Ireland day 0692. Monday 21 August 2023- Sea Swim! *

Ireland day 0692. Monday 21 August 2023- Sea Swim!
Today’s summary  A relaxing day hiking up and down Paddy’s Hill a few times for some cardio exercise, followed by a swim in the sea at Portmarnock.   Our first sea swim in Ireland since we arrived 2 years ago
Today’s weather Dry bright and breezy with plenty of sun.   Moderate to strong south westerly wind.   Appx 21C
Today’s overview location
(The grey mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Up and down Paddys Hill and into the sea

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

We had always told ourselves that one of the “must do” things here in Ireland was to go swimming in the sea.   But we have always managed to find an excuse not to go.   Too windy, too cold, too stormy, too many jellyfish etc.   Anyway, none of those factors appeared to be prevalent today so we decided, as the sun was shining and the sea was as warm as it is ever likely to be, that it was “now or never”.

We had both also been feeling a bit lacking in proper aerobic exercise lately so we decided that was well as an icy immersion, we needed to do a bit of vigorous hill-climbing.   Our nearest hill of any note is Paddy’s Hill, which is conveniently half way between here and Portmarnock.   So we packed our togs and set off to walk to the beach; on the way hiking up and down the top bit of the hill no fewer than five times, to get the blood stirred a bit.

Eventually we made it to the northern end of Portmarnock beach (AKA the Velvet Strand) and could find no further excuse for not stripping off and diving in the uninviting water.  Especially as the tide was high, so the sea was shallow and lying over warm sand, and also as there were lots of other people about, and several sets of lifeguards, so it felt pretty safe.

We duly plunged in and I have to say it was pretty ghastly.   The cold was instant and penetrating.   So cold that it made me, at least, gasp out in shock and struggle to stay immersed.   Anyway, eventually I found my body became somewhat numb to the discomfort, and I was able to swim up and down for a full five minutes before deciding that I’d proven a point and didn’t need to stay in any longer.

Val was equipped with a wet suit, so fared better than me and I think enjoyed it more.   So while I pottered off to get a (cold) shower at the outdoor wash area at the end of the beach, she stayed in a bit longer.   Eventually we met up back at our belongings, got changed and enjoyed our packed lunches – and hot coffee – feeling virtuous and actually almost glowing.

We finally took our leave of the beach and headed back along the coast path to the flat, where we are settling in to enjoy a leisurely evening of focaccia and red wine.   But a major Rubicon was crossed today, and at last I think I can see a little of what drives people so assiduously to jump in the sea and subject themselves to the torture of cold water.   But despite the endorphin afterglow, I somehow don’t think I will be rushing out to do it again in a hurry.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Polygonum persicaria in a flowerbed near the castle car park Val leading the charge on our up-and-down Paddy’s Hill challenge
Sad to see burnt out fly-tipped rubbish on the top of Paddy’s Hill.  Antisocial behaviour like this is as much a problem in the Malahide area as it is everywhere in Ireland at the moment On the coast path with the Portmarnock Martello tower beyond
Bright and cheerful ice-cream and coffee stand on the promenade just above the beach at Portmarnock A wind-shelter (as at the right) would have been nice down on the beach this afternoon.   Still, the breeze was coming from the west, so this east-facing beach was a bit protected from the strongest gusts
After our swim, and feeling positively bionic
Interactive map

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

Total distance: 7256 m
Max elevation: 50 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 126 m
Total descent: -127 m
Total time: 01:27:35
Download file: Up and down the hill and in the sea compressed corrected.gpx

You can read earlier and later days’ blogs below

Previous day’s blog
Next day’s blog
Ireland home page

 Save as PDF