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Cold Turkey

The Internet sucks, doesn’t it? There you are, doing your best and still struggling. Everywhere you look online everyone else is telling you how amazing they are. That’s how I feel about it most of the time anyway. Just considering swimming, everyone else says they are swimming farther, longer, faster and better. They are also swimming colder and…

The Ocean Without Waves Is Like Sleep Without Dreams

Pictorial review of the 2014 swimming year – I

As I have mentioned too many times previously, I started taking photographs to illustrate this blog. Over the course of a few years, my photography has become a creative pursuit in its own right, while still being used to capture what I sometimes think of as open water swimming life. Unable to finance any big swim, I had…

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Copper Coast Bay to Breakers – II

Due to the goggle change the stop at Gararrus took about two minutes before I set off, the Doglet once again having a barking fit as I left (his normal reaction to me swimming). It was low tide by now so all the reefs off Gararrus were exposed and I had to swim out the…

Swimming into the tiny cove with the Hood Tower behind.

Swimming Around Hook Head

Though it sits at the tip of the Hook peninsula, the historic Hook Head lighthouse is almost more remote than some of the Irish offshore lighthouses. The Tower of Hook, as it’s known locally, is the world’s second oldest operational lighthouse, and it’s said locally that the phrase “by Hook or by Crook” arose because…

A Further Shore – V- The Greensward

Swimming is a lot of things to different people at different times, even to me. But what it isn’t, is a method of travel. We may travel long distances while swimming, we may even be swimming to a destination, but we are not traveling per se.  But somehow, I’d traveled. The buildings stopped before I…

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…

Irish drowing locations

An Analysis Of Open Water Drownings

Any experienced open water swimmer will be, or at least should be familiar with evaluating personal risk on an ongoing basis. (I have written many posts about the Do’s and Don’t’s of open water). One thing we don’t talk about is drowning, because we put ourselves in the category of people unlikely to join the…

wm_Custom House Keystones (6)

Swambivalence

I live on the bank of one of Ireland’s longest rivers: The river Suir. At 115 miles length, you’ll appreciate therefore that Ireland is a small country. The river flows through three counties: Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford. The river forms the Tipperary-Waterford border for many miles and features in the most famous Kilkenny ballad. But it is most…

Hurricane Force Twelve on the Copper Coast

The Atlantic – III

This is the third and final part of the series on the Atlantic. I hope you enjoyed this private tour. Part 1 & Part 2.                      

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…

Images of 2013 – 2 – Swimming Locations

I didn’t think 2013 was a great year for swimming new locations for me, though early in the year I’d hoped that would be different. Unsurprising, I suppose, as the longer I’ve been swimming, the further I would need to travel to swim new locations. I’ve covered all the Copper Coast, much of the rest…

The race that wasn’t

Finbarr started it with the idea of a Sandycove three-lap invitational race at the end of October. With two weeks to go and no mention, Carol Cashell and I raised the idea again and discussion ensued. With less than a week to go the starting lineup was small. The forecast for the weekend showed the…

A guide to Dover for swimmers – Part 1 – Dover Harbour

Like my previous guide to swimming in Sandycove, there are people who live in Dover and swim there (far) more regularly than I. But also like that post, in the absence of any of the people from either place writing about the respective locations, my articles will hopefully suffice and provide some useful information for…

Half-arsing transition week

In 2010 during English Channel training Coach Eilís imposed certain strictures and deadlines. One of these was that on the first week of May  we would swap from primarily pool training to primarily sea training.   May. It’s a word and name laden with the promise of summer. In Ireland and the UK may is…

Ballymacaw – Swimming a new location 2

I love swimming at my favourite places such as Kilfarassey, Sandycove and the Guillamenes. but I also love swimming at new places and there aren’t that many left to me on the Waterford Coast. It’s been some time since I did Project Copper Coast, swimming from Powerstown Head as far as Stradbally. There’s a gap…

Spring is swum

Real spring arrived most tentatively and late in Ireland this year, following the coldest early spring in 50 years. The water has been cold at its usual lowest point in late February, but recovery from the bottom took longer to occur than usual and many of the coldest days swimming have occurred after the normal…

Learning the sea at Doolin Bay & Crab Island

I want to take you on a trip out west. Not south-west to the island that you could expect, Sandycove Island. This time, it’s west to County Clare we go and a different but also special bay and island, another island that like Sanycove, many have seen but few have known and fewer have appreciated,…

Inishcarra

Lake swimming

I have an irregular Brazilian open water email correspondent who is a lake swimmer, and is too far from the sea to have ever been able to swim in the ocean. He writes about the wildlife he loves on the banks, the calm warm (high 20’s!) water and the serenity of lake swimming and can’t really get…

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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…