Christmas in Ireland comes with some lovely, warming traditions but there’s a whole other icy side to the holiday season on the Emerald Isle! Christmas Day sea-swims have become incredibly popular on our island over the last little while with sea swimming in general really taking off. We honestly can’t think of a better way to end the year we've lined up a few spots around the country where you can dip your toes or your entire self into some icy Irish waters!
Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Main Beach in Bundoran is the place to be at 12.15pm on Christmas Day as locals and holiday season tourists alike head for the waves in a traditional polar bear dip! This one is a bit of a fundraiser too, with all proceeds going to Ozanam House. Whether you're out to brave the waters or just passing-by, you can learn more here.
The Forty Foot, Sandycove, Co. Dublin
One of the most picturesque places for throwing yourself into the freezing Irish Sea, The Forty Foot at Sandycove is hugely popular year-round, but especially on Christmas Day. Show up at any time to join the queue on the rocky platforms or watch on as eager swimmers jump into the frigid sea!
Galway Bay, Co. Galway
Hundreds of people head to Blackrock, Salthill to help raise funds for the charity, COPE Galway, by immersing themselves in the ocean over the holiday season! This year’s swim is a hybrid event taking place during Christmas week from 20th - 26th December and includes the “live event” on Christmas morning. The COPE Galway charity supports homeless and vulnerable persons in Galway and this gives you all the more reason for a chilly Christmas dunking!
Lough Lannagh, Co. Mayo
Who says it needs to be a sea-swim to get the endorphins going? Castlebar’s Lough Lannagh is one of Ireland’s iciest lakes but each year, locals still line up to launch themselves off a wooden dock and into the depths! Join the queues and make sure you’ve got someone waiting for you with a warm towel, a hot cuppa + monster hug!
The Happy Pear, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
The lovely folks behind The Happy Pear haven’t officially announced a Christmas Day swim, but Steve & Dave are down at Ladies Cove just about every morning for their Swimrise dip! They’ve garnered something of a cult following and really, we’re not surprised - what a glorious way to start any day - sea, community and sunrise!
Derrynane, Co. Kerry
A summer staycation hotspot, head down to the wild waters of Derrynane this winter to brave the chilly elements and start your Christmas Day refreshed. With plenty of beach to spread out, choose your spot and charge into the cool waters to experience the full-on tingle that comes with sea dips this time of year!
Balscadden Beach, Howth, Co. Dublin
Head along to Bascadden Beach for the perfect wake-up call! This is one of the more popular spots in Dublin for an icy dip this time of year and you'll be joined by a host of Dubliners looking to end the year on a (chilly) high!
There’s plenty more to choose from nationwide such as Carlingford, Bray, Rosses Point, Guillamene, Myrtleville + Rosslare but wherever you decide to take a dip this Christmas make sure you bring along a warm, dry change of clothes and plenty of hot tea, coffee or chocolate! The dip itself is awesome for the body + soul, but you need to keep those temperatures up after the swim. Safety first kids!