Beach babes bare all for cancer fundraiser
The weather was far from kind, but the big-hearted women who took part did so with smiles on their faces at Pilmore Strand near Youghal in Co Cork and Dunmoran Strand at Skreen in Co Sligo.
Some had fought cancer, some had lost loved ones to it and others took part to highlight local causes.
Cathy Spellman, from Grange, Co Sligo, joined 15 friends from her village at the Skreen dip in memory of her daughter, Laura, who died last year at the age of 20 after a lifelong illness.
"All my friends who took part knew Laura, so there was a camaraderie about it all," said Cathy (50), a midwife at Sligo General Hospital, which will benefit from the money raised.
"It's fantastic. There's a great sense of bonding and it's good fun. For someone like me who can't run marathons, it's the perfect event."
June Comiskey (65), a retired bank worker from Marino, Dublin, travelled to the northwest for her fourth dip.
"I know a few people who have had cancer, and I just thought it was a fun thing to do to help raise awareness and money," she said.
Taking part in Cork was reflexologist Tara Sheridan (43). Having beaten cancer six times, she was told recently it had returned – but it was a false alarm.
She said: "I had a scan a couple of weeks ago that appeared to show problems, but one of the doctors asked for a biopsy just to check again and the results came back on Friday to say I was still all clear.
"So I've been on a high this weekend, and taking part in this event just topped it all."
Tara, who recently had a mastectomy, added: "Mirrors are not your friends, but after taking part you realise it's just a war wound you're dealing with and you get on with things."
Money raised in Cork will go to the Mercy University Hospital in the city.
The events are run by Maire Garvey, who got the idea from a psychic who asked if she liked swimming naked.
"I said no," said Maire, "but it gave me the idea and it's just taken off."
Dip in the Nip will take place in Meath and south Dublin next Sunday. To take part, phone 086-1733019 or see www.dipinthenip.eu.