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Change generation

Sea swimming and hula-hooping - a social life outside the pub

When going ‘out’ out just doesn’t cut it.

This article is part of our Change Generation project, supported by KBC. To read more click here.

GOING TO PUBS AND clubs can be a lot of fun, but as you move into your late twenties you may begin to seek a little more from your free time.

Nothing to do with the sudden onset of the adult-sized, two-day hangover. Nope. Definitely not.

If you can’t rustle up any interest among your friends or colleagues for your new hobby however, then there are hundreds of clubs, many of them free to join, on websites like MeetUp or even Facebook where you can find like-minded people.

If swimming in cold water is your thing, Francois Auerbach is one of the organisers involved in the Dublin Sea Swimming group, who call themselves ‘seals’.

He told that there is a real community of swimmers in the city.

We have 755 members at the moment so there is a big interest, which doesn’t mean that all 755 turn up every week. Over 300 different people have joined the Seals for a swim in the past three years. We have some solid regulars too.

Seals 'Seals' from Dublin Sea Swimming Club after a morning dip Francois Auerbach Francois Auerbach

There is no cost involved in becoming a ‘seal’, though he says you may be tempted to splurge on a ‘full Irish’ afterwards.

The sea is entirely free of costs, that’s what makes it such a popular venue! The only cost involved is if you want to come for coffee/tea and that’s entirely up to you. The question is, will you be able to resist the full breakfast on a Saturday morning after a dip?

Auerbach says the only thing to consider before taking the plunge into the Irish Sea is that you do so at your own risk and you must be over 18.

We are not a swimming club and we are not lifeguards; also you must understand that we facilitate the meeting of swimmers before the swim and afterwards at a café for food and drink if they wish; that means that you swim at your own risk and you must acknowledge this when you join the group.

If you’re an avid reader and want to find others who share your enthusiasm, then joining a book club or starting your own one might be a good idea.

Joanna McDarby runs one in Limerick city which meets weekly at The Red Hen pub. Limerick Book Club was set up in 2014 and has over 500 members, but they don’t all show up every week. McDarby says the most they have had at a meeting was 35 but a core group of about five members show up every week.

She told that it’s open to anyone with an interest in reading:

It has always been informal and a way for readers to read books outside their normal comfort zones. Anyone can join the book club.

McDarby says they always try to keep costs down for members:

There is no financial commitment to being in the bookclub aside from buying the books, but we try to make sure that the books that we read are readily available either second hand or in the library.

From time to time, Limerick Book Club also arrange other book-related meetups, such as theatre or cinema outings.

Exercise is always a good hobby to have, but if the idea of jumping into the Irish Sea, donning your gym gear for a CrossFit class, dusting off your hurley and going for a few pucks, or pounding the pavement with the rest of the joggers, doesn’t set your world alight, you could give hula-hooping a shot.

Sarah Breen is the founder of Get your hoop on! and she runs weekly classes in various places around Dublin, also offering private group tuition for parties and events.

Sarah Breen Sarah Breen, founder of Get Your Hoop On! demonstrating her skills Lucy Nuzum Photography Lucy Nuzum Photography

Breen told that she was inspired to start the class after falling in love with hooping herself and finding there was nowhere in Dublin offering classes where she could meet other ‘hoopers’.

Breen taught herself how to do tricks by watching YouTube videos and after attending workshops abroad, decided to start her own class. She says it’s a light exercise class that combines hoop tricks and movement, suitable for all levels.

It’s a fun, confidence building hobby that can only be beneficial to you. Anyone is welcome and I always go over what we have already done and break it down so everyone can follow it easily.

Information on prices and availability here.

If you live in Cork, you like reading and have an interest in personal development, then Books & Coffee @ ACLAÍ might be for you. Members read and discuss books about healthy living and connect with others who have similar interests.

Founder of the Books & Coffee, Ainle Ó Cairealláin, is the MD of the personal training service, ACLAÍ, in Cork. He says those services come with a cost, but the book-club does not and it’s open to everyone.

It is totally free to join and always will be. Every man, woman, and dog is welcome at our book club, and we look forward to welcoming the new members that come along each month.

Ó Cairealláin says the idea for the book-club came from helping many people lose weight and get fit through ACLAÍ and realising the importance of a holistic approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

Educating yourself on the body, mind, and soul is an absolute key part of being healthy, as is having a social circle of people with similar interests that you have a laugh with.

QUIZ: Are You Ready To Settle Down?>

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