Even if, like many, you gave up on Ulysses after about ten pages, you will still be familiar with the place where Buck Mulligan came down for his “scrotum tightening” morning dip in the “snot green” waters of the Irish Sea. Joyce actually lived in the Martello Tower here for a while, which is now a Joyce museum.
The Forty Foot is also famous for the fact that up to relatively recent times it was exclusively a gentleman’s bathing area, popular with nudists, before feminists stormed the barricades.
Never mind the history though, the simple reason I love this place and frequent it every summer is that its just a great place to swim. It is essentially just a rocky outcrop next to tiny Sandycove Beach, on which a few basic shelters have been built, and out of which steps have been carved down into to the sea. The water is nearly always cold, even in summer, there can be strong currents, jellyfish are sometimes a menace, and regular swimmers have even been know to take the odd bite from a seal. But these challenges and obstacles are all part of what makes swimming here such an exhilarating experience.
If you happen to be in Dublin at Christmas and feel like doing something a bit crazy, the Christmas Day swim here is a hugely popular local tradition.
To get to the Forty Foot from town, take the DART to Sandycove/Glasthule station. Its a pleasant 10-minute walk from there.
The Forty Foot | Art & culture, Relaxing
The Forty Foot
Open 24 hours daily