Winter sunrise swim in Ireland

Fergus is in my swimming group. We haven’t swam together yet but I was inspired by his video and wanted to share it with you. He beautifully captures the sunrise from the Irish sea for the first time in 2021. A little robin hops over to him as he watches the sun rise. I swam here on November 22nd, my birthday in honor of my mum who gave birth to me on that day in 1967. This is blog 1967 – minus the 9.
Fergus only started sea swimming in July.
Come and join us!


Ecological imagination in Cork

Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely freezing. Thank you for showing us how to enjoy nature in Cork. Paschal and I met not long ago on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Ask me about that fun trip and experience. We both live in Ireland. I’m in Dublin. He’s in Cork. We share a love of swimming in the Irish sea. Paschal genuinely cares about Cork. His relationship with nature and all things Cork has inspired me to plan a visit. Will we enter into the freezing winter Celtic sea? I think so.

The world is not just in a pandemic, it’s also in an ecological crisis. How are you enjoying and protecting nature’s beauty? Have you considered that really caring for our common home 🏡 is one way to practice environmental justice.

The River Lee in this video is located in the Celtic Sea at Cork Harbour mouth. The ecology of the Celtic sea is interesting. It has a rich fishery and four cetacean species including minke whale, bottlenose dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin and harbor porpoise.

The following scripture came to my mind;
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”

Psalm 1:3

The path to happiness

“Covering up our emotional reality removes the power of Jesus in our lives. The cover up elevates our self-reliance.”

Jean-Marie Jobs.

Regulating my emotions in another Lockdown feels like a crucible. It hurts. However one of the most important tasks of growth is to understand how I hurt and suffer. Suffering is negative but it’s part of life. I ease mine by being in nature in Phoenix Park. I prayer-walk. I meditate on the psalms, a running commentary on overwhelm and suffering. The Psalter shows us how to be real with God i.e. fully engaged in what is true for us.

David wrote most of the psalms and he “slept with his Soldier’s wife, got her pregnant, and then had that soldier sent to the front lines so he would be killed in battle. This same David was anointed king by the prophet Samuel while Saul still sat on the throne, and His son Jonathan was heir. There were terrible consequences for his actions, but David was known as a friend of God, a man pursuing God’s heart. Just as God appointed David, he appointed pharaoh to harden his heart and show his glory, he appointed Hitler and his destruction that would follow, he brought forth Israel (Is. 66) in a single day. He appoints all rulers and authorities.” Kalister Harmon.

In the world’s views, the path to happiness is “having it all together.” But what we really need is to experience the path to pain, anxiety, overwhelm, and suffering and allow it to heal us and make us better people. 

I can move through all the emotions below in about an hour during these challenging times.

How do YOU respond to your experience of suffering, anxiety or overwhelm?

The wonders of October

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

In the past few months I’ve ventured out quite a bit and have met new, wonderful people, in quite unexpected ways. There is value in uncertainty when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Photos in order;
Appreciating the precious gift of life through a local cemetery (1)
My footprints along the path of life (2)
Going in at Lower Rock Portmarnock (3)
Rescue at Lower Rock Portmarnock (4)
Got all 3 out, just about!! (5)
Malahide Estuary (6)
Post swim at Sutton (7)
DART – Dublin Area Rapid System (8)
Relaxed neighborhood cat wants a belly rub (9)
Philosophical Lilly waiting for me to throw a pebble or ball (10)

‘Old Glory’ in the quiet seclusion of Phoenix Park

Old Glory is a nickname for the flag of the United States. The original flag was owned by sea captain William Driver who flew the flag during his career at sea and then brought it to Nashville, Tennessee (sea) which is the sister city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city with a massive ship building history. It was flying low today on my morning walk. A few Irish soldiers went before and fell behind me as I walked on Chesterfield Avenue and around Farmleigh estate. It’s great to be out in nature, and its free!

Swimming at Martello Tower Seapoint

“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

-Saint Augustine

Swimming long distance at Seapoint is a great self-reflection exercise. I’ve build up my confidence a little. It’s popular too. My challenge is to swim around all five lined up yellow marker buoys, about 1.6 km. Swimming straight and managing my breathing is tricky.  I’ve made new friends, accompanied nervous swimmers into the sea and the energy in this place has refreshed my soul. I’ve wondered if there’s an outpouring of God’s spirit in this swimming spot.

I start my swimming from the Martello Tower which looks like an upside down flower pot. Whilst swimming I see Howth Head when I breathe on one side and then the Victorian terraced houses along the road on the other side. The tower is my marker finishing up. Thirty-nine Martello Towers are still standing in Ireland. The circular or oval stone or brick gun-batteries were erected around the Irish coast from 1804 as a response to an expected Napoleonic invasion. The tower at Sandycove is now called the James Joyce Tower and is celebrated for its association with Ulysses.

The circular Prince of Wales and Rochdale plaque below is just below where I stand to  undress and dress. I didn’t know Dublin Bay was so dangerous until I found this quote;

“The bay of Dublin has perhaps been more fatal to seamen and ships than any in the world, for a ship once caught in it in a gale of wind from ENE to SSE must ride it out at anchors or go on shore, and from the nature of that shore the whole of the crews almost invariably have perished.”

– Captain Charles Malcolm of George IV’s royal yacht.

Come and join me!