Sandycove Dublin – The most famous litererary swimming location in the world

Alcatraz? Hellespont? Dover?

Possibly but I’d like add: Ireland.

We took a trip a Dublin two weeks and went down to take some pictures just for today, (Bloomsday), June 16th, of The Forty Foot which appears in the opening of the twentieth centuries most famous novel, James Joyce’s Ulysses. “The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea”, as I’ve quoted before.

People who never even swim visit the Forty Foot because of this reason, in fact we met a Canadian couple who were visiting just for this reason. Other swimming spots may be famous in their own countries or amongst swimmers (Dover or Alcatraz aren’t really swimming locations as such) but only the Forty Foot and Hellespont are literary locations, one appearing in a novel, the other famously inspiring a poet.


Sandycove beach is just outside Dun Laoghaire town centre, across the bay from the Ferry Pier, at one side of the Martello Tower and is the main family destination.

Dun Laoghaire Pier and Town

The Martello Tower


An hundred metres away on the sea-side of the Martello Tower is the Forty Foot facing Northeast toward Howth Head. The Tower itself is now a Joyce museum.





Gentle reminder


The Forty Foot is deep so, like the Guillamene, can be swum at all tides. And like the Guillamene, it used to be a traditional Men Only nude swimming location.




Main steps



The Forty Foot is actually quite a small cove with ladders and jumping diving locations, similar to the Guillamene.



Jumping spot



It was about Force 3 that day and quite choppy. I swam around to the Sandycove, saw the three beach lifeguards there all start looking out at me and turned back to the Forty Foot. I headed out to a nearby buoy for a better look around, south to Killiney and the famous Sorrento Terrace.



South side of the wall

There’s actually room for a lot of people on the rocks and a changing area for the actual swimmers.





Code of Conduct



There’s a Code, some of which seems to be ignored. I certainly ignored the jumping part myself.


It was a sunny Saturday so the area was quite busy.

Busy Forty Foot

Plenty of boats out to sea. A bloody jet ski a couple of hundred metres out. Ferries, yachts. Lots of sea activity. All in all, it’s not a bad place for dippers. It’s not a patch on the real Sandycove though.


One thought on “Sandycove Dublin – The most famous litererary swimming location in the world

  1. Pingback: Open Water Swimming Is Trendy. Apparently. | LoneSwimmer

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