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Radio doc makes waves


FEARGUS CALLAGY swapped making stoves and fireplaces for something rather extreme - freediving.

Eight years on and he's a qualified instructor, and owner of the school, Free Dive Ireland.

A RTE Radio 1 documentary featuring Feargus, Fire and Water, scooped Gold at the recent World Radio awards held in New York.

Feargus laughed and said that it's an unusual sport to try and explain via the airwaves.

"Free diving is hard at the best of times to get across, even on television, so the producers had their work cut out for them on the radio show!

"It was real fun to do though."

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The documentary was recorded last year and the majority of it was based in Mullaghmore, where his school is situated.

Feargus has been an instructor for three years and also tried his hand at scuba-diving. "When I was turning 30, I was thinking about trying of doing something different.

"I completed a course in the UK, which was pretty extensive.

"There are normally three to four different levels of training."

It's approaching his busiest time of the year, and bookings for August are filling up.

The quietest period is Winter.

"Normally, I travel around to different swimming pools during Winter and teach diving lessons there.

"The fish generally head into deeper waters at this time, and it's not all that pleasant to look at."

He said that there are approximately 15-20 diving instructors based in county Sligo alone.

"I think adventure sports in general is definitely growing in popularity.

"There is a high number in Sligo, however some may not be at it all that regularly."

Pol O' Conghaile, travel writer with the Irish Independent was on one of Feargus's lessons and got hooked.

"I invited him to another class and he asked if I'd be interested in doing the radio programme, which of course I was."

He claimed that the waters off the Northwest, particularly close to Mullaghmore, are ideal for freediving.

"Of course, the last couple of weeks have been perfect with the weather, and with Mullaghmore headland, this also means that there is more shelter."

He cites Dusky, a dolphin off the coast of Clare as one of the coolest things he's seen in the deep waters.

"The basking sharks off Sligo were pretty good too.

"Generally, I tend to stay offshore and don't go out all that far.

"It depends who's around, sometimes we might go to Innismurray island."

Most of the depths stay around the 10-15 metre mark.

"The deepest I've gone is 44metres.

"I'm more into the marine life, which is located at around 15 metres under water."