Christmas Day Swim

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Fancy a Christmas Day Swim.


At what is arguably Ireland’s most beautiful beach, swimmers gather at noon on Christmas Day, a tradition that began here more than 20 years ago. The house in which Daniel O’Connell was raised overlooks the bay.

The area was much frequented by smugglers in the 18th century. Tea, brandy, butter, wool, salt and hides were bought and sold by Maurice “Hunting Cap” O’Connell, Daniel’s uncle. Maurice grew wealthy and afforded his nephew an education at King’s Inns. The nearby town of Caherdaniel is named in O’Connell’s honour.


You’ll have to be up early to make the Christmas Day swim at Fenit. Traffic will line the road from Tralee as city dwellers travel to the coast for the biggest Christmas swim in Munster. More than 600 people will line the shore of Lockes Beach at noon, with the same number watching from the pier. Santa and Mrs Claus will lead a chorus of Jingle Bells before signalling the rush to the sea. The ritual is repeated twice for good measure.

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