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21st Dec 2023

7 of the best places in Dublin for braving the Christmas swim

Fiona Frawley

three men wearing santa hats and beards jumping off a rock into the sea

Header image via Alamy

We’ll all be having a blue, blue Christmas once our toes hit that Irish sea.

It’s one of Ireland’s most beloved Christmas traditions, with its popularity only increasing in recent years following the uptake in ✨sea swimming✨. All over the country on the 25th, thousands of brave Santa hat-clad souls will hurl themselves into the sea, whether it’s for charity, tradition or just for the craic. As plenty of ad campaigns and seasoned swimmers will tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart – but pack yourself some extra layers and a flask of something warming, and the adrenaline will easily see you right through to Christmas dinner. If you’re looking to tackle the Christmas swim this festive season, here are 7 great places to do it.

Forty Foot

Might as well start by pointing out the obvious. The Forty Foot Christmas swim is a tradition that dates back to a time before women were allowed to swim there (not that long ago, sadly) and is always one of the busiest, buzziest places for a festive dip. Give yourself plenty of time to get there and find a parking space, and bear in mind that there won’t be much time for dilly dally-ing ahead of jumping in. It’s very much a conveyor belt of lunatics ready to plunge themselves in with no hesitation.

aerial shot of the forty foot swim spot on christmas day

Balscadden Beach

The Christmas dip in Howth is usually organised by a group called Friends of Balscadden Beach and takes place, as the name would suggest, on stunning Balscadden Beach. A beautiful cove jutted into the impressive Howth Head, with a magical coastline to look out at while you lose feeling in your toes.

Bull Island

Set against the festive backdrop of the Poolbeg Towers, and they didn’t even have to dress up for it. There’s always plenty of brave souls embracing the cold at this windy spot on the 25th, and similar to previous years, nearby café Happy Out will have the shutter open to serve up warming brews post-dip.


Every year on the 25th, hoards of daredevils enter the Irish Sea via the slipway across from the Skerries Sailing Club. Times vary depending on high tide, with a great community feel guaranteed.

Greystones Beach

Technically a hop, skip and a jump over the Wicklow border, but Greystones could be relatively close to some Dubliners so it gets a mention. Always a hugely well attended festive dip, plus Greystones Beach is huge so there’s plenty of room to enter the icy water at your leisure.


Dún Laoghaire Baths

A relatively new addition to the Dublin swim scene, ready and waiting to be the location for your new Christmas tradition. If you’re looking to try out this new spot, Happy Out also handily have a café located right beside it, and will also be open at this location for your festive flattie needs.

Via dlr coco 

Killiney Beach

If you’re looking for somewhere with a bit of space to lay down your dryrobe and multiple layers, the stony but scenic shores of Killiney Beach could be a shout. With unmatched views of Dalkey, Bray and Greystones, I always find this beach a bit chillier than neighbouring swim spots but in the depths of December, what difference can it really make? Be sure to bring your swim shoes along if you have them – they’re essential for navigating the plentiful pebbles.

Happy swimming, everyone! Don’t forget your dry robe, your hot water bottles and most importantly, your sense of superiority.


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