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Displaying items by tag: Sea Swimming

The National Breast Cancer Research Institute is calling on as many people as possible to “Swim in Pink” during October to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research.

The institute says that one in seven Irish women will develop breast cancer before they reach 75, with over 3,500 cases diagnosed annually.

This is the third year of their event to raise awareness and funds – to date, over €44,000 has been raised nationwide.

Participants can “dip”,” swim” or “splash”, and will receive a free “Swim in Pink” cap on registering for €25.

All of the monies raised go to the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, it says.

Register at

Published in Sea Swim
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Bathers and open-water swimmers are urged to check swimming areas which are at risk of contamination due to recent heavy rainfall.

A list of 36 beaches with “restrictions” has been published on the website, which also lists areas which have good water quality.

The 36 beaches and swimming areas are in Clare, Kerry, Galway, Leitrim (Keeldra Lake), Donegal, Dublin, Westmeath, Meath, Wicklow.

The website run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shares the latest information on more than 200 bathing waters sampled during the bathing water season.

Grattan beach in Galway city, one of 36 tested swimming areas affected by heavy rainfall run off and contaminationGrattan beach in Galway city, one of 36 tested swimming areas affected by heavy rainfall run off and contamination

The EPA advises against swimming for 48 hours after heavy rain, as it carries an added risk of pollution from surface runoff.

Heavy rain can wash pollution into rivers, lakes, and our seas and, in some instances overwhelm sewage systems giving rise to the operation of storm overflows. The impacts of these events are generally very short-lived, lasting typically one or two days, it says.

In Britain, at least 57 people are reported to have been hit by sickness and diarrhoea after competing in sea swimming events at the recent World Triathlon championship series in Sunderland.

As The Guardian reports, about 2,000 people took part in the events in late July, which included a swim off Sunderland’s blue flag Roker beach.

An Environment Agency sampling at Roker Beach on Wednesday, 26 July, three days before the event, showed 3,900 E Coli colonies per 100ml, more than 39 times higher than typical readings the previous month. E coli is a bacterial infection that can cause stomach pain and bloody diarrhoea.

But British Triathlon, the governing body for triathlons in Great Britain, said the agency’s sampling results were not published until after the weekend’s events and were outside the body of the water where its competitions took place. It said its own testing results passed the required standards for the event.

The British Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it would be testing samples from those who were ill to establish the cause of the illness and any common pathogens.

Read The Guardian here

Published in Sea Swim
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Most of Ireland’s tested bathing water locations meet or exceed minimum standards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says.

The EPA Bathing Water Quality in Ireland report for 2022 shows that water quality at the majority of Ireland’s bathing waters “meets or exceeds the appropriate standards”.

It says 79% of bathing sites have “excellent” water quality, while 97% meet the minimum standard.

In particular, the EPA highlights two beaches that have improved from “poor” to “excellent” quality over recent years - Portrane, the Brook Beach in Dublin, and Trá na bhForbacha, Na Forbacha in Galway.

“This shows that with investment and a strong focus by the local authorities in finding and fixing the issues, water quality will improve,” it says.

The EPA says the number of beaches with poor bathing water quality increased to three, compared with two in 2021, and these three will have a swimming restriction for the 2023 season.

They are Balbriggan (Front Strand Beach), Lady’s Bay, Buncrana and Trá na mBan, An Spidéal; due to different issues, including wastewater discharges, run-off from urban and agricultural lands as well as dog and other animal fouling, it says.

Dr Eimear Cotter, director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment, welcomed the ongoing improvement.

Currently, open water swimmers are pushing for year-round testing rather than the designated season from June 1st to September 15th when local authorities carry out testing.

Cotter acknowledged that year-round swimming “continues to be popular”.

She said the EPA “looks forward to the outcome of the work, led by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, which is investigating how to protect bathers' health year-round”.

“Unfortunately, there were no new bathing waters identified in 2022, she added.

“The EPA urges local authorities to designate more official bathing sites to protect swimmers’ health, which includes designating the large number of beaches and popular swimming spots that they monitor but which haven’t been formally identified as bathing waters,” she said.

Throughout this summer, water quality information and details of any incidents affecting bathing waters will be displayed on the website.

The Bathing Water Quality in Ireland 2022 report, infographic and a map of the quality of Ireland’s Bathing water sites in 2022 are available on

Published in Sea Swim

Swim Ireland says it aims to develop “an island of swimmers” as part of its open-water training programmes at many coastal and inland locations this year.

New and seasoned open water swimmers are invited to participate, and “all levels and capabilities are provided for”, it says.

It has published details of the training events, running at over 60 locations in 20 counties across four provinces.

The categories include “Dipper to Swimmer”, “Beach to Buoy”, “Open Water Skills”, “Yoga and Dip”, and Swimmin' Kids.

The programmes are scheduled to run from May to September 2023.

Swim Ireland says each session will be 45mins in duration, running for either four or six weeks - depending on the location.

The cost of a four-week programme is €40, and a six-week programme is €60.

Full details are here

Published in Sea Swim
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Sea swimming is the focus of two events in Galway this weekend as part of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

Both events take place on Saturday, April 22nd, starting with readings and a sea swim at Blackrock Tower, Salthill, at 9 am.

Writers Emily Hassler, William Keohane and Chantal Thomas will give short readings, “inspired by the ocean”, followed by a swim. The event is free, and attendees are reminded to “bring a towel”.

Later on Saturday morning, Thomas, Hasler, Keohane and artist Vanessa Earl will present an event at An Taibhdhearc theatre, Middle Street, Galway at 12.30 pm, entitled “Bay Views: Writers on Wild Swimming”.

