DINGLE endurance swimmer Nuala Moore became only the second person in Ireland to have swam an ice mile in water measuring less than five degrees centigrade last Sunday as she completed the amazing feat in Peddlar's Lake on Conor Pass.
Nuala, who recently competed in the Russian Ice Swimming Championships in Siberia, completed the 1,700 metre swim in 36 minutes in water which measured only 3.5 degrees celsius in temperature.
However having exited the water, as she began her recovery process to restore her body to its normal core temperature with the aid of her support team, deteriorating weather conditions on Conor Pass left Nuala in a perilous position.
"My team were fantastic but as we began the recovery process the snow had started to fall; my feet were frozen and I couldn't stand up," Nuala told The Kerryman.
The deteriorating weather conditions meant the descent from Peddlar's Lake back to the Conor Pass road could have been extremely dangerous and with the drop in air temperature as the team attempted to restore the endurance swimmer's core body temperature to within a safe range, for her safety, the decision was made to contact Shannon Marine Rescue.
"The wind had lifted and the snow was falling fast so the Shannon Marine Rescue helicopter air-lifted me from Conor Pass to Kerry General Hospital at around 2.30pm," said Nuala.
Thankfully Nuala's core temperature, which was a dangerous 31 degrees celsuis upon exiting the lake, had been restored to 34 degrees with the aid of her team upon arriving at Kerry General Hospital and she was fit to go home at 5pm that day.
Nuala had been monitoring the lake's temperature for some weeks in an effort to complete the swim.
"The conditions we needed arose last Sunday and we decided to go for it as it may have been the only opportunity available to us," said Nuala.
However the endurance swimmer had also endured a very heartwrenching and emotional weekend as her dog Hally, who was known in Dingle as ' the hospital dog' - a regular visitor to the elderly patients of the West Kerry Community Hospital - had passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning.
"I had no sleep, no food, it was an emotional night and I probably went into the swim below par however it could have been the only chance we had at it," said Nuala.
"Hally meant a lot to so many people and we were so sad to let her go. But so much preparation had gone into the swim and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to complete it.
"I must commend my amazing team; the crew of Dingle Cliff and Coast Rescue Service, Maryanne, Frances and Ciara, Paul and Gary from Fourth Element and the wonderful crew of the Shannon Marine Rescue Service, Carol for driving my jeep home and the staff of Kerry General Hospital for their immense professionalism which was second to none. I am eternally grateful to all of them," she said.