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Saturday 17 August 2019

Taking the plunge: My dip at the Forty Foot following the bathing ban

Reporter Ian Begley jumps into the sea. Photo: Frank McGrath
Reporter Ian Begley jumps into the sea. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

"I wouldn't risk it if I didn't have to," said the young lifeguard on the shores of Dublin's Forty Foot.

But I decided to take the plunge anyway, all in the name of investigative journalism.

The popular bathing spot was teeming with swimmers who had flocked there as soon as Dún Laoghaire County Council lifted its swim ban. Reports of contaminated water earlier this week did not deter dozens of fearless enthusiasts who refused to let yesterday's sunshine go to waste.

One lifeguard, who did not want to be named, warned: "The symptoms of swimming in polluted water are a bit like food poisoning and while I'm sure the council have reason to believe the water is now safe, I certainly wouldn't risk it if I didn't have to."

This reporter, however, failed to take on board the lifeguard's advice and dived off the jagged cliffs numerous times to test the water for myself.

While the 17C heat did little to warm up the sea, I found the experience a very enjoyable one.

Bathing restrictions at three Dublin beaches have now been lifted, but the ban remains in place at Sandycove Beach, pending further test results expected today.

Dublin City Council also confirmed that the ban had been lifted at Dollymount Strand.

A spokesperson for Irish Water told the Irish Independent that surface water sources have recovered in most places.

However, some ground water sources have not recovered due to the lack of rainfall.

"Irish Water continues to monitor its water supplies around the country and we liaise regularly with Met Éireann to plan for prolonged periods of dry weather," the spokesperson said.

"For the large urban areas like Dublin and Cork the levels are currently stable and we are in a better position this year than we were this time last year."

Irish Independent

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