SWIMMING WITH THE 'COR(R)AL(LED)' : CABHAIR SWIM, 25TH DECEMBER 2019.
2° Celsius in Dublin on Christmas Day 2019 ; a dry, 'brisk' morning with weak sunshine, and a thin sheet of ice covered the barely-flowing water which was making its way to the 3rd Lock of the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin - a perfect day for an outdoor swim (says she, who wasn't getting in!), but other obstacles apart from the weather had conspired against the Cabhair Christmas Swim.
The first-to-arrive members of the 'Cabhair Christmas Crew' were spreading out the banners, flag, tables, goodies etc on the bank of the canal at about 9.30am when a Garda squad car drove onto the canal bank from the Naas Road entry, about 100 feet from where they were working, drove slowly past them, occupants staring at them, and parked about 100 feet up the bank, past them ; that car and its occupants stayed put until they deemed their 'job' done, then drove away. At roughly the same time as the squad car had placed itself on the canal bank, two Special Branch men placed themselves at that same Naas Road entry point, thus 'corralling' those 'Crew' members between 'a rock and a hard place'!
Undeterred, the two lads carried-on with the job in hand and were soon joined by two of the swimmers and a handful of supporters, but the State 'blockade' had been a 'success' : dozens of people, who had made their way to the swim site from either the Inchicore, Bluebell, Naas Road, Benbulbin Road/Drimnagh direction were either stopped or deterred from going further by one or other of the State obstacles, thus drastically reducing the crowd in
The organisers were then notified that a vehicle, carrying two other swimmers and some supporters, had been stopped en route to the swim site and confiscated, leaving the passengers stranded. As it was nearing the 'kicking off' time, a decision was made to get the proceedings underway, albeit in a much reduced capacity. But the event was held, for the 43rd successive year, despite those State-inspired setbacks. Down, certainly, but definitely not 'out'!
Here's a few pics that were taken on the day - pretty poor looking, granted, compared to all 42 other years, but the circumstances which led to such a 'poor show' were outside of Cabhair's control -
but we've had worse!
And that's it, readers, in regards to the Swim report. The ills of that day were, as stated, outside of the control of the organisers. 'Half-hearted' it may have been, in terms of 'size', but most certainly not in terms of spirit!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.