Forty-Foot Below Freezing

10 Dec

            Well I can now say that I bravely dove into the forty something degree waters of the Atlantic. Not that was really on my radar at any point in time, but it still is great that I get to look back on my experiences in Ireland and check that off. As we made our way to Sandycove from Pearse Station, I honestly had no idea that we were heading towards something that would have so much history behind it.

            Once we arrived our fearless leader Feargus began to tell us some interesting facts about the Forty-Foot, like the fact that the famous swimming spot used to be for men only up until about 15 plus years ago. But the best part was the stories involving the James Joyce Martello Tower that overlooks the Forty-Foot itself. The famous Irish surgeon, politician, and writer Oliver St. Jon Gogarty invited the equally famous James Joyce to stay in the tower with him in 1904. The stay didn’t last long after there was a falling out between the two friends, which there are many different versions of what exactly happened between them that September night. But whatever may had happened, the end result was James Joyce’s publish of the novel Ulysses in 1922. The whole first chapter was based on Joyce and his companions short visit together, using aliases of course. 

            With this history in mind, I took a leap of faith and jumped into what we were told wasn’t freezing waters (but I still don’t believe it, it had to have been below freezing).  While in the water I couldn’t think about anything but how cold it was and how funny it was that an older Irish gent asked me ”Feels pretty good today eh?” But once I had some dry clothes, a warm drink, and the heat blasting in my room,  I really got to thinking about the fact that I had a dip in the water that more than likely James Joyce, Oliver St. Jon Gogarty, and several other famous Irish personalities had the same swimming experience. The Forty-Foot is a “hot” swimming spot for Dubliners, especially with the grand Christmas Day plunge, but I wonder if the astounding history there is given a second thought.   

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