Red House and Yellow House

First Corner and Comalees.

Second Corner Stand of trees.

Red House Yellow Bungalow.

Guillamenes and Sandycove.

Say my little swimming ditty out loud, it both scans and rhymes, a major achievement for me. 🙂 (It works for me, but you see, I really can’t write good poetry).

When you swim the same open water locations regularly, they become familiar to you in the  way the road outside your house does. maybe more so for a lot of people, because every metre is immediate, all progress is measured by arm-strokes, by body-lengths, by climbing and pulling your way through the all-too yielding water, the molecules slipping and sliding away.

When you are swimming in cold water you have time. You are connected to the world, everything surrounding you, that you can see, is real, and in a way, nothing else is.

The repeat swim distances in Tramore and Sandycove are different. A Sandycove Double, two laps, takes 50 to 55 minutes for the wider range of swimmers (3200 to 3800 metres). A Guillamene Double, out to Newtown Head, into the pier or the beach and back, which is my own standard as almost no-one else is around to swim it, is much further, taking about one hour and forty minutes, so the shorter winter laps are to the pier and back (40 to 45 minutes) or Newtown Head and back (35 to 40 minutes).

In Sandycove we mark our lap progress by the First Corner, Second Corner, and Red House. Second Corner is the half way mark, and the by-now famous Red House, emblazoned on the SISC t-shirt, marks the final sprint, only about three or four minutes out from the slip.

Tramore Bay has two possible initial swim directions. (Sandycove does too, but we almost never swim clockwise, to have done so is probably a sign of a Sandycove Veteran). Unlike Sandycove, there’s no fixed lap in Tramore. When swimming inwards toward the pier,  the first landmark are the Comalees rocks, popular with fishermen, and where the most recent cave on the coast has collapsed (sometime in the last 50 years).

Sandycove Island. Red House on the left, Fourth Corner on left, First Corner on bottom right, Finbarr's Beach bottom left of the island.

Sandycove Island. Red House on the left, Fourth Corner on left, First Corner on bottom right, Finbarr’s Beach bottom left of the island.

After turning at the pier, or under the Coast Guard station or Doneraile Head, or at the beach, the next marker is the stand of pine trees about 200 metres before the pier, above the coast road. Usually the worst part of the swim because it’s often the place where a slight contrary current slows you down, and you seem to spend five minutes looking at those trees.

Looking out from Doneraile Head at low tide, past Tramore Pier, past the Comalees rocks, past the Guillamenes to Newtown head and the Metalman. The Yellow Bungalow is in the centre, just over half way up.

Then the long haul back toward the Comalees, but on the return, it’s no longer the Comalees, but instead the Yellow Bungalow, above the Comalees, the last house you pass on the return and just under 400 metres from the Cove, time for that sprint.

Guillamenes landmarks

First Corner and Comalees.

Second Corner Stand of trees.

Red House Yellow Bungalow.

Guillamenes and Sandycove.

Sandycove landmarks


6 thoughts on “Red House and Yellow House

  1. Sure you never know. I reckon poetry after a cold swim would be interesting, maybe even zen like.

    My brain must have miss fired as I have posted the same thing twice. Anyway the info on the swims themselves is useful such as times, landmarks, distance etc. At least with the Guillamene it now feels like I have something to measure progress by. Slow progress it will be.


  2. Wow!! What a wonderful post. I loved reading it. That red house is so etched in my memory and it always brings a smile to my face when I think of it. The Sandycove landmarks are something I often recall and visualise when swimming. Beautiful places to swim! X


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.