Myrtleville Minkies North Channel Swim

Congratulations to the Minkies, who completed their North Channel relay on Friday, July 2nd. Start point was Donaghadee (about 15k south of Bangor). It was a four-person team – Marie Watson, Brenda Sisk, Ann Smyth and Fiona Coleman. Ann finished the swim in Scotland after 19 hours 33 mins.

Darren Morrissey was on the boat with them and gave us this short summary of a huge achievement:

I was on the boat with the girls for their NC swim on Friday. They played an absolute blinder. Unbelievable from the four of them. They did themselves proud. They only wore Myrtleville hats all day. They had about 24 hours notice to get to Bangor for the swim start. No accommodation booked and everything to do. Pre-swim fuel was wine and chips 😂. They were all immense. They found the strength to finish a grueling day with a smile on their faces and broke into Scotland.

A fantastic achievement! Well done to all involved. By the way, it’s unclear if Ann cursed on reaching Scotland (one of the “Thank F@#K for that” variety), but I’d bet she did.

Help wanted for new swimmers evening – June 23, 6.30pm

June 23rd, 6.30pm: Eilis Burns will be bringing a group of new open water swimmers to Myrtleville on Wednesday, June 23rd at 18:30.

Any of the regular Myrtleville swimmers who can be around that evening to give any help would be appreciated. We need strong swimmers used to the sea to join the group for the swim and watch out for anyone who needs some support.  Also, any kayakers or SUPs available would be very welcome.

Please come down if you can. Remember what your own first swim was like and help out.

Eilis will do another evening talk in the Winter in return for our assistance. Amazingly, it’s six years since the last one!

Some of the new swimmers on another evening – 2014.

Notice to Mariners – what it means for swimmers

Some swimmers incorrectly believe that no boats can access Myrtleville Bay or the area in or around the yellow marker buoys. It is correct that Jet Skis are prohibited from the buoyed area. Boats are most definitely NOT prohibited.

Boats are “advised to keep a safe distance from the buoys and swimmers, to navigate with extreme caution and minimise wash in this area”. Mariners are expected to use extreme caution but us swimmers must also be very careful and take responsibility for our own safety, especially on sunny days with a lot of marine traffic and some – to put it nicely – less experienced boat users.

On a more regular basis, whether sunny or not, you’ll quite likely see working boats around the bay. Anyone who has done much swimming in Myrtleville must have met – as in, swam into 🙂 – some small marker buoys for lobster pots in various places. These buoys should mean one thing to swimmers – a boat was used to put them in and a boat will come back to take them out: like they’ve done for decades. Those working boats will be in and out regularly. They are perfectly entitled to be there. They watch out for swimmers in the water and we also have to watch out for them.

Swim safe.

Ned’s Da Man

It’s not often I take the side of d’Islanders down West, but when you’re right, you’re right. Ned’s right. A race around Cork City? No way that old guy could win. They told him that too. Repeatedly.

In the presence of a witness (hi, Eleanor!) before the swim, I told that “useless trio” (TM – Coach Eilis) of Lynch, Maher and Shalloo that if they lost to the “geriatic yank” (TM – Coach Eilis) not to bother coming back to the beach.

They lost. Big time. He gave them odds. They still lost.

No wonder Ned felt emboldened to swoop down from on high and challenge all comers in Myrtleville. How’s this for a swooping geriatric….

Ned – you da man. The Goliath of Cork.

Note, to really understand his inspiration, you might watch this. Hint – Ned is Achilles and 2.50 in is the key bit. I wonder, does that make Dave Merriman the king?

Troy (Achilles Vs Boagrius) 4K – YouTube

Coach Eilis speaks out

As everyone who knows her is aware, Coach Eilis is a shy, retiring person not given to public expressions of opinion.  It takes a lot for her to feel she needs to comment on a situation or event in swimming and then only in the calmest, most supportive and encouraging way.  I was therefore surprised to receive a phone call from the Coach, the content of which I have tried to capture below. It is – believe me – almost verbatim. I just took out the bad stuff she said about the three bandidos. This is a family site, after all.

Me:  Hello, Eilis?

Coach Eilis: Damian, listen to me, did you hear about that round-Cork swim last night?

Me: Well, I….

Coach Eilis: What the hell is going on with that Myrtleville crowd?  Jim and Bernard and Liam?? Myrtlevillians?  Myrtlewasters more like it.  Ned?  Ned, like?  They let that geriatric feckin’ Yank win?

Me: Ah, well….

Coach Eilis:  The excuses?  He swam under the wall out of the current and they wouldn’t? Why not? Afraid of a bit of sewage and a few dead animals and shopping trolleys?  WIMPS!  They’re a disgrace.  They must have known he’d swim through shite backwards to get ahead – but he’s ancient, sure, half the man he used to be – and he still beat them!

