Ireland Dispatch #1: Liffey Swim

This is the River Liffey. It runs from East to West through the center of Dublin, straight to the ocean. The flow is tidal, so at any given moment you may see it like this, or you’ll see a small stream running through the center of the wide canal walls. If it is low tide, as it was when I first arrived in Dublin, you’ll see things that will immediately destroy any assumptions about the cities beauty, as they did for me. At the bottom of the Liffey, you’ll see bicycles, shopping carts (or trolleys) shoes, garbage, garbage, more garbage, beer bottles, beer cans, beer steins, and that’s just the stuff that hangs around permanently. Temporary additions to the riverbed include more random things, and usually more extreme, such as the human body that was pulled out a week ago! Great river!

Wait, are those…?

Yeah, those are people, fucking swimming in the river!?

Boston has its marathon, and that’s fine, go drink Dunk’s, but here in Dublin, they have the Liffey Swim! This annual swim race has gone down without fail since 1920! Every year, people suit up and wait at the eastern-most bridge for the tide to come in, then they swim like there’s a shark chasing them until they get to the piers. The non-swimmer populous lines the banks of the river to cheer and watch the insane speedo-clad athletes risk it all.

I say risk it all, and you may roll your eyes, but Ecoli levels in that water are well above the EPA standards for healthy liquids, and there is enough rusting metal in there to turn your blood blue and give you an infection in seconds if you cut yourself, which I’m sure at least one person did. At the end of the race, the city provides a decontaminating wash, you know, the ones people have to go through after being exposed to large amounts of radiation. This water is gross.

All said, the swimmers seemed to be having a great time, and the final outcome involved zero casualties! One more year of a great Dublin tradition, and I was there to see it. I hope you enjoyed hearing about it. More coming soon!

Guinness speedo-Represent






~ by evanlitsios on September 4, 2011.

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