C&C Travel Hub - Christmas Day Swim: A Tradition in Ireland's Icy Waters

Christmas Day Swim: A Tradition in Ireland’s Icy Waters

Even if holidays happen all year round in different parts of the world, it seems that there is a huge bulk of excitement reserved just for the year-end holidays. One of the most prominent holidays at this time is Christmas.

As the different corners of the world have their flair for celebrating the Christian holiday, Ireland is not one to shy away from keeping its own Christmas tradition alive. For many years, a Christmas Day swim proves to be one exciting tradition.

Christmas Day Swim

For the Irish, taking a dip through the icy waters has always been a tradition kept every year on December 25. More than having fun, this event is held annually for the benefit of local charities. Raising funds for their chosen charities and causes, people all over Ireland head on over to the coasts to participate in the Christmas day swim.


Most charities set up the event in the Forty Foot pier in Sandycove, Dublin’s most popular bathing location. Although the tourist spot has been frequented for over 250 years, the annual Christmas Day Swim is undoubtedly most anticipated.

People line up to participate in the Christmas Day Swim. (The Christmas Day Swimmers (53Degrees 17Minutes) by Tony Ark / YouTube)

The Christmas Day Swim Look

Christmas Day Swim events happen all day depending on the schedules and activities that local charities have set. Some events would start as early as 9a.m., while some would take advantage of the high noon’s sunshine.

People of all walks of life make up the participants, including locals, professional swimmers, tourists, families, and some coming from schools and other groups.

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Of course, although the event was meant for charitable purposes, participants are always up for a little celebration, which shows on their festive Santa hats worn over their swimmer’s caps, holiday-themed swimsuits, and some would even brave the icy waters with long white beard props.

Icy Waters and Nerves of Steel

The excitement over splashing into icy waters during the coldest season of the year could be held down by certain dangers. Experts have warned against the risks of being abruptly submerged into extremely cold water. This being the case, Christmas day swim event organizers employ paramedics and first-aiders to step up in times of need.

However, as reiterated over many medical statements, prevention is better than cure, and having nerves of steel might not be enough when jumping into icy waters.

Experts encourage participants to plan their cold swim, with steps including acclimatizing, having the right gear, and knowing their limits.

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