Nude friendly: Dublin's Forty Foot

A number of complaints have been made to gardaí about nude swimmers bathing on White Rock beach in Dalkey, south Dublin, and a local councilor is campaigning for a sign to be erected informing the public that it is not a nudist beach.

White Rock beach is along the coast between Dalkey and Killiney and is one of the most popular family beaches in Dublin because of its views of Killiney Bay, Dalkey Island and Bray Head.

"Every summer, we get complaints from parents when they go down to the beach and come across nude swimmers. In some cases, the children get quite a fright," said a garda source.

"It is not a nude beach. There's not much we can do about it except go down when the complaint is made. It's a family beach – people should know better."

There is a swimming area for naturists not far from White Rock beach at the Forty Foot in Sandycove, a deep sea water inlet between Sandycove and Bullock Harbour.

For 250 years, it has been a place where people come and swim all year round whatever the weather and a small band of naturists are in regular attendance.

"With the Forty Foot so close by, it doesn't make sense or seem fair that people who wish to swim in the nude would be upsetting families at White Rock," said the garda. "Every summer we get a couple of complaints and this year won't be any different. Because the weather's been so good recently, the beach has gotten busy again."

While gardaí can arrest nude swimmers for indecent exposure, they do not make arrests unless they believe the person is "deliberately being lewd" or refuses to put their clothes back on.

Local Fine Gael councillor Mary Mitchell O'Connor said: "It's somehow become known as a nude beach. Residents and parents have come to me saying they're very uncomfortable about it. They are very concerned and I absolutely understand their concern," she said.

Mitchell O'Connor put forward a motion at a Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council meeting requesting that a sign be put up informing the public that it is not a nudist beach but the motion was not passed.