Huge crowds flock to Dublin’s Forty Foot for Christmas Day swim

Huge Crowds Flock To Dublin’s Forty Foot For Christmas Day Swim
Patrick Corkery, dressed as Santa, taking part in the Christmas Day swim at the Forty Foot. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Huge crowds have taken part in the annual Christmas Day swim at the Forty Foot bathing spot in Dublin.

Roads were thronged on the way towards the well-known promontory in Sandycove as punters pulled on Santa hats to take part in the festive dip.


Despite some heavy showers of rain, spirits were high as people plunged into the cold sea.

Christmas Day swim – Dublin
Patrick Corkery dressed as Santa and his son Matthew (12) dressed as an elf. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

As well as local Dubliners, people from countries as far away as Japan, Canada and America attended to watch and even take part.


Veteran Christmas swimmer Patrick Corkery dressed in a full Santa tunic while his 12-year-old son Matthew dressed as an elf in a wetsuit.

Mr Corkery, who has been doing the Christmas Day swim for over 30 years, said his December 25 is organised around the swim.

“I enjoy the craic and Matthew loved it, this is his fifth one today,” he said.

He said they threw around a water polo ball in the sea this year, as he sported his new Santa gear.


“You photobomb people and it’s just a bit of craic – I’m the Forty Foot Santa,” he said.

“I talk about about having ‘one last swim before going back to Lapland’. Kids come up to you and say hello, and you can say hello back and ask them if they liked their presents.”

He said his new Santa tunic this year went down well, and said his training as a lifeguard came in handy when swimming in it.

“It weighs you down and it makes it trickier in water, but as a lifeguard you practice to swim in clothes,” he said.


“My hat has a built in hair and beard combo so it doesn’t come off in the water.”

In October Mr Corkery completed a 22km swim along the east coast from Howth harbour to Bray.

He said the weather conditions this year were particularly favourable.

“There’s little or no wind, no waves, we’ve been there other days and the waves are crashing up on the rocks. You always have to plan where am I getting in, where am I getting out.”


“It was a high tide which means the jump isn’t as high as normal. But you have to take care, it’s cold you don’t move in as easily.”

Asked why he does it every year, he said: “I feel at home in the water, and at this time of the year it’s normally cold but this year it’s unseasonably warm and a mild day.

“If the winter was harsh it could be a minus seven, but today it was really easy to get in and you could hang around afterwards.

“It destresses you, if you have anything else in your mind, it clears your head, you have to focus on what you’re doing.

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“Yesterday was a little windier and rougher. You have to watch every breath you take.

“There’s all this talk about being mindful, this is being mindful before we knew what being mindful was.”

Christmas Day swims have been held in various locations across the country including Tragumna in Co Cork, Ballybunion in Co Kerry, and Tramore in Co Waterford.

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