Skip from county to county, from Cavan into Monaghan and back again, as you front crawl or breast stroke along the Dromore River towards Drumlona Lough, weaving back and forth across the county border with each stroke as it cuts down the centre of the river. River swims close to towns are not something I would usually recommend, but here in the heart of the lakelands the Dromore River is an absolute gem. Tall reeds line the riverbank as the swimmer quietly meanders along.
Cootehill has its fair share of the 365 loughs of Cavan, nestled between the rivers Dromore and Annalee and, with 26 lakes within a 10-mile (16km) radius, ranging from the large Lough Sillan in the south to the small but beautiful Annamakerrig in the north, it is little wonder this area has been a favourite haunt for artists, writers, poets and playwrights, including Percy French and Seamus Heaney.
Along the shores of the river, teenagers lounge in small boats at the waters’ edge, so deep in conversation they hardly notice as you breast-stroke by. Any one of these teens may follow in the footsteps of artists and be inspired to write or create by simply taking the time to allow their minds to relax and drift in the flow of the stream.
Swimming is actively encouraged around Cootehill and few will bat an eye at a swimmer. During the summer water-safety classes are run here.
Have a quick dip or venture as far along the river as you wish. The flow is gentle and not too fast. If in any doubt of your swimming strength, first swim upstream to have the benefit of the flow helping you on the return journey. This is always a good way to get a feel of how strong the flow is and may help you decide how far you are willing to swim each time.
At a glance
Enjoy a meandering river swim, passing small fishing stands and skipping from one county to the other as you make your way along this border waterway. Popular with swimmers during the summer and running water-safety lessons for children.