Embrace the cold so others don’t have to at the COPE Christmas Day Swim

Galway Daily news Return to Galway Bay for COPE Christmas Swim

Dare to be cold this holiday season so that others don’t have to this season with the 30th annual COPE Galway Christmas Day swim.

COPE is calling on all swimmers, divers, and first timers to come out and brave the waters of Galway Bay this Christmas Day to raise funds for its vital services.

Money raised by this event will help support COPE’s services for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic abuse, and older people in Galway.

“Over the past 30 years the Christmas Day Swim has become one of Galway’s greatest traditions,” says Community Fundraiser for COPE Galway, Lynia O’Brien.

Last year alone nearly a thousand people tore themselves away from fire and feasting on December 25 to take a dip in the water down at Blackrock in Salthill.

“Many more came along to support and cheer-on their family members, friends and colleagues,” Lynia O’Brien said.

“Salthill is a special place to be on Christmas morning and a great reminder for ourselves, and our children too, that while the day is about being with family, it’s also about remembering and supporting our community.”

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Christmas Day Swim COPE is also encouraging participants to log onto www.copegalway.ie/swim to share their “Swim Story” about why they take part in this event and why it has been special to them over the years.

“Every Christmas Day Swim I meet the same families, maybe with a new baby or a cousin or friend who is home,” COPE Galway volunteer, Saibh Egan writes in her contribution.

“Even those who come down just for the festivities and don’t actually get in the water – it is still tradition. My tradition.”

The Christmas Day Swim fundraising event began in 1989 with just a small group of staff from the organisation braving the frigid Atlantic waters.

Within a few years they were joined by tens, then hundreds and now, 30 years on, thousands of Galwegians from home and abroad.

“Many are home for the holidays, others live locally, some are visiting Galway for the first time, but all are united in the desire to make a difference and help a person who is experiencing hardship in Galway to rebuild their life,” said Ms O’Brien.

To register for the Christmas Day swim and help support COPE’s services costs €10 for an individual, €35 for a family. T-shirts are available for €5.