Making a Splash
The pubs are now open but so are the pools.
A friend of mine was doing the most incredible thing two years ago and I knew I would have to try and jump in and support him.
Pat McDonnell from Coosan was swimming the Shannon and I mean all of it. All 245km of it and he was doing for four local charities.
Pat went the distance for Pieta House, Irish Cancer Society, Cloghan Hall, and Riverside AFC.
While home for my sister's 40th birthday, I knew I would have to squeeze in a picture of Patrick if at all possible, and I met him in Clonmacnoise where I got some really nice shots of him swimming towards the camera.
Swimming the Shannon is incredible, charity work is fantastic but to put Patrick's achievement into perspective, six times as many men have been to the surface of the moon than have swam the River Shannon, and just like going to the Moon, the Americans got their first. Patrick was far faster and the first Irishman to do it but it is an incredible achievement that deserves repeating time and time again.
I will try and do something special with the picture I got of Pat but for now, let's take a moment to focus on Pat's hat and a new challenge that is taking place at the moment.
Pat is a lifeguard and grew up just a stone's throw away from Lough Ree and his yellow and red hat was given to him by Water Safety Ireland. Right now there is an even crazier challenge being set in the name of Water Safety Ireland where another son of Donnell, Henry O'Donnell is trying to swim around the Irish coast to raise money for Water Safety Ireland.
Sorry, I should have said, Pat was given his hat by Irish Water Safety and not Water Safety Ireland as the organisation has changed their name in recent years so I am delighted to hear that Henry O'Donnell is raising funds and awareness for an organisation I have always had the utmost respect for.
Henry is supporting two charities and like Pat, he has chosen Irish Cancer Society as one of them.
It is never too late to learn to swim but please remember to be careful and remember that even a lifeguard like Pat organises safety cover before setting out on the Shannon and that colourful hat he is wearing is going to be very easy for others to spot on the water.
Stay safe, make a splash when you can and support Irish Water Safety, sorry, Water Safety Ireland.
My young nieces are going swimming today and it is the first time since March but according to WaterSafety.ie "The Chairman of Water Safety Ireland is pleased to announce all activities can recommence from 19th September, 2020" which I am sure is great news for all families.