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Head Above Water- Mental Health Awareness (Video)

By June 27, 2023May 9th, 2024No Comments

I started my cold water journey in October 2022, when I took on a 31 day cold dip challenge to help raise funds for the charity @helplinkmentalhealth. Not long after I started fishing around for the perfect spot to do cold dip’s. But a safe swimming spot that can be accessed by the public is not an easy thing to find here Limerick city centre.

I first entered the River Shannon out in Killaloe on a cold and wet day in January and I have been alternating cold baths and dips in Castleconnell ever since. The river grounds me immediately, from the sound of the water, to the shock of the cold. Once I enter, it takes me out of my head and into my body. I sleep better now.

When filming Head Above Water with Ali from @thefoxeshouse last week we got lucky with the weather (as we always do!). We headed out on the boat with Pat Lysaght and I finally got my wish of swimming in the city centre. The river was calm, the sun was shining and Limerick stole another piece of my heart that morning.

Out on the river I saw The Treaty City from a new perspective. Looking on the medieval quarter and the Curraghgour Boatclub I saw a glimpse of the past. I imagined viking boats rowing up the Shannon and local fishermen lifting their catch from the water, I even imagined women washing their clothes on the banks. As I was floating and staring up at the sky I couldn’t help but think of all of the souls that lost their lives in this river. A thought that brought me right back to the present.

Only a few days later I would get to swim in her waters again at the Rainbow Swim. I saw firsthand the warm community that gathers at the banks of the Shannon. I spoke with a Grandmother who had brought her granddaughter to swim in the river for the first time. I spoke with a father, a member of The Limerick Narwhals that was also walking his children into the river for first time. I could sense a shift that morning and a genuine love for the river. I believe there is power in numbers and the more activity on the water the safer it is for everyone. I really hope for more days like this where we celebrate this majestic river instead of fearing it.

Fiona 𓅩

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