Freezing dip in the Irish sea every day for month

The Freezebury swimmers wrapped up after their swim last Thursday

Mary FogartyBray People

A group from Bray participated in 'Freezebury' for Pieta House last month, spending an extra minute in the sea on each day of the month. The initiative was the brainchild of former rugby player Damien Browne, as a way of getting people out of their comfort zones for the month of February.

Damien paid a visit to the group on Bray seafront last Thursday, the 27th day of their challenge.

Participants all over the country committed to getting into an open water source ever day, with some opting for the more extreme version of adding a minute each day. They did one minute on February 1, two minutes on February 2, and so on, until they reached day 29 and 29 minutes last Saturday.

According to participant Paul Neiland, a small Bray group completed the challenge last year. 'With it being partnered with Pieta House from the start this year it really has grown legs,' he said, adding that people could also choose to do it for other causes such as Crumlin Hospital and the Alzheimer's Society.

'The primary goal of this challenge is to help eliminate the negative stigma around mental health and depression,' said Paul. 'We just want people to know its okay to talk and mental health and its important especially if your struggling.

'If you look at the Freezebury logo it's very fitting as there's a lot of stuff under the surface that we don't talk about enough and we really should be. People that can help might never know unless we're not afraid to open up about these things.'

The logo depicts a glacier under the surface, and also incorporates a semi-colon which is a symbol for suicide prevention. The semi-colon represents a 'pause', a place where the sentence could have ended but was able to carry on.

'No matter what you're going through there's always a way out and time is a great healer,' said Paul. 'Just try to ride them waves and hopefully become a stronger person for it.'