Earl is currently working on a multidisciplinary collaboration between the swimming community in Galway, musician Robbie Blake and poet Mary Madec, entitled SALT, which “celebrates our connection to the sea”.

Admission to the event in An Taibhdhearc is 10 euro or 8 euro for unwaged, senior citizens and students, and more details are on

Published in Sea Swim
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Helen’s Bay is a small village on the Belfast to Bangor railway line on the south shore of Belfast Lough and is named after Helen Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Clandeboye, who lived in the early nineteenth century.

It’s not recorded whether she ever took a swim off the small beach there, but nowadays open water swimming is popular and many members of Helen’s Baywatch regularly swim at that location.

On Christmas Eve there were over one hundred Baywatch keen swimmers took to the water for the Christmas Eve Dip in a well-planned and safe event, to raise funds for two charities – Bangor RNLI and Marie Curie.

Published in Sea Swim
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Preliminary research into the impact of harmful organisms in bathing water suggests that regular sea swimmers leading a healthy life may have some protection.

University of Galway expert Prof Dearbháile Morris cautions that the indications are preliminary, and require more research.

However, as she explains in an interview for Wavelengths, those swimmers with a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet maybe better protected against colonisation by organisms that can “potentially cause harm”.

The current EU bathing water quality directive requires updating, and she also believes local authorities should be testing bathing water all year round – and with more extensive tests.

Sea swimmers - currently, local authorities are only obliged to test designated bathing waters – which does not cover every swimming area – from June 1st until September 15thSea swimmers - currently, local authorities are only obliged to test designated bathing waters – which does not cover every swimming area – from June 1st until September 15th

Currently, local authorities are only obliged to test designated bathing waters – which does not cover every swimming area – from June 1st until September 15th.

Prof Morris, who is professor of Antimicrobial Resistance and One Health at the University of Galway’s Ryan Institute, is leading a number of research projects related to bathing water quality.

Listen to the interview with Prof Morris below.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Dippers to Swimmers, Beach to Buoy, open water skills and yoga and dip are among Swim Ireland’s tuition programmes for its summer season.

The 45-minute classes, which will run for four or six weeks depending on location around the Irish coast, will begin in the next two weeks, it says. It says there is still time to book places in east, west and south locations.

The locations include Wicklow (adults and children), Arklow, Courtown, Rosslare, Dunmore East and Tramore on the Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford coasts.

Fountainstown, Inniscarra, Garryvoe, and Kinsale will offer classes in Cork, and there are programmes in Belmullet, Co Mayo, Enniscrone, Co Sligo and a children’s programme in Salthill, Co Galway.

It says that Dippers to Swimmers is a new programme for 2022, that is designed to appeal to those that don't have the ability or confidence to participate in our Beach to Buoy programme.

“This programme will bring the swimmer back to basics and will strive to bring the swimmer from a casual dipper to one who can swim 50 metres comfortably, “ it says.

Beach to Buoy is for those who want to swim to that first buoy, and participants should be able to swim 50m, with a goal of completing 700m at the end of the programme.

Sessions are 45 minutes long. Wetsuits are recommended but not essential, and all participants must have a tow float, it says.

The open water skills programme is for experienced swimmers who want to improve their technique, skills and stamina in open water.

Participants should be able to swim 700m already with a view to building distance in a safe and encouraging environment. Sessions are 45 minutes long.

The yoga and dip is a “wellness and holistic programme, guided by a qualified yoga instructor for 45 minutes followed by a dip in the open water”, it says.

Swim Ireland gives the following link to click and book a place.

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Volunteers at Red Bay RNLI saved a swimmer on Monday evening (13 June) after she got into difficulty 200m from the shore at Cushendall in County Antrim.

The inshore lifeboat helmed by Emmet Connon and with three crew members onboard, was on a training exercise in Red Bay when at 7.35 pm, a crew member standing on the shore outside the lifeboat station spotted a swimmer in great difficulty. He immediately raised the alarm and the crew on exercise diverted the short distance to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with an overcast sky and calm seas.

On arrival, the crew observed that the swimmer was struggling to stay afloat. Two crew members jumped into the sea and went to her aid before rescuing the casualty from the water and bringing her onboard the lifeboat where casualty care was administered as the lifeboat made its way back to the station.

Back at the shore, the casualty was handed into the care of a waiting ambulance crew and subsequently transferred to hospital.

Speaking following the call out, Red Bay RNLI Helm Emmet Connon said: ‘This was a frightening experience for the swimmer, and we would like to wish her a speedy recovery. Time was of the essence this evening and we would like to commend our fellow crew member who spotted the casualty was in danger and immediately raised the alarm which allowed us to get to her so quickly and bring her to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

“People who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers,” are being asked to tell the Council if they think “existing designated bathing waters” should be maintained or new ones identified.”

Local authorities must identify official bathing areas in their area every year so that they can be monitored for safety, water quality and their level of use.

To help with this process, Cork County Council are asking people who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to tell them if they think they should maintain existing designated bathing waters designations or give a new official bathing area designation to areas that are commonly used for swimming, but not identified at the moment.

Local authorities are required under the Bathing Waters Directive and the Bathing Water Quality Regulations to identify bathing waters on an annual basis. Water quality at all designated bathing waters must stringent microbiological standards to protect the health of people who bathe there.

“These laws require that the local authority prepares detailed descriptions or profiles for each of the identified bathing water sites that describe not just the bathing area but also areas in the surface waters catchment area that could be a source of pollution. The profiles include an assessment the risk of pollution and what action would be taken if pollution occurs.

In some cases, the official bathing areas are also the areas where local authorities focus their resources providing lifeguards during the summer season,” says the Council.

“If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river etc. as a new bathing water site, comment on an existing site please forward your submission to [email protected]

Closing date for submissions is June 9.

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