RUGBY STAR Sean O'Brien was the first to take the plunge in Carlow town park when he dived into the River Barrow along with 52 swimmers to raise funds for Crumlin Children's Hospital.
Over in Bagenalstown 30 brave souls jumped in to raise money for the Carlow/Kilkenny Homecare along with more than 100 people who took part in the annual walk. It was the 20th anniversary swim of Bagenalstown woman Vera Power.
The Carlow swimmers were made up of two representatives from each GAA club in the county along with 25 local swimmers.
'Sean hit the water so hard that there was a tsunami in Leighlinbridge,' laughed organiser Gerry Brennan. 'He is a very nice fella. He said he would rather spend ten minutes in an ice bath than jump in to the river it was that cold.'
Six members of Carlow's sub aqua club, under the guidance of Ollie Byrne, were on hand and two divers ensured the Barrow was free of shopping trolleys and debris before the swim. The Order of Malta were on the bank ready to offer their services if needed.
'We had around 200 spectators there also along with collection buckets, so I think we did really well with the fundraising but all of the money hasn't been counted yet,' he added.
In Bagenalstown the unveiling of a bench in memory of Vera Power was postponed as Vera's daughter Veronica, who takes part in the swim each year, is unwell and couldn't attend.
'We wish her a speedy recovery,' said organiser Mary Foster.