That perfect moment: Unbroken water, and a swimmer in flight

The first Irish blockbuster – LoneSwimmer – The Movie

In the movie of his life, “plump, stately” Donal Buckley will dramatically played by George Clooney, with swimming stunts by seven times world 50 metre champion Mark Foster, a platoon of Irish Army Rangers, and a seal. A real seal. A Common Seal. Born in 19whatever, Ireland’s year of Independence and nine months after his mother went…

Dark Night of The Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

Swimming for me, as for many of you my readers, provides a valuable part of my life, not least of which is the meditative and mostly non-stressful pursuit, where we swim not just in water waves, but also in alpha-waves. (Though occasionally the more dangerous the water is, the better for my mood and preference). But as…

A Further Shore – IV – The Town

Subconsciously, I’d pulled the goggles from my face, feeling the familiar discomfort around my eyes as the suction released. They dangled weightless from my fingers. Above the seafront buildings rose a hill and a town. A road led through the near buildings to disappear into tiered houses that fronted a low hill. I was stunned.…

A Further Shore – III – The Harbour

Instead of a beach, shadows loomed over me and the water went from gold to black in sudden deep shade. A wall of dressed stone met my fingertips and loomed two metres over me. It was a pier, stone mooring bollards along the edge. There was another pier twenty or thirty metres away to my…

Golden light through a Copper Coast arch

A Further Shore – II – The Golden Light

I’d swum a double handful of strokes on one breath, and seen so little and yet so much. Only water, rocks, kelp, light? You don’t understand. Time to breath and navigate, I lifted my head. Golden sunlight dazzled me, washed over me. I know it had been months, the previous autumn since I’d last swum…

Burke's Island & reefs, Kilfarassey

A Further Shore – I – The Arch

Winter reduces my range. I swim at the Guillamenes, along the cliffs and shore of Tramore Bay.  Maybe, just maybe, I might get down to Sandycove for a lap. Days pass when I see no-one, arriving, swimming and leaving without a soul. Spring comes with almost imperceptibly warming water and air and increase in the number…

The Atlantic – II

This is the second part of a three-part series of a pictorial exploration of the Atlantic Ocean as I know it, primarily on Ireland’s south and south-east coasts. As with the last time, these images are best viewed individually at a larger size. All will be added at full resolution to my Flickr account. Atlantic…

The Atlantic – I

The Atlantic Ocean is in me. For almost 20 years since it got its hook into me, I’ve been haunting, (in a moderate non-weird way), the Irish Atlantic coast, primarily the west, south and my own Copper Coast in the south-east. For many years, in the depths of grim nights, I have stared into the…

Tom Blower and the first successful North Channel swim

I came across this gem from 1963 in Sports Illustrated archives a couple of years ago. I’m just going to reprint it. Hey, an easy day, no writing! * From Donaghadee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland is a fraction under 21 miles. Between the two land masses the sea rages in swollen tides and hungry eddies. Out…

Lots of thrift.resized

The Copper Coast: a Thrifty shore

Sea Thrift that is, Armaria maritima, also known as sea pinks. Ireland’s Copper Coast has a lot of it, growing all along the coast on the cliff edges, in rock crevices and stony ground where nothing else grows. It’s a perennial which has a high drought and salt tolerance, in fact it seems to do best…

Hook & reefs.resized

A visit to Hook Head

Hook Head is one of our favourite places in Ireland. I’ve been lucky enough to finally get a new halfway decent camera so I wanted to take a visit to the Hook for some long-hoped-for photos for the site. A long flat low bare almost treeless peninsula in the south-east, at the other side of…

Monday Morning Similarities – Stephen & Lisa

I find a lot of similarity between Stephen Redmond’s fantastic Molokai Channel and Lisa Cummins’s two-way English Channel. Waiting for news and updates all through a Sunday afternoon and night. The trackers working intermittently or not at all, and hoping for more updates from the boat through third parties. The agonising last 10 hours, wondering where they…