It all started one August, after the heatwave of 2018 that made us all feel like we lived in California. Cycling down to Salthill to swim just became normal life. Living in Galway we feel more than a little connection and love for the ocean. I started to meet the same people each day, my pal Mags was my daily swimming buddy, then on the weekends different pals would come and go.
There is an entire community of swimmers in Galway. It’s very welcoming, and there is a knowing smile and a “jaysus, you’re a bit mad too!” nod that you get every day from your companions at the shore.
Now it’s the middle of winter, its cold, its bleak and the sea is unforgiving. Yet I love it.
Swimming in this cold gives me a chance to do something uncomfortable each day. it awakens my desire for adventure and it connects me fully to myself. It helps bolster my mindset and reminds me to be happy each day that I live on the west coast of Ireland.
This winter co-swimmers Julie and Pauline gifted me swimming shoes. It is this generosity of the swimming community that perhaps I love the most. Swimming provides me a connection to people I might never have met otherwise.
So, perhaps swimming in the Atlantic is more about a deeper connection to myself and Galway than the physical task of getting in. Anyway getting in is easy really – the hardest part is getting out and getting those socks on!
The winter swimmer requires a strategy that includes a hot water bottle, dressing gown, Irish Socksciety socks, and my Birkenstocks footwear. It is pure glamour post-swim.