Spring has sprung upon us in a timely fashion – much to our great relief – and what better way to really throw yourself into the milder weather by, well, throwing yourself into our Irish sea? After all, we live on an island that is surrounded by the stuff and should make the most of it, especially on these sunnier and fresher days that have begun to show themselves. A refreshing dip in the sea followed by a hot chocolate or something stronger if you feel like it – what’s not to love?
Hop on the Dart and wander down to Sandycove, where you’ll find the Forty Foot, the most exquisite little swimming spot in all of Dublin and one that’s been immortalised in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s also a locals’ favourite and frequented all year round by those hardiest of souls, the open-water swimmers. Up until the 1970s, the Forty Foot was only accessible to men, but the women’s liberation movement pushed past the patriarchy and made plunging into the waters accessible to – gasp – women as well as men. Since then it’s been open to everyone, including children, who you’ll see in the summer months, sprinting down to the shoreline in the early afternoons to grab the best spot on the rocks. A group of hardcore swimmers face the elements and swim there every day, come rain, shine, sleet or snow. Talk about dedication to the sport!
Perhaps the most publicised events around the Forty Foot, are the annual Christmas day and New Year’s day swims, when Dubliners trek down in freezing temperatures to plunge into the ice-cold water. But sure, why not take that opportunity all year round? There’s nothing like a bracing dip to clear the cobwebs and assuage the hangover – never mind a ritualistic cleansing of sins – and it’s marginally more pleasant when you don’t emerge with blue lips and frozen limbs.
The easiest way to approach a dip in the sea is literally – jump right in. After five or ten seconds, once your body has adjusted to the temperature, you’re suddenly overcome by a sense of calm. Your head clears, and exhilaration takes over. Aside from that wonderful feeling of well-being, the health benefits of swimming in seawater are plenty. Briny seawater has a soothing effect on certain skin conditions and is packed with minerals such as sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. If you’ve got the sniffles, make the most of that organic nose-bath – the saline solution reduces inflammation and sneezing. Don’t forget the meditative benefits of a saltwater immersion: lie on your back, let the waves rock you, look up at that ever-changing Irish skies, and take in that clean sea air.
When you emerge, make sure to wrap up in one of our iconic Linen Robes, Handwoven Herringbone Scarves or Irish Linen Towels– all perfect for popping into your beach bag. And we’ve got you covered in the headwear department, whatever the weather – be it our handmade Irish Panama hats or cashmere beanies!