The Eternal Horizon That the Sea Leaves…

Looking Forward to the 2014

‘Dip in the Nip’.

 Hugely successful in 2012, and raising close on eight and a half thousand for Hand in Hand  that year, was the very popular Dip in the Nip Charity Event, an idea that first took form in the mercurial mind of fundraiser extraordinaire Máire Garvey and which is making a soon-to-be triumphant return to a secret location in Connemara.

 That may have Máire blushing prettily there; but in truth she deserves all credit for being the first one in the world to organise an event that consists of skinny-disligo dip 2012 005pping in the Atlantic for the express purpose of raising money for Irish cancer charities.

You can register now if you wish to take part in this year’s event, scheduled for the 1st of June. The event attracts good sports from right across the spectrum.  Yes, all human life is here and you’ll meet and become friendly with all manner of naked dippers, from those who wish to contribute something to an enormously worthy cause all the way through to others who are actually undergoing cancer treatment at the time.

There will be some who are proudly showing off their tattoos and those doing likewise with their scars– or even just their favourite hat (yes, you can cover the top of your head if you’re shy).  You don’t even need to be able to swim, just able and willing to go plunging into the briny waves.  The shallow part.  And jump up and down.

And you’ll have noticed that I mentioned that the location is one to be disclosed.  This is because your privacy will be completely respected, even if that does sound a bit of a contradiction.  What it means is that the only people there will be the marshals registering you, those handing out hot drinks afterwards and those actually doing the dip!

Sorry, voyeurs: there will be nobody allowed who is only there to lurk and ogle– which unfortunately means that Yours Truly here has been banned from the event.  Ah well, your loss.

Instead, I’ve been talking to the charming Janet and John Walsh, who were there for the 2012 dip; and yes, you read that right.  There are a lot of couples who take part and have a great time at the event.  In fact, the Old Romantic in me would like to think that those who went in having uttered not a word to each other in months emerge from the lapping waves with a relationship renewed and revitalised!

 The Bucket List

 Janet and John didn’t have that problem, though.  Janet just wasn’t doing it and that was that.

“I had been active on the Hand in Hand Fundraising Committee for a number of Walsh Jyears,” John tells me.  “And when I heard about it I jumped at it.  I’m not an exhibitionist by nature, but pretty soon the whole good-fun feel of the event became infectious.” 

 In fact John, who is an IT Manager with Boston Scientific (themselves great friends to Hand in Hand) does some pretty interesting moonlighting as a playwright and indeed has been good enough to pen two hilarious plays in order to benefit his chosen charity over the years, the first being The Mock Wedding, followed the next year by A Child is Born in Bedlam.

[I can’t resist mentioning here that our own Development Manager Jennifer Carpenter showed off her Thespian skills in both.  Unable to decide which side of the Law she was on, she played a Garda in the first one and a one-legged Lady of the Night in the second.  She refuses to say whether she made use of Marlon Brando’s Method style of acting and so I’m unable to ascertain just how much research she put into the roles… especially the second!]

On hearing that his wife was, in her own words, “absolutely not interested” in joining him in his naked ambition John went on to prove himself not only gifted in the IT, writing and comedy departments but also A Very Cunning and Devious Man…

 Janet, who works as a physiotherapy assistant in Merlin Park Hospital says:

“One evening I found myself leafing through a lot of brochures that John had left lying around.  I saw how badly Hand in Hand were struggling for funds and suddenly found myself thinking:  How often do you get a chance to do something like this in such an unusual way?

 “I ended up asking everybody in the hospital to sponsor me and they were all initially doing double-takes.  I suppose I would have been considered a bit demure to be taking on something that seemed so dramatic; but I had decided that I wanted to help in some way.”

 Janet adds that her father died of cancer, as did uncles and so it would be something close to her heart.

“We all met the night before at the Connemara Coast Hotel with the lady who was organising it and that was fabulous.  A good few of us stayed and it was great to get into a hot bath afterwards.  As a couple it’s not really something that would be on your Bucket List and I have to say that it was great having John there.”

 John agrees that the event was much more enjoyable as a couple; but whereas he says that he can’t go past the ocean now without shivering, he claims:  “We were on such a high.  As a couple you already have a bond there anyway.  I’ve never been to Lourdes but my father has and I felt the same way that he did.  I came out of the water with a glow.  I can’t describe it in any other way.  It was just such an enormous lift.

Janet agrees with this but adds thankfully;

“Then when it came to the grdip in the nipoup photograph of everyone running to the sea, in the nip, there was quite a…robust man behind me so I was almost entirely obliterated by him!”

 She sounds quite pleased about this so perhaps Janet is rather demure, at that.  Which makes the efforts of her and those like her all the more admirable.

 And that’s the way that one couple found it to be when attending the Dip in the Nip Event.  You can find others and further details on and if you register to help Hand in Hand for the Galway leg of the event you can skip the €10 fee if you are in before February 1st.

by Charley Brady