Thursday 23 January 2020

'It was freezing' - hundreds take the plunge in Bray to kick 2020 off to a chilly start

L to. R: Patricia Hannon, Denise McCormack, Cepta Gammell at the Bray New Years swim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
L to. R: Patricia Hannon, Denise McCormack, Cepta Gammell at the Bray New Years swim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

Mícheal Ó Scannáil

Swimmers in Bray started the New Year with a splash as they took the plunge for a good cause.

Around 300 people turned up for the annual charity New Year swim in Bray today with all proceeds going to homelessness charities.

The swim was kicked off by the Bray Beach Bellies, who were the first to brave the cold.

A member of the swimming club, Linda Uhlemann, said that the freezing plunge is nothing new to them.

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“We swim every morning at 7.30am, all year round, 365 days of the year - and we dance at midnight,” she said.

“We’re rough and ready. The water was gorgeous.

“We’re normally swimming in the dark so to swim in the sun is beautiful.”

The cold wasn’t for everyone though. Duggan cousins Izzy (13), Erin, Abi and Beau (all 10) as well as Otis Glynn (13) and Kate Huizenga (17) all agreed “it was freezing!”

Adrian Lee from Naas, Co. Kildare at the Bray New Year swim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Adrian Lee from Naas, Co. Kildare at the Bray New Year swim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

“It was on the verge of being ice,” Izzy added.

Danny Bohan, President of Bray Lyons club who organises the event every year said that this was one of the most successful years.

“We were blessed with the weather. The weather is always a huge factor,” he added.

“If you have a good day, you can be sure you’ll get a good turnout and you can see that by the volume of people that were on the seafront.

“It’s just a nice tradition, people coming together with new resolution on the first day of the year and it’s just to support the less fortunate people in the community.”

The scenic Bray Head was the backdrop of today’s swim, however, the outfits on the beach were more of a jovial nature.

Among the costumes were a variance of Christmas outfits and a group dressed for the sunny seas of Hawaii.

Seamus Connor from Wicklow had a head-to-toe snowman costume on as he braved the sea.

L to. R: Denise McCann, Louise Shanley, Grace McEvoy, Sarah Ledwidge, Anne Burke at the Bray New Year swim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
L to. R: Denise McCann, Louise Shanley, Grace McEvoy, Sarah Ledwidge, Anne Burke at the Bray New Year swim. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

“I love Wicklow and it’s a bit frosty in the sea so I thought I would dress up as a snowman, because there’s snow place like Wicklow,” he laughed.

“I’ve done it the last nine years and the water wasn’t too bad this year.

“It’s a bit of fun and it’s for a really good cause.”

According to the event organisers, the swim has become so popular because after taking the dip once, people want to keep on coming back.

Cepta Gammell and Trish Hannon from Bray join in every year, and said that everyone would feel more alive upon joining them.

“I feel so alive after that,” Cepta said.

“It was so invigorating and I think it’s a great way to bring the New Year in - with a splash.

“I feel so alive, I’d advise anyone to get in, especially if you have a hangover.

“Now, where’s the whiskey?”

This was echoed by Robert Hogan from Wicklow.

“We’re here because of the great cause of the Bray homeless sleepers,” he said.

“The best way of understanding what the water is like is getting in, so if you’re not in this year get on in.”

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