Ireland is home to a rich tradition of open water swimming and these three unique races are back in the GSS calendar for another exciting year of competition. Leinster Open Sea is the host of these three races and is an amazing non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting open water swimming by hosting races throughout the summer in the Leinster region.

Dun Loaghaire Habour Race

Celebrating a long history starting in 1931, the Dun Loaghaire Harbour Race is set to be another fantastic sea swim. Hosted just south of Dublin’s city centre, participants swim 2,200 metres around the circumference of the Dun Loaghaire Harbour. Unique to this race is the opportunity for swimmers to see and hear their friends and family cheering! The crowd can cheer from the east pier which makes interaction with the swimmers a fun and exciting experience. With participants ranging an age from 14 to senior citizens it’s a fun event for all and even hosts two children’s races under 200 metres long, perfect for the young ones to get involved!

Lough Dan Race

Looking for a lake swim away from the sea? Look no further than the Wicklow Mountains. Lough Dan is hosted in a mountain lake with fresh temperatures usually colder than the sea and provides swimmers with a different type of challenge from the other swim events of the summer. There are three distances including 2.5 km, 5 km, and 10 km swims. The race course is an out and back and the lake tends to provide a calm swimming experience. Some swimmers find it more difficult due to the lack of buoyancy compared to sea swimming, but you won’t have to battle the tides so there are some trade-offs. Visibility under water is also much more limited but with the picturesque landscape it’s worth taking a chance on the Lough Dan race.

Dublin City Liffey Race

Later in the season and uniquely positioned, swimmers can take in the sites of Dublin in the Dublin City Liffey Swim. Participants race 2,200 metres downstream through the city in this exciting event, battling it out against the incoming tide and sea water. Started in 1920, the Liffey Swim is a family focused event with many family members participating together, mother and daughter, son and grandfather, etc. Participants as young as 13 and as old as their mid-seventies look forward to this race every year and you won’t want to miss it either. This race gives you the chance to swim under 12 significant bridges in the city and provides a truly unique perspective from which to view them!

For more information about these three incredible swims in Ireland, check out the Leinster Open Sea website, here. Important information for first time participants is also provided, check it out here.


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