Swimmers urged not to take a dip at the Forty Foot this Christmas

Appeal issued to Dublin bathers over fears that large crowds could contribute to coronavirus spread

Swimmers going for a  Christmas dip at the Forty Footm Sandycove, Co Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Swimmers going for a Christmas dip at the Forty Footm Sandycove, Co Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

The Christmas Day Forty Foot dip is the latest long-standing tradition to be put on ice for 2020, as the local council, An Garda Síochána, and the HSE have urged people to stay away.

Braving the icy waters of Dublin Bay on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day has been an annual ritual for many Dubliners. Even Tánaiste Leo Varadkar took a dive at the Forty Foot last Christmas Day.

This year Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the gardaí, and the HSE are jointly appealing to people to stay away from Dublin’s bathing areas for fear that the usual large crowds could contribute to the spread of coronavirus. Specifically the authorities hope people will steer clear of the Forty Foot, Sandycove, and Seapoint.

Philomena Poole, CEO of the council, said the three organisations are aware it is a “significant request” to ask people to forgo the popular swim.

“We would not be asking this if we did not consider that a large gathering would create a potential risk to public health and the spread of Covid-19,” she added.

“Personal responsibility has been a significant part of our armoury in the fight against Covid-19 and we urge you to exercise it now and to avoid creating a crowded environment over Christmas at these traditional locations.”