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!
As you can see, rigorous. What could possibly go wrong?
See you at the Dutchman. The first round’s on Sam.
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.
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).
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.
Tom was on the beach almost every day and Siobhan Russell has a lot of pictures to prove it. I have put some to suitable music to remind us how much he loved his daily swim and the craic, uplifting the spirits of all of us. As he’d often ask – “Where would you get it?”. For Tom, nowhere else – only in Myrtleville.
We lost a great friend in Myrtleville today. One of the original Myrtleville Swimmers, Tom Bermingham, passed away. He always had a smile, laugh and a chat for everyone at the beach and was an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed. Sincere sympathies from all swimmers in Myrtleville to his wife, Kathleen and his family.
Tom Bermingham (L) as we’ll remember him, with his great friend, Pat Higgins.
Meet the stars – Steve Redmond gets to have his photo taken with Pat Higgins and Tom Bermingham. “Better than any Oceans Seven”, said Steve 🙂
OK, we can all see he has made a complete balls of getting the buoys cleaned, but that’s no reason not to be nice to poor old Jim Shalloo. Yes, he said he’d get the job done. Yes, he spends more of his time showing videos on his phone and delaying swims than he does actually cleaning buoys. But still, nobody wants to see him in tears.
Well, maybe Trevor does. It’s easy to forget in the mists of time that Trevor Malone was the original Myrtlevillian solo Channel trailblazer. Jim hasn’t forgotten, though, and he really looks up to Trevor. So much so, that he takes Trevor’s “gentle banter” to heart. It might be fair comment that if Jim considers the buoys to be clean enough, you’d hate to see the state of his underpants. But Trevor didn’t need to say it. Jim took that one well, though. The one that got him was when Trevor told him he was so useless, he couldn’t get a hat down in Sandycove. That got him.
Why? Well, as everyone knows, it’s simply impossible not to get a hat down in Sandycove. Everyone gets a hat. It’s like a kiddies birthday party. You can hardly step out of your car without Ned being across the road to present you with a hat. Monday Hats, Tuesday Hats, Lappy Hats etc etc. So Trevor’s statement that Jim wouldn’t get one – well, just look at the result (and the evil grin on Mr. Malone).Ah, Trevor. Stop that now.
Give Jim a smile when you see him and tell him he’s doing a great job with the cleaning. He isn’t, but he needs the boost. Trevor’s at him.
It has been noted by a small picky, picky, picky few of the thousands of satisfied buoy-lappers that the underside or nether regions of the new buoys are not as sparkly clean as when they were first installed. These dirty bottoms are, apparently, causing a degree of discomfort for these picky (×3) swimmers. They (the picky ones) feel that the entirely natural and expected build up of weed and – dare one say – slime on the underside of the buoys is lowering the tone of the Myrtleville experience on their Insta stories.
One of the offending dirty-bottomed-buoys. Thanks, Siobhan 🙂
Never fear, Myrtlevillians. Today, we are delighted to announce that qualms and concerns regarding the buoys are being addressed – under the command of Lieutenant Commander James Shalloo (Ret’d).
Cap’n Jim (that other rank stuff is way too long to keep typing) is establishing a roster for pair of crack teams to be known as the SAS. That’s Swabbers And Scrubbers, obvs.
Contacted for details, Cap’n Jim was fierce nauticalish altogether about his plans.
“Avast ye”, says he. “This scuttlebutt about seaweed and barnacles wouldn’t have happened on my ship. We’ll enlist two crews – Shanghai them if we have to – and get those buoys shipshape and Bristol fashion twice a week. Swabbers on Monday and Scrubbers on Thursday. There’ll be no swinging the lead either. Not on my watch.”
He really knows Navy talk, does Cap’n Jim. He also plans to spare no expense in equipping the crews – or at least in equipping himself to inspect their work. He has demanded funds for this inspection craft. The Committee for How to say Feck Off without hurting feelings is considering it.
Anyway, all volunteers are to sign up for duty on www.swabscrub.jim and they will be duly assigned their roles as either a swabber or scrubber. If he likes the cut of your jib, Cap’n Jim might even let you pick which you are.
Form an orderly queue and let’s get the asses of these buoys looking good for the Gram, peeps.
This is important. Please note and share. The six safety buoys have been laid out specifically to encourage swimmers to follow a route which keeps us safe. This means you should NOT swim directly from Buoy 4 at the Dutchman rocks to Buoy 6 at Bunnyconnellan. To do that means you are out in an area where marine traffic can be passing at speed. They may not expect to meet swimmers out there.
A lap of the six buoys is 1,350m. This includes a dog-leg from buoy 4 to 5 to 6. This was planned. It’s for your safety. For every lap – do the dog-leg. Touch Buoy 5. If you don’t, you’re taking a risk. Here’s a map from one swimmer – she did the dog-leg.
There is a Mariner’s Notice in place for Myrtleville Bay and within the buoys. Our job as swimmers is to stay within the buoyed area. Do the dog-leg. Seriously. Swim Safe.
…and the guirls, too 🙂 In fact, let’s hear it for everyone who contributed to getting your new buoys in place – girls, boys and organisations big and small. Every bit of support was welcome. They look great and have industrial-strength shackles, chain and ropes, to hopefully withstand the storms which will inevitably arrive.
Just a mention for a few people and organisations who went over and above the call of duty in their efforts to assist. Sheelagh Broderick and Priscilla Lynch in Healthy Living Ireland got the whole process started and funded the moorings and original buoys. We have had support and advice from the Port of Cork and funding from Cork County Council through their Community Grants – thanks to Eamonn Mullally and Cllr. Seamus McGrath for guidance on this.
We appreciate every contribution towards the costs and would like to specifically thank Crosshaven Triathlon Club, Cork Distance Camp (Ned), Paul Twohig, Joey Sheahan, Neville Foott, Sandycove Island Swim Club and Dan Murphy. Marc Lake and Aidan O’Connor have done a huge amount of research and work to try to ensure these buoys and fittings are the best fit for our conditions and to get them installed. Thanks to all.
Given government guidelines, it isn’t the right time to try to organise a swim. We get 200+ people on the beach some mornings, so having an event would swamp us 🙂 Hopefully we will get an event and a BBQ at some point to celebrate. Thanks again to everyone.