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Forty Foot & Other Dublin Bay Bathing Spots Closed To Public Over Social Distancing Concerns

11th April 2020
Swimming is off at the Forty Foot until further notice Swimming is off at the Forty Foot until further notice Photo: Sheila1988/Wikimedia

Popular bathing spots at the Forty Foot, Sandycove and Seapoint on Dublin Bay have been closed as of today (Saturday 11 April) following the latest extension of restrictions against Covid-19.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said the decision was made “following consultation [with] the Garda, as a result of concerns raised with social distancing compliance”.

All three bathing areas are now closed to the public until further notice, following the announcement that movement restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic have been extended to Tuesday 5 May.

It follows a nationwide call on Thursday by the Coastguard and the RNLI asking people not to use the sea for exercise or recreation.

Published in Forty Foot Swimming
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Forty Foot Swimming Spot on Dublin Bay

The 'Forty Foot' is a rocky outcrop located at the southern tip of Dublin Bay at Sandycove, County Dublin from which people have been swimming in the Irish Sea all year round for 300 years or more. It is popular because it is one of few spots between Dublin city and Greystones in County Wicklow that allows for swimming at all stages of the tide, subject to the sea state.

Forty Foot History

Traditionally, the bathing spot was exclusively a men's bathing spot and the gentlemen's swimming club was established to help conserve the area.

Owing to its relative isolation and gender-specific nature it became a popular spot for nudists, but in the 1970s, during the women's liberation movement, a group of female equal-rights activists plunged into the waters and now it is also open to everyone and it is in the control of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Many people believe that swimming in extremely cold water is healthy and good for the immune system.

Is it safe to swim at the Forty Foot?

The Forty-Foot is a great place to swim because there is always enough water to get a dip but like all sea swimming, there are always hazards you need to be aware of.   For example, a lot of people like to dive into to the pool at the Forty-foot but there are submerged rocks that can be hazardous especially at low water.  The Council have erected signs to warn people of the underwater dangers. Other hazards include slippy granite cut stone steps that can often be covered with seaweed and of course marine wildlife including jellyfish that make their presence felt in the summer months as do an inquisitive nearby Sandycove seal colony.

The Forty-foot Christmas Day swim

A Dublin institution that brings people from across Dublin and beyond for a dip in the chilly winter sea. Bathers arrive in the dark from 6 am and by noon the entire forty foot is a sea of red Santa hats!

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