Wild swimming in the west of Ireland

The heat in Ireland in July drove me out of Coleraine into Donegal, Mayo and Galway. There is so much natural beauty; particularly in County Mayo! The cultural heritage is fascinating too.

I swam a lot. Sometimes alone. Sometimes others joined in. I’m grateful for the new friends I made. Swimming along The Wild Atlantic Way, in the open sea has become an invigorating pilgrimage in honour of a woman who had an incredible beauty of spirit, my mum.

Margaret Helen Dean.

mum yosemite

Since my mum died last April, on Easter Sunday, open sea swimming has given me a place to put the pain. I am giving it back to Ireland, naturally.  As Rilke says; “to the heaviness of the oceans from which ultimately comes the saltwater which makes up our tears. Our tears connect us still to the oceans that spawned us.

Dog Head 2

One fabulous day, in an unspoiled area of special importance, in Mayo, my car got stuck in the sand. I was on a beach classified as the third finest beach in Europe, so I wasn’t that worried. The beach was so expansive I had to drive to get to the water’s edge. Okay, I disobeyed the don’t drive beyond this point rules. Maybe  I have lived in America too long. I was told I’d have to find a farmer with a tractor to pull me out of the sand. Off I went. I found a farmer on a roof who graciously agreed to tractor pull me out of the sand. I’ve always wanted a ride in a red tractor.

Here’s a few sea-scapes I was compelled to swim in. Stunning Joe (1st picture) and I had a great day swimming in the lovely harbor and another beach at An Spideal in Galway !







  1. Great photos. Interesting County Mayo was your favourite, I’ve not heard so much about that one. Liked your quote from Rilke


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