Ireland day 0191. Thursday 07 April 2022- Swimming!

Ireland day 0191. Thursday 07 April 2022- Swimming!
Today’s summary Walked down to Portmarnock Sports and Leisure Centre for a lunchtime swim.   Walked back via the Velvet Strand
Today’s weather Mostly dry bright and sunny, but with a light shower in the afternoon.   Strong westerly wind.   About 10C
Today’s overview location
(The mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The dotted line shows where I walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Portmarnock leisure centre walk
Or download tcx file of swim here:
First swim PSLC

Today I fulfilled a long-held ambition and went swimming.   Not in the sea, I should hasten to add, but in a pool.   I think the sea may have a few months yet to wait.

Val was back at work so I used my free day to head down to Portmarnock to see if I could negotiate the booking system and get a swim at the local sports and leisure club.

The last time I’d been down to the pool, it was mid-pandemic and I had been rather put off by the cost (€7.50) of the swim session, the limited number of slots available – meaning you might trek all the way down there and not get in – and the fact that even if you did get in, you only got 30 mins for your money.   But that was several months ago so thought I’d try again today.  Fortunately when I got down there, my luck was in.   It turns out that the slots that are actually available for public swimming are relatively few and far between.   Largely because the pool is extensively used by schools and clubs, which I suppose is a good thing.  But there was a slot from 12 till 1pm today, which matched the timing of my visit perfectly.  (I subsequently learned that there is a website where you can download the timetable of public swimming sessions which I will do before I go next time, as it changes every week).

So was it worth the wait, the cost and the effort of getting there?   I’d say definitely yes.  For a start, the sessions have been extended to 40 mins, so they are better value.   But more importantly, the pool and changing rooms were clean and warm, and although half of the pool was being used for swimming lessons today, the “public” half which I was in was virtually empty.   In fact the only slight complaint I might have was that the water was actually a bit too warm – I came out sweating at the end.   That’s most unusual for me as I am normally cold unless the ambient temperature is at least 30°C (rare in Ireland).   It felt really good to be back in the water for the first time since early last year.   And I was pleased to discover that I hadn’t actually forgotten how to swim.

Above the pool there’s a big bar and café, so I thought “hang the expense – this is a rare occasion” and so after I’d finished my 1000m swim and got changed, I bought a cup of coffee and a croissant (€6) to celebrate.   I will definitely come again but at €13.50 a time (because I absolutely won’t be able to resist the coffee and cake afterwards), I probably won’t make a habit of it.

Filled with a virtuous glow, I set off from the club into the bright sunshine, determined to do the whole Portmarnock loop walk which I had wimped out of yesterday.   This time, although the weather was similar to yesterday’s, the sunshine to rain ratio was far more favourable so I managed to get round with only a partial soaking.   I did find time to pop into the local Lidl to buy some milk en route, successfully avoiding the temptation of the middle-aisle plantpots and hammer drills as I did so.

So now we are both back in the flat and I am cooking the dinner again.   This time, in keeping withtoday’s aquatic theme, it’s fish (hake, which funnily enough we learned about in our restaurant practice at the  Spanish class this week – it’s merluza).   It’s a bit of a departure from the norm for me as I’m not usually a fan of fish, so here’s hoping it all turns out ok.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Terrace over the leisure centre.   Ideal spot for refreshment after swimming (the leisure centre itself is in the banner image at the top of this blog) Ideal after-swimming refreshment.   Felt well deserved, even if it was an expensive (€6) luxury
Goal posts on the Portmarnock Gaelic Football pitch Heading out towards the Velvet Strand – the reverse direction to the way I usually go.   Stunning blue skies ahead…
…but ominous black clouds behind.   They eventually caught up with me but fortunately it looked worse than it actually was so I didn’t get too wet Coast road back to Malahide.   The sea is looking more inviting now, but for the time being I think I will stick to the swimming pool
Deluxe lunch break on the Velvet Strand.   Lovely cup of coffee, Mr Dawson
(The two islands on the horizon are Lambay, to the left, and Ireland’s Eye, to the right)
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 13929 m
Max elevation: 50 m
Min elevation: -1 m
Total climbing: 188 m
Total descent: -187 m
Total time: 05:23:20
Download file: Portmarnock sports centre walk corrected.gpx

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