Me: Yes, ah…

Coach Eilis: Get the word out – they’re nothing to do with me.  They obviously forgot everything I taught them before Covid arrived.  Useless.  When they come crawling back, I’ll have them doing drills with the beginners.  At the back of the lane too.  Useless.

Me: Oh, ah, right…

Coach Eilis: At least Rosie did a great swim – no cheating or messing.  Fantastic swimmer.

Me: Yes, she…

Coach Eilis: But that other three!!! Useless!! What a shower – beaten by a half-dead ould fella.  A disgrace!!  Nothing to do with me.  Nothing.  He even gave them a head start!

Me: He wha..?

Coach Eilis:  Yeah, Ned left them head off into the sunset and stood there to give them odds then beat them anyway.  USELESS!! I’ll have the three of them lying on the pool deck up here to bend and twist them like morla and everyone laughing at them.

The call continued in this vein for a while longer. It was unprintable. Lads, I wouldn’t be heading towards Silver Springs any time soon if I were ye. She’s waiting.

A horse of a man

If you ever wondered where the phrase originated to describe a strapping, fit man I reckon the photo below is the perfect example of it. We all miss Tom Bermingham on the beach, but many of us only met him in his sixties and seventies and didn’t know him as a younger man. This great picture is of Tom exiting the water at the first Crosshaven Triathlon in 1984, in his forties. Seriously – look at the muscles on him! Could you imagine facing him on a hurling pitch?? A horse of a man, if ever there was one. He’s sadly missed but always remembered.

As an extra bonus, the young man beaming beside him and proudly carrying his shoes is our regular swimmer, Brian Twomey. Before the buoys, if the weather was bad you’d be lucky “to get as far as Brian Twomey’s house”. Now you’d probably say “buoy 2”. 🙂

A fantastic picture and one well worth sharing. Thanks, Brian.

The Six Million Millimetre Man

As many people will know – because he told them – Liam Maher swam 6km this weekend. Never one to undersell his achievements, Liam was hardly out of the water before he was on the phone spreading the word. Decent guy that he is, he felt bad, however, that he simply didn’t have time to contact everyone he just knew would be interested – so he rang in to a local radio show. In case you missed it, I managed to find a transcript of the call, as follows…….

Mr. Maher – The 6mmm Man

DJ: So, Liam, thanks for calling in and staying on the line for over three hours waiting until we got you on air.

LM: No bother, I knew people would want to hear about it. 6 million millimetres, like. That’s not done every day.

DJ: So that’s, six kilometres, is that right?

LM: Yeah, if you want to shorten it, like. But, yeah – six kilometres. In May, like. In the sea.

DJ: And were you on your own, Liam?

LM: Well, no, like, Eddie and Jim and so on were there as well, but just hanging on to me, like.

DJ: Oh, ok, and are Eddie and Jim and the others there with you now?

LM: Well, no, like – they went home after, but I had calls to make and then I was waiting to come on your show, so no, it’s dark now and there’s nobody else here.

DJ: Oh, right, ok. Grand. Liam, we have another caller on there who says that some guy Lynch swam 8 km – or eight million millimetres as you might say, Liam – this weekend and apparently he’s not goin’ on about it. Have you anything to say about that, Liam?

LM: Well, like, I dunno, like, did anyone see him like, did they?

DJ: Well, Liam, apparently there were plenty of witnesses and, again, he just isn’t blowing his trumpet – he just did it and went home. 8km, like. Which is a good bit more than your 6km, like. Also, Liam, our researcher is in my ear there saying there seems to be some information online about previous claims you’ve made about swims – stuff about Ballycotton and Manhattan and that. Have you anything to say about that?

LM: Listen, c’mere, there was no evidence of that stuff at all. Apart from the eyewitnesses, photographs and official published event timings, there was no proof at all that I hopped in a boat or got a tow. None. Zero. Nada, like. Anyway, you rang me about my magnificent 6km swim. Why are we talking about this other completely unproven stuff?

DJ: To be fair, Liam, you rang us and after nearly three hours of hogging our line we eventually had to put you on and beEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP………Hello, Liam? Liam? We seem to have lost Liam there. We’ll try to get him back. Or maybe we’ll ring yer man, Lynch. He sounds like he actually did something worth talking about…..

TRANSCRIPT ENDS

New and returning swimmers

Lots of people are planning on getting into the sea in the coming weeks. To keep safe, plan your swims and never swim alone – always go with a group.

