Friday 14 December 2018

Spirits high as hardy New Year dippers brave Blackwater

John Tarrant

A New Year's Day tradition was maintained in Millstreet after hardy souls enjoyed a quick dip on the river Blackwater.

Heavy showers failed to dampen the enthusiasm as swimmers and supporters made their way to the famous Boeing near Millstreet for the ninth annual staging. Despite a swollen river from heavy overnight rain, there was no stopping willing volunteers.

The new year dip is now a popular event on the calendar at a historic location - the Boeing is associated with the epic march of O'Sullivan Bere from West Cork to Leitrim more than 410 years ago. Those participating supported the beneficiaries from the staging, the Irish Guide Dogs For the Blind, as a festive atmosphere surrounded the event with a hardy group of volunteers taking the dip in chilly waters.

Organisers ensured there was plenty of mulled wine, hot drinks and refreshments for one and all. Super Valu in Millstreet helped to sponsor the event as did the Bush Bar, Malpaso Bar and Liam Flynn.

Co-ordinator Eileen Tarrant was on hand to present souvenir tee shirts to those volunteers who took the plunge. The generous contributions of the public ensured the venture was an outstanding success for what's become a permanent event on the calendar fixture over the past decade.

Eileen expressed delight at the turnout and spoke of the Irish Guide Dogs as a worthy beneficiary. "Every cent raised will go to the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, this is an invaluable charity which does so much for people. Every year since we began we have picked local charities and we felt that the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind would be our choice in 2018", said Eileen.

"For insurance purposes we needed an ambulance to be in attendance, and thanks to Jerry McAuliffe, a volunteer with the Irish Red Cross Millstreet-Kanturk division, who very kindly turned up to support the charity event", she added.