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The beauty of Dublin City swimming is its accessibility via public transport, with DART stations near each site.
The Forty Foot was once a men-only bathing area but is now one of the best-known bathing spots in Dublin used by men, women and children. The Martello tower above the rocky cove features in the opening scene of James Joyce’s epic novel Ulysses and houses the James Joyce Museum.
For 250 years Dubliners have been leaping into the sea here. Joyce himself was a keen participant, and in Ulysses refers to ‘the sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea’. This promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay was, until the 1970s, exclusively a gentlemen’s bathing area and, because it was isolated and men only, became popular with nudists. The nearby Sandycove Harbour was the ladies’ and children’s bathing area. Since female-rights activists plunged in, in the 1970s, the Forty Foot has welcomed all. The sign remains, though: ‘Gentlemen’s Bathing Place’.
The Forty Foot is popular with all ages and levels of swimmer and for anyone visiting Dublin it really is a must-see place.