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 !






Published by Jeanette Dean

I'm a life long learner. I've been on a voyage of discovery since childhood so ask why a lot. I'm Irish and a bit American. I write because its freeing and healing. I love photography, theology, the natural beauty of Ireland and swimming in the sea year round. I see the world through the lens of Celtic Christianity but can try on other perspectives. The business of everyday spirituality has always fascinated me. I hope this blog challenges, inspires and encourages you. Perhaps you'd like to work with me. Please reach out to me if that's the case. I'd love to hear from YOU so please comment and let me know you are out there!

2 thoughts on “Wild swimming in the west of Ireland

  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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