The Myrtleville Swimmers were recently joined by one of Kerry’s finest exports, RTE’s Daithí O’Sé, as the TV presenter donned his wetsuit to join the group for an early morning dip.
Writes Ciaran Dineen
The Kerryman was doing so as part of the lead up to the annual Darkness Into Light campaign, which gets people to walk, run or hike as part of fundraising initiatives for Pieta House. However, on this occasion Daithí wanted to try and mix things up, deciding the best way to start the morning was to take a great leap into the unknown and face the chilly sea temperatures which even the hardiest of characters may wince at.
Welcoming the RTÉ Today man to the shores of South Cork was local business owner in Crosshaven and regular early riser, Bernard Lynch, who told Daithí, “I started swimming down here 20 years ago when I moved to Crosshaven and now we have over 300 people swimming here week in week out which is absolutely fantastic. It’s really exploded over the years.”
Daithí seemed surprised to see how many swimmers were willing to face the cold temperatures on a nippy but bright morning towards the end of April, and asked whether this was a regular sight in Myrtleville. “In the winter time, certainly there would be less swimmers there but there’d still be 20 or 30 of us who’d be fairly regular”, commented Bernard.
While Bernard offered some advice to the Kerryman, suggesting he should ease himself into the water, Daithí decided instead to “rip the band-aid off” and took little time before plunging himself into the Irish Sea.
While the advice was not heeded, for others slowly submerging themselves into the water can be the best and safest way to go if they are not used to swimming in cold conditions, as many can find it hard to catch their breath and regulate their breathing.
Speaking with Daithí about some of the ways that people can stay safe in the water, Jon Mathers from the RNLI said it’s all about knowing your surroundings. “The first thing I’d say is don’t swim on your own, always swim in a group or have someone watching you from the beach.” He went on to add, “it’s all about talking to the local people who swim here, they’ll tell you whether it’s safe to swim or not. Just by looking at the water you might not be able to tell whether it’s safe or unsafe. When the sea bites, it bites hard, so you’ve got to be careful.”
After lots of yelps as he got to grips with the water, Daithí described his early morning paddle as “absolutely unreal”, suggesting that as little as 30 seconds in the sea, with a bright start to the day, would make all your troubles go away.