Monday 16 September 2019

Two ways to earn your turkey dinner - leap into the cold sea or join the Goal Mile run

Everybody in: There was a full-blooded charge for the water at yesterday’s charity swim at Portmarnock Beach, Co Dublin. PHOTO: Maxpix
Everybody in: There was a full-blooded charge for the water at yesterday’s charity swim at Portmarnock Beach, Co Dublin. PHOTO: Maxpix
Warm smile on a cold day: Donna Kate Murray from Sandycove at the Forty Foot. PHOTO: Frank McGrath
Bikini weather: Eva Cullen, Emily Stephenson, Juliet Stephenson and Katie Cullen join the Christmas Swim at the Forty Foot, Sandycove, Co Dublin. PHOTO: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Run, Mum!: Bobby Bradshaw (9) from Irishtown with his mum Paula during the Goal Mile run at Irishtown Stadium. PHOTO: Frank McGrath
Adam Ghalaieny (6), London, and sister Samira (8) at the Goal Mile at Irishtown
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Santa hats, red robes, costumes - hundreds turned up for a leap into the water at the Forty Foot, many before they'd even opened their Christmas presents.

The weather was kind to those braving the sea in Dún Laoghaire this year compared to 2017, but there were few that stuck around in the water for longer than a minute.

For the majority it's a Christmas tradition and the whole family go along.

Eabha McMahon (28), from Dalkey, goes for a dip every morning, but said Christmas is extra special. "It clicks a reset button in your body and it's unbelievable, I love it," she said.

"It's amazing, it's such a buzz. I think it's so funny that in Ireland, one of the coldest countries, that we do this on Christmas Day.

"Our Christmas wouldn't be the same without it.

"We all dress in Santa hats and make a big thing of it."

Asked whether there was an exchange of Christmas gifts beforehand, she said "you have to do the swim first".

Meanwhile, Mark Earley, from Glasthule, Dublin, dived into the water twice wearing a full snowman costume.

He insisted it wasn't madness in the cold conditions.

"I think the suit adds a little bit of excitement for the day. I've been doing it for the past 10 years wearing something silly into the water," he said.

"I'm kind of used to it; like I said, a bit more fun."

Karl O'Sullivan (28), from Dún Laoghaire, was sporting a Santa hat and beard combo, though he managed to lose both after jumping in.

He had a close call with his foot hitting a rock as he landed in the water, and admitted it was only a 30-second stint before getting in.

"I'm not here to swim, I'm just here to jump in, the tradition; getting in the water is harder," he said.

"I did it last year and it was a lot colder last year, it was grand today.

"I was a little bit nervous.

"I'd recommend jumping in over walking in. If you're walking in, you're going to be there all day wetting your feet - if you're jumping in, you're in and that's it."

Closer to the city, 1,000 people appeared at Irishtown Stadium for the annual Goal Mile.

It's anticipated that with all the similar Goal Mile events across the country, around €250,000 in total will be raised by the event.

Gaye Maguire, from Bray, Co Wicklow, and Joe Devine, from Malahide, Dublin, make an annual event of it, both wrapped up in Santa suits.

"It's great, it's a super charity so it's just great to get out and do something," Gaye said.

"You meet some of the same people every year so it's a real social thing too. Fair play to the gang who are organising it, same guys here every year."

It's a warmer option than jumping into the Forty Foot, Gaye insisted: "I wouldn't do the Forty Foot, I wouldn't be able for it."

Irish Independent

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