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Into the DEEP

A SLIGOMAN who can hold his breath for five minutes and can dive to depths of over 40m meters on a single breath will feature in a radio documentary this coming Saturday.

Feargus Callagy is a freediver when he's not fitting fireplaces and stoves.

His interest in the sport is so great that he's turned his passion into a pioneering business.

The innovative Sligo native set up 'Freedive Ireland' and now teaches freediving from his base in Mullaghmore.

Feargus had a keen interest in scuba diving in his 20's but about eight years ago on his 30th birthday he decided to give freediving a go.

He said: "I was hooked straightway after doing my first course."

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Freediving is the art, sport or science of holding one's breath underwater.

Feragus enjoys recreational freediving, going down to depths of about ten or 15 meters "just to look at the fish" off the coast of Mullaghmore barrelling down in the Atlantic Ocean enjoying the sensation of swimming underwater in absolute silence.

Competitive freediving is also becoming a popular sport.

Feargus spends nearly every week-end off the coast of Mullaghmore, teaching many locals and visitors the techniques of holding their breath for long periods.

His students are mainly Irish and range in age from 20s to 50s.

They dive close to the shoreline so there's no need to use boats to get out further.

While freediving to depths of 15 meters can be done without a safety rope longer dives would require a line.

The most important piece of advice from Feargus is: "never dive alone."

He said: "That's just playing Russian roulette. If you get a blackout whilst on your own you'll drown.

"In seven years I've never experienced a blackout but it has been known to happen, particularly in competition."

His story about how he became involved in freediving will be told on an RTE Radio One documentary called Fire and Water this coming Saturday at 2p.m.

The programme follows Feargus as he travels from Sligo to Sharm El Sheikh, the Egyptian Red Sea resort, to meet his free-diving heroes and attempt a personal record 50 metre dive.

The Documentary on One describes how Feargus swaps forklifts and fireplaces to swim in the deep and teach students breathhold techniques.