If you’re going to swim in Myrtleville, here is some information that may help you to join a suitable group and keep yourself safe at all times:

New Swimmers information: https://myrtlevilleswimmers.com/about/

Routes and Safety in Myrtleville: https://myrtlevilleswimmers.com/routes-and-safety/

Also: if you need a swim float, there’s a discount on offer here: https://myrtlevilleswimmers.com/2017/02/17/discount-on-saferswimmer-floats/

Russell’s at the Rock

Amazing news at the weekend as a local entrepreneur spotted an opportunity in adversity and announced the launch of a new business in Myrtleville. As some of you will know, Buoy 4 played hidies for a while on Friday – mostly to convince Laurence and Marcus they were gone mad: he’s a right messer, is 4 – but it reappeared in the night (Boo!).

While others saw problems in this situation, one man saw a chance to capture the zeitgeist and provide what all decent, right-thinking Irish people want when they are loyally following the government rules and socialising outdoors – drink.

Thinking blue-skyishly outside numerous boxes, Sam Russell recognised that mooring a floating bar at Buoy 4 would not only mitigate the risk of it disappearing again, but would also meet the needs of poor, thirsty swimmers gasping for a pint as they got halfway around a lap. Never one to rest on his laurels, Sam has sourced a suitable bar – see picture for a swimmer’s eye view of the new premises – and staffed it in full.

The staffing wasn’t as hard as it sounds. Sam quickly decided that if the business was to be called Russell’s at the Rock, it needed to be manned at all times by a Russell brother. This isn’t as onerous as you might think – at last count there were about a million Russell brothers. Also, since they abandoned hair colour as a differentiator, most of us won’t know which of them is on duty at any time. Especially after we’ve had a few.

The main hurdle for Sam was overcoming what he was sure would be a rigorous assessment and risk analysis by the infamously nit-picky Myrtleville Swimmers New Stuff Committee. The minutes from the emergency session of the Committee, held on Sunday, clearly show that Sam was right to be concerned.

Extract from minutes:

Committee: So you’ll be serving drink out at the Dutchman, like?

Sam Russell: Yes.

Committee: Proper drink? Beer, gin, vodka, like?

Sam Russell: Yes.

Committee: Feckit, dat’s de berries. Mine’s a pint, boy!

Meeting ended.

As you can see, rigorous. What could possibly go wrong?

See you at the Dutchman. The first round’s on Sam.

Beware the Siren Call

It seemed almost too good to be true. A brave, lone Myrtlevillian embarks on a quest to commune with nature (he went for a swim, like) and meets magnificent marine mammals – AKA de dolphins. With the image beamed around the world (it’s on CorkBeo anyway), Harry Casey has been inundated with offers from Hollywood for a film about his experiences. The project – with the working title “Swims with Dolphins” (like Costner in that wolf thingie years ago) – is being cast (Ryan Gosling is on to play Harry, apparently, but Harry reckons he’s not macho enough) and we hear plans are in place to engage Peter Foott with his local knowledge of filming on the beach for the Young Offenders.

Harry “Swims-with-Dolphins” Casey in a still by D. McGreevy from the early rushes of the film.

By all accounts the script has a storyline that sees Harry abandoning the rat race and living on the beach in a Dryrobe tent (you stick two hurleys in the sand and drape the robe over them – you’d get a family of six in there) to be close to his dolphin family. It has Oscar written all over it. And yet…..beware the siren call of Hollywood. We have been here before.

Back in 2016, there was a similar clamour around another touted epic – “Basking with Bernie”, the story of one man and his shark co-habiting in the waters around Myrtleville. Bernard Lynch was living in the sea at the time, preparing for his Channel assault and he formed an attachment with a giant basking shark. Their interactions caught the attention of a passing fisherman who snapped the shot below and turned heads in Hollywood. They were going to make it a back-to-nature, save the planet biopic type of thing. Jack Black was down for the lead role and Colin Farrell was going to play the fisherman (he had fishing-acting experience from that mermaid film down in Castletownbere).

That’s Bernie’s fin on the left. There’s a lot of Bernie underwater. He’s shy. Bernard on the right was just moving closer.

Just like Harry’s film plans, it all looked good and they were just waiting for Bernard to finish the channel swim so they could start filming. Unfortunately, things changed around then in America. In the Trump era there was no appetite for some shark-hugging, sea-loving, leftie-liberal, environmenty-type stuff. Bernard was asked if he’d consider a film where he chased down the vicious shark with a spear gun but he declined and that was the end of it. He still has a rake of “I swam with Bernie” T Shirts on sale in the shop, by the way (25% off this week only).

So, Harry – enjoy it while it lasts, but keep the day job. This one might go down the tubes yet. You can’t trust those fillum fellas.