Christmas Day swimmers take the plunge


Mild temperatures helped lure hundreds to take part in the traditional Christmas Day swim at Dublin's Forty Foot yesterday.

Swimmers, some wearing Santa hats, defied the warnings against diving at Sandycove as they leapt into the water from early morning, watched by dozens of well-clad onlookers.

Traditional swims took place around the country despite the warnings from the Irish Coast Guard. A spokesman urged Christmas swimmers to remember it was winter, with cold temperatures, rough water, strong currents and swollen rivers and lakes.

"Is it safe for you to take the plunge? Are you able to swim? Is your swim properly organised and supervised? Are you prepared for winter conditions? Are you going to refrain from drinking alcohol or eating meals before you take a dip? If the answer is NO to any of these questions, do not take the plunge this Christmas. Enjoy the holiday and stay safe," he said.

The Coast Guard urged canoeists, divers and sailors to wear personal flotation devices and not to go out on the water having consumed alcohol.

"Never, ever, attempt to go out on ice over any form of water. This is basic simple advice, which could save your life and allow you and your family and friends to have happy memories of this Christmas," he said.