Friday 25th February 2022 saw the Viking Dippers 365th day of dipping in the sea and was to be a celebration of the past years adventure.
Having raised money for several charities throughout the year and garnered a huge following on Fb and Instagram this was not to be a quiet event. The lane leading to Downings tramore filled up with cars quickly on the grey and drizzling afternoon. Swimmers tumbled out from each car and van and the party feeling kicked off.
Singing and the waving of Dublin flags heralded the arrival of the ever glamorous Dublin Dippers, always willing to support other swimmers both at swim and party!
Paddy “Wack’s” quirky posts and videos on Instagram have caught the imaginations of many around the country and while this had started as the personal journey of three friends, their popularity grew. They found others not only wanted to join them but to give something back. So the Vikings chose several charities to benefit and close to home placed a life ring for the popular jumping and diving rocks near to Downings tramore. They named it; “the peoples ring”.
Bare-footed we slipped and stumbled our way, aided by the Coastguard, up the steep grassy bank to rub the peoples ring – for luck!
“The nearest life ring is on the beach” yet here, just below where the Peoples Ring is perched, is the diving rock that many take the plunge from.
Caitriona Coyle (Viking Franks wife) read out her poem The Wild Atlantic Sea, written for the Vikings it told the story of sunny and stormy swims and we all joined on each chorus line, chanting out; “…the wild Atlantic Sea!”
On the Vikings 252nd dip in November they joined Suzie at her wedding then jumping in the sea at Rathmullan Beach, Suzie in full wedding dress! “It made the day, and my whole family loved it. I had to come to Downings for their final dip!”
As swimmers stripped to their cosies on the beach the coast guard formed a safety line to ensure no-one came to harm in the strengthening swell.
A great turn out for the 365th dip and although the challenge is complete the dips will continue, perhaps not every day though!
Well-deserved celebratory drinks and pizza at Goose and Gander and the party continued into the night with live music.