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An Irish Sea Story of Our Times

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Swimming alone at night, through the chaotic Irish winter surf began as a simple escape from the fallout of the pandemic, but became so much more.  I ventured into darker, wilder and more isolated waters, finding a new world and perspective on life in the process. As I swam through the waves and currents out there in the darkness, I began to realise the similarities between my actions and our combined efforts in relation to the pandemic.  We are all facing head-on into the unknown, swimming through whatever the darkness throws at us.  Every one of us is in the same dark waters, but we swim different strokes. 


The Irish winter of 2020 was harsh and bleak.  The cold, dark nights made worse as the claws of the pandemic began to leave a mark on all of us.  The water became, and remains, a new-found saviour for many people.  A huge swell of dippers and swimmers have also found a new world in our chilly waters.


This story is set in the sleepy village of Castlerock, where the 

tumultuous North Atlantic thrashes the black basalt cliffs on the north coast of the island of Ireland.


Photo of Al Mennie by Charles McQuillan (c)
Photo of Al Mennie at Downhill Beach by Charles McQuillan (c)
Photo of Al Mennie lighting a fire in the darkness on Downhill Beach by Charles McQuillan
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