Hundreds of hardy souls make a big splash
HUNDREDS of hardy souls braved icy winds and chilly waters around the country yesterday for the traditional New Year's Day swim.
They stripped bare, donned Santa hats, fancy dress, and Jedward costumes as they took the plunge for fun or to raise money for a host of charitable causes.
In Bray, Co Wicklow, 86-year-old Bridget Kelly togged out in fish-net stockings and a dark dress for her 29th New Year dip, organised by the local Lions Club.
Joining her among the throng of swimmers was the Dail's youngest TD, Simon Harris (25), who swapped the choppy political waters of Leinster House for the seas off the Wicklow coast with his brother Adam.
Former Wicklow Labour TD Liz McManus also took to the water with her son Ronan, the Cathaoirleach of Bray town council.
Mr McManus said he and his mum were doing the swim for several charities, including the Order of Malta and Bray Carers.
"My toes felt like they were going to fall off. It was good fun, there was a great bit of banter. It was always done in good spirit," he said.
Japanese students Rie Maruyuama and Sumiko Fujii, who are in Ireland studying English, also took part in the collective splash -- their first time bathing in Irish waters.
Swims also took place in other locations, including the picturesque seaside town of Courtmacsherry, Co Cork, as well as in Laghey in Co Donegal, and Carnlough Harbour, Co Antrim.
And there was strength in numbers in Inishowen as about 100 people ran into the sea en masse off Culdaff, in Co Donegal.