NEW YEAR’S DAY was one to remember on Ballymoney Beach as the tradition of the Tara Vale Swimmers returned for the first time since 2020.
Over the last 15 years, more than €190,000 has been raised for the group’s chosen local charities: the Jack & Jill Foundation, St Aidan’s Services, the RNLI and North Wexford Hospice.
The target this year was to break the €200,000 mark, and Fergus Rapple of the Tara Vale Swimmers said that the team are on track to do just that.
“We didn’t know what to expect but trusted everyone to abide by Covid regulations and there was no messing. The day itself was very mild but the sea was very rough so instead of long swims we had more of a splash and dash,” he said.
"The RNLI volunteers came into the water with us as there were large waves, but it all went off just fabulous and we never expected to see so many people. We’d like to thank the RNLI as well as all the volunteers, they were brilliant”.
Fergus said that everyone was really impressed by the turn out of about 80 people along with stragglers throughout the day.
He said that although the normal gathering at the Tara Vale couldn’t take place, there was still a great atmosphere on the beach.
“We said from day one that we’d go with whatever restrictions were in place at the time as we knew we had to careful and although it was curtailed, it was brilliant to have everyone back on the beach. If we reach the €200,000 milestone, the charities will be over the moon.
"This swim is an institution now at this stage and a great family day out, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support we get from local people and businesses”.