CABHAIR CHRISTMAS SWIM , 37TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR (1976-2013).
The six CABHAIR swimmers (including one whose hand is so glad to be out of the freezing water that it’s laughing!) that took part in the Swim at the 3rd lock in Inchicore, Dublin, on Christmas Day 2013.
First , the weather forecast : the swim was held on what was the only dry and ‘gale-less’ day that we have had in Dublin in about two weeks , and not only that , but a wee bit of weak sunshine managed to land on and around the swim site for the four hours that the whole event lasted for. The only dark cloud was the presence of four Special Branch detectives (three male, one female) who were a bit more intrusive than they usually are and, indeed, threatened to arrest at least one person whom they felt was not co-operating with them to their satisfaction : a few words were exchanged and that threat came to nothing.
The annual ‘Speech from The Lock’ was , as usual, delivered by John Horan, Clondalkin, Dublin, during which Martin Corey , Marian Price and Stephen Murney were mentioned , and attention was also drawn to the fact that Cabhair had held similar fund-raising swims in that same week in Armagh , Coney Island in New York , Australia and , on New Years Day, a sponsored swim will be held on Banna Strand in Kerry – plus , when we were on site, we got word from the Wexford Swim that fourteen swimmers had earned their keep there, that same morning!
A crowd of about fifty people gathered at the site (with approximately two dozen others observing proceedings from the bridge) and all watched intently as six brave souls stripped off and eased, jumped and/or dived (!) into the cold waters in which , on the far side of the lock gates – mere meters from where the actual swim was taking place – lumps of ice could be spotted floating in the water and frost was visible on the grass! One of the swim organisers let it be known that , on Christmas Eve , at around lunch time, he had received a phone call from an RTE television reporter who wanted to verify the swim details re timimg, location etc and, when same was confirmed to the reporter, the swim organiser was told that an RTE TV crew would be on site between 11.30am and 12 Noon to record a few minutes of the activity for their news broadcast. And, as has happened before, no such RTE crew arrived. Self-censorship is still in operation, without a doubt.
Anyway : aside from the political police ‘show’ and the RTE ‘no-show’ , the Swim went according to plan , a decent amount of money was raised (with more to come!) , the fifty-or-so of us on the banks of the Grand Canal in Inchicore in Dublin had great craic ( with loud rebel music from, amongst others, the Pogues!) and the POW’s and their families were remembered. We have , so far , about thirty pictures from the Swim which we publish with this report and a more detailed account of these Cabhair events will be carried in the January 2014 issue of ‘Saoirse’ , which goes to print on Wednesday the 8th of that month. Enjoy the pics, and if we get more of same , we will post them here.
Frost on the grass , ice in the water : 3rd lock , Inchicore, Christmas Day.
An RSF banner , on display at the swim site.
The right of the people of Ireland….
Cabhair and RSF banners on display.
Cabhair Swim ‘goodies’ , available on a ‘first up, best dressed’ basis! And….
….a close-up of the offerings , with even more available….
Santa dropped in at about 10.30am for….
….a mince pie and a quick drink, after circumventing the globe , and….
…., satisfied that all was well, he settled-in to observe the swimmers, after which…..
…he hung around at the ‘Goodie Table’ !
A few of the many faces that stuffed themselves (!) at the ‘Goodie Table’ , once they noticed that Santa had no parcels with him!
The Swim fire, minutes after it was lit, and rough-and-ready ‘mats’ for the swimmers placed around it!
Meanwhile , on a serious note (!) , this is one of the two swimmers about whom debates are continuing as to whether they actually earned their sponsorship money or not , as ‘floating above the water’ , according to some, shouldn’t count. And….
….this is the other contentious swim attempt : if floating is allowed, then walking on the water should be okay, as well !
And then there’s this fella , who refused to get in under ‘Health and Safety’ legislation, claiming that there was “..something in the water waiting on me…” !
And whatever it was that was ‘in there’ , put this swimmer on the ropes…
This swimmer was heard to shout – “OH MY GOD! What was I thinking…..” !
And this chancer said he wasn’t getting in as “yer man” was doing a pee in the water….
….and this fella decided to jump in backwards so he wouldn’t see any of the above-mentioned carry-on!
This fella was in shock when he was pulled out out of the water, and the swimmer behind him was seen rubbing his chin and going “Aahhh , dunno , maybe not….” !
And these two played the Gentleman – “You first” . “No, I insist….”
…and this fella spent the whole time “limbering up..” , as he called it….
….whilst this swimmer , Michael, from England, refused to jump in until he got his OWN towel!
The ‘splashy thing’ in the water chased a swimmer , but we shouted at him to get back in as it was safe enough ’cause we had it on camera….
Not sure if this is the ‘splashy thing’ or two swimmers….?
The six swimmers, posing for the cameras….
….after they dried themselves off….
….watched by the crowd in the dry ‘seats’ !
And they are white TOWELS , not flags – the ‘splashy thing’ lost , CABHAIR won!
And, finally –
Daniel, one of the CABHAIR Swimmers in Australia, doin’ his stuff!
– thanks to CABHAIR for all the work and time they put in to organise all these fund-raisers and many thanks to the hundreds of people that sponsored and/or turned up on the day to show their support. Much appreciated!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.