but a lot of other people didn't.
"It was certainly an eye-opener but I don't think it would work here."