Swimming at Dublin's Forty Foot

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Swimmers at the Forty Foot, Dublin, Ireland Swimmers at the Forty Foot, Dublin, Ireland ©Panoramic Ireland

Dublin's Forty Foot is a famous swimming location, perhaps one of the most famous in the world attracting the likes of Loudon Wainwright III when he visits Ireland and thousands of locals on Christmas Day each year.

Despite the name, the Forty Foot is not home to waves forty feet high, nor is the water forty feet deep. The Forty Foot was home to the British Army's 40th Regiment of Foot, hence the name Forty Foot or 40 Foot.

Anyway if it was forty feet deep we would have to rename it to "The 12.2 Metre" or "The Twelve Metre".


Here is one of my videos made at the Forty Foot on Christmas Day 2018, when thousands of people turn out to swim in the cold Irish Sea, many for charity and good causes but also for a challenge and some fun.

Some of my footage from the Christmas Day swim was used in the recent TV program on Ireland's national broadcaster RTE presented by Ardal O'Hanlon which looked at the Irish propensity for swearing.

Interestingly the area, Sandycove, featured in the opening scenes of James Joyce's Ulysses and the writer even lived for a short time in a Martello Tower that overlooks the famous swimming location.

The Forty Foot was a men-only bathing location until July 1974 when it was invaded by women, many of whom have been swimming here ever since.

Join Panoramic Ireland to photograph Dublin, Dublin Bay, the Forty Foot and Wicklow on one of our Irish photography workshops.

Last modified on Friday, 03 September 2021 22:05
Darren McLoughlin

International travel photographer and Irishman in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about Ireland or about photography in Ireland.


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