Can you tell me more about the traditional Christmas swim?

Can you tell me more about the traditional Christmas swim?

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Posted Fri 17 Dec 2021 2:32 PM
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Absolutely! A big tradition in Ireland is the annual Christmas Day swim. Thousands of swimmers brave the chilly waters on Christmas morning, often in aid of their chosen charity. Here are some of the popular spots to take a Christmas dip.

The Forty Foot in Sandycove, south County Dublin, is one of the most famous spots for the Christmas Day swim – and for good reason! Expect a huge crowd of festive swimmers lining up to take a leap off the rocks into the sea below. Don’t worry if you’re not an early bird, this event lasts until mid-afternoon meaning you’ve plenty of time to enjoy the cold waves and camaraderie amongst the other swimmers.

You could also take a trip down to Skerries in north County Dublin. The annual swim here is held at around midday and is a popular tradition drawing a big, good-humoured crowd. Some charity organisers will have hot drinks and food available to warm up afterwards but it’s always a good idea to bring your own, too.

In County Kerry, the Christmas Day swim at Fenit is the biggest in Munster. Swimmers also gather at Derrynane Bay at around noon to take the plunge. Whether it’s your first dip or if you’re a seasoned Christmas swimmer, there’s always great camaraderie.

The annual dip in County Galway raises funds for the vulnerable and the homeless. The swim takes place from 10am and lasts until 1pm in Blackrock, Salthill. You’ll be sure to receive a warm welcome from the other swimmers.

In Nothern Ireland, many swimmers often gather for a swim in Newcastle, County Down. Festive jumpers may come off but Santa hats remain on as swimmers plunge into the Irish sea.

Another popular spot is Portstewart Strand on the Causeway Coast, where locals raise money for their chosen cause whilst making some memories, too. It always helps to warm up with a hot Irish whiskey after, or even a creamy Irish coffee.

Wherever you decide to go, a Christmas swim around the island of Ireland a great way for enjoying a bit of cheer with the locals, even if you’re not taking the leap yourself. If you are deciding to go for the plunge - exercise a lot of caution. Ireland’s waters are very, very cold around Christmas time and cold-water shock,  afterdrop and hypothermia are real threats,  so if you’re not used to cold water temperatures,  it might be better to stay dry and watch the buzz from the sidelines instead. 

Do any of our community members have fond memories of a Christmas Day swim in Ireland?
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Posted Mon 20 Dec 2021 2:04 PM
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Hi Georgina, 

I absolutely love the idea of a Christmas swim and hopefully will be able to join one this year! We've been wild swimming a lot near Helen's Bay, but you can find more recommendations for locations, as well as helpful safety tips on the official Wild Swimming Ireland page. 🏊

Speaking about Christmas traditions, do you have any to share? I personally love visiting the Christmas markets, and the candles in the window on Christmas Eve. 

What are some of your own favourite Irish Christmas traditions?🎄


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