Hundreds brave the cold for COPE Galway’s annual Christmas Swim

galway daily news cope galway christmas swim 2022
Marcin and Marlena Muca of Loughrea

A sea of red t-shirts added to Salthill’s festive atmosphere on Christmas morning for this year’s COPE Galway Christmas Swim.

Now in its 33rd year, families, friends, colleagues, sports teams, schoolmates and many familiar faces took part in the long-held Christmas tradition to brave Galway Bay’s cold water in support of the local charity.

The essential funds raised by an estimated 700 swimmers and dippers this year will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of vulnerable families and individuals in Galway.

Last year, COPE Galway supported 2,885 people in Galway city and county across their homeless, domestic abuse and senior support services.

Marcin and Marlena Muca from Loughrea (pictured) have lived in Galway for 16 years.

“Every year, we think about doing the Christmas Swim,” said Marcin. “This morning, I got this red t-shirt when I unwrapped my Christmas gift and was just delighted to come down here today and take part!”

COPE Galway’s Fundraising Manager, Lynia O’Brien, had high praise for the local essential services and volunteers that have given freely of their time and support.

“I have to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you not just to the participants, but to the 60 plus volunteers who lent a hand as well as the Order of Malta Ambulance team, the wonderful lifeguards, Gardaí and all our supporters.

“We are so grateful to them for going the extra mile to help make this a safe and enjoyable community event today.”

Along with familiar local faces who have participated over the years, there were also a few recognisable supporters.

Olympic champion rower and this year’s swim ambassador, Fiona Murtagh, took along her family and friends to uphold their long-held Christmas swim tradition.

Dippers such as international footballer Niamh Fahey, Connacht Rugby players Jarrad Butler and Shamus Hurley-Langton, and indie band New Dad’s Fiachra Parslow arrived throughout Christmas morning, determined to brave the cold in support of the charity.

If you didn’t get to join in this year, but would still like to support, you can donate online at