'Tis the season for surfing, skiing and swimming
HUNDREDS of hardy souls took the plunge into icy winter waters during Christmas Day swim events nationwide.
Swimmers wearing Santa hats got into the festive spirit, with many leaping into the freezing seas in aid of worthy causes.
More than 300 people ran and dived into the Atlantic at Banna Beach, Co Kerry, in aid of the local sea rescue unit.
Over the border in Cork, 100 people took part in a swim at Garrylucas Beach, Kinsale.
Farther north, hundreds turned up at Dublin's Forty Foot in Sandycove, famous every festive season for swimmers who are not fazed by cold weather.
Meanwhile, revellers in bikinis and board shorts mounted 10-foot-high waves to go surfing at Strandhill, Co Sligo.
Dozens braved bitter winds but enjoyed a clear blue sky at the surfing 'hot' spot on the north-west coast.
The beach at Strandhill is a favourite surfing spot for former Westlife singer, Kian Egan.
However, the star, who lives nearby, gave it a miss this year after arriving home just in time for Christmas with wife Jodi Albert and two-year-old baby Koa, who celebrated his birthday six days ago.
Kian, who was crowned jungle king after winning the latest 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here', said he did not take part in the annual surf event this year because he had just rejoined his family and was eager to be with them.
"I've done a few Christmas surfs and I'm supporting the charity the guys are surfing for this year," he said.
"But I'm spending the day with my family this time round.
"If Koa was old enough for a Christmas Day surf, maybe we would have considered it."
The surf-spree was to raise funds for the Rennafix charity, which was set up two years ago after the tragic death of Sligo surfer Paul Rennick (33) in Australia.
The charity helps in the promotion of positive mental health through outdoor activities.
Elsewhere in Sligo, Lough Arrow was the setting for a swim in aid of the NorthWest Hospice.
Those who gathered at Killaloe, Co Clare, swam in aid of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
Swimmers also took to Loughrea Lake in Co Galway and dived off the Creevy Pier in Co Donegal to raise money for other worthy causes.