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The Dublin City Liffey Swim: A Century-Old Tradition

Dublin City Liffey Swim

Event Details: Dublin City Liffey Swim 2023

Are you ready for a thrilling experience in the heart of Dublin’s River Liffey? Look no further than the Jones Engineering Dublin City Liffey Swim, one of Ireland’s most iconic and long-standing sporting events. Managed by Leinster Open Sea​, this annual race has been making waves since its inception over a century ago.

Event Name:Dublin City Liffey Swim
Event Venue:Dublin City Liffey Swim
Price:Please check Provider’s Website
Start Date:TBA
End Date:TBA
Event Time:TBA
Provider:Leinster Open Sea
Ticket URL:

In 1920, the first official swimming race took place in the tidal stretch of the river from Burgh Quay to Ringsend. The event quickly gained popularity and became an annual tradition, with swimmers from all parts of Ireland competing.

Since then, it has become one of Dublin’s favourite summertime activities. Unfortunately, Covid-19 pandemic circumstances forced cancellation in 2020 but bounced back strongly, having adapted some changes to its format last year. [Source: Wikipedia]

Event NameThe Liffey Swim
Current TitleJones Engineering Dublin City Liffey Swim
LocationDublin, Ireland
Managed ByLeinster Open Sea (a voluntary not-for-profit organization)
Course Length2.2 km
Race FormatOpen water swimming race
Swimsuit RegulationsWetsuits are not allowed; participants can choose between wearing wetsuits or swimming togs (swimsuits)
Historical ChangesStart and finish points have changed over the years
Women’s RaceLeinster Open Sea (a voluntary, not-for-profit organization)
TrophiesThe winner of the women’s race receives the Ladies Challenge Cup, presented by The Electricity Supply Board in 1991
Historical SignificanceOne of the earliest Liffey Swims was portrayed in Jack B. Yeats’ painting, “The Liffey Swim,” which won a Silver Medal for Painting at the 1924 Summer Olympics; the 100th Liffey Swim took place in 2019
Notable Records– Youngest male winner: Francis “Chalkey” White (11 years old in 1966)
– Youngest female winner: Mairéad Doran (10 years old in 1979)
– Oldest male top-three finisher: Jackie Kearney (2nd place in 2004, aged 73)
Safety ConcernsConcerns related to pollution and water quality, including the risk of contracting Weil’s disease; Dublin Fire Brigade provides decontamination showers at the finish line
Covid-19 ImpactA separate women’s race was introduced in 1991, held as part of the Liffey Swim program.
Recent EventsThe 2020 Liffey Swim was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic
– Pat O’Driscoll completed his 50th Liffey Swim in 2021, joining a small group of swimmers who achieved this milestone
– In the 2022 event, Ceall Ó Dunlaing swam using only backstroke, and Pat O’Driscoll and Derek Wilkes completed their 50th Liffey Swims
Facts about The Liffey Swim

The Course
Starting at Rory O’More Bridge near Guinness Brewery gate and ending up at North Wall Quay, famously standing before The Customs House., competitors swim under six bridges along their route that includes landmarks like the Four Courts building – offered enough breathtaking sights, not just for participants!

Rules and Registration
In order to take part in this historical event and make history yourself, entrants must belong to a registered swimming club/community within Ireland; moreover, they must complete six qualifying open sea races listed on the “Leinster Open Sea Calendar”. Competitors cannot wear wetsuits – unless special provisions (i.e sudden drop in water temperature). The handicap system is deployed, which gives slower participants an early head start allowing them a fair chance against better performers who will set off later. [Source: Leinster Open Sea Facebook Page]

Source: YouTube Jones Engineering

Preparation for the Swim
If you’re looking forward to participating next year but don’t have much outdoor swimming practice, don’t fret – There are many coaching options! Stop by Clontarf Baths Swimming Lessons, where numerous training sessions are explicitly dedicated towards open water swimming and triathlon training and help train for large-scale races. Get professionally guided sea swimming coaching offering personalized one-to-one instruction from veteran coaches in safe outdoor facilities. [Source: SwimCamp]

For over a century, The Dublin City Liffey Swim has been the heart of traditional Irish experiences; international participants testing their skills against home-grown talent proves it’s beloved worldwide. This historic event provides an unforgettable experience for competitors and spectators – come one, come all!

▷ How long has the Dublin Liffey Swimming Event been taking place?

The Dublin Liffey Swimming Event has been a long-standing tradition since its inception over a century ago in 1920.

What is the course for the swim?

The swim starts at Rory O’More Bridge near Guinness Brewery gate and ends at North Wall Quay, passing under six bridges along the route, including landmarks like the Four Courts building.

Who can participate in the event?

To participate, entrants must belong to a registered swimming club/community within Ireland and have completed six qualifying open sea races listed on the “Leinster Open Sea Calendar.”

Are wetsuits allowed?

Typically, competitors are not allowed to wear wetsuits unless there are special provisions due to a sudden drop in water temperature.

How does the handicap system work?

The event uses a handicap system, which gives slower participants an early head start, allowing them a fair chance against better performers who set off later.

Is there coaching available for beginners or those new to outdoor swimming?

Yes, coaching options are available for participants new to outdoor swimming. Clontarf Baths Swimming Lessons offers training sessions dedicated to open water swimming and triathlon training, with personalized one-to-one instruction from experienced coaches.

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