Malahide man attempts to be the first solo swimmer to cross the Irish Sea!

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

Malahide resident Gavin Doran intends to be the first person to solo swim the Irish sea – all in aid of Pieta House mental health services.

Gavin, who lives with his fiancé, Shannon Byrne in Malahide, is an avid swimmer and he intends to take on the arduous task in August next “When the seas are usually the warmest!”

Link to go fund me page at bottom of the article

The challenge entails a 100km swim will could take anything from 30 to 40 hours of straight swimming. But Gavin is not taking the easy route, and plans to take on the challenge by standard open water swimming rules – that means no wetsuit or any thermal aids – just a hat, goggles and a pair of togs!

For the moment, the Malahide man’s training is a mix of pool and sea swimming, along with cycling and running to build the fitness levels without overworking the shoulders.

“I sea swim at Low Rock between Portmarnock and Malahide, a couple of days a week, and in the pool about 4-5 days a week. For the cycling, I head up the Coast Road and up over Howth Hill, that’s a regular route for me.”

No one has ever completed swimming the Irish Sea solo, says Gavin.

“Even though loads of people have suam the channel, it’s been done in relays, a swimmer in for the hour, and then another into the water but no one has done the complete swim alone so I want to be the first person to achieve it!”

And Gavin will do it in aid of Pieta House, and their support services for persons living with mental health issues.

“Sea swimming was such a source of relief for people during the pandemic restrictions, I really feel many people’s mental health benefitted by undertaking sea swimming and indeed, walking by the ocean,” stated Gavin.

“My fiancé Shannon suffers with anxiety and depression and she finds the resource of Pieta House a marvellous help, as do many other families.”

When Gavin undertakes the colossal 100km swim in August, he will have a support team in boats and kayaks following his swim. They will help him to eat and drink but everything else is just between him and the water.

In conjunction with the planned swim, Gavin has set up a GoFundMe page.  

Gavin Byrne with fiance Shannon Byrne

“I’m taking on a challenge that no one has conquered before to raise funds for the Pieta House.  Over the next few months, I’ll be documenting my training and build up to the swim across social media.

“I’ll share all aspects of this challenge with the public who can see how important swimming has been to my own mental health. But this is for Pieta House, a charity who do such important and amazing work for people suffering with mental health issues including depression and suicide.”

Gavin’s swim will be held over the August bank holiday weekend, when he will swim from Holyhead in Wales to Portmarnock Beack. He hopes to raise at least €10,000 for Pieta House and in the meantime, he continues his arduous weekly schedule of training.

You can donate at – No donation too big or small, all monies put to good use.

Click on link to read more in this weeks Digital Edition

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