We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

big freeze 2010

Your 'Seems Like Lovely Weather for a Dip' Pics of the Day

Stay classy, Blessington Lakes…


REMEMBER THE BIG Freeze of 2010? Of course you do — it was three years ago… There was transport chaos as people struggled to make it home for Christmas: flights were cancelled, the road network was clogged, and on Christmas Day the country’s coldest December temperature ever was recorded in Mayo — minus 17.5 degrees.

Up in Blessington, Co Wicklow, however, one group of hardy locals were determined not to let something as mundane as life-endangering weather conditions interfere with their tradition of taking a dip in the lake before settling down to dinner:

Christmas Day at Dublin’s most famous swimming spot, the Forty Foot, now sees people queuing to get in and queuing to get out of the water. Yellow bellies, all. Bathing at the Poulaphouca Resevoir in Blessington is less subscribed. The lake is 600 metres above sea level and filled with icy bogwater run down off the Wicklow mountains. The ‘beach’ features mud, rocks and a long shallow stretch to wade through before (and after) you get to swimming depth.

The chilly custom started in the early 70s when one of the locals turned up at Christmas drinks with a towel over his shoulders and wet hair claiming to have just had a dip.  He was blagging, but the idea took hold and the swim now gets 20-30 shivering, gibbering attendees a year. Wetsuits are frowned upon. Hot whiskey flasks, hot water bottles welcome.

Breaking a hole in the ice was a first, but the long walk over dry powdery snow to carve out a swimming hole was way more pleasant than stumbling numbly over sharp, slippy stones.

— The Anonymous Blessington Bather

Your 'Seems Like Lovely Weather for a Dip' Pics of the Day
1 / 6
  • Blessington

  • Blessington

  • Blessington

  • Blessington

  • Blessington

  • Blessington

    Source: journal-daragh

(All photos: Paddy Creedon)

We’d like to thank the ‘anonymous’ female bather in the top picture for her photos & words. ( knows her name, but she’s asked that we not disclose it lest it might encourage “the wrong kind of Twitter follower”).

Read: Irish adventurers return from Arctic with stunning photos, mild sea-sickness

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.