Mark ~ JerseyStyle Photography


You’d have to be as mad as Sweeney to do this, scuttle into the unfriendly frigid waters on the first day of the new year. The water is cold and the air is cold and there’s yourself all shivering and shouting with the cold of it, and all the people around you, the sons and the daughters of Ireland, also a-splashing and shouting, and the entire world is comprised of whole unnamed categories of shattering cold. It takes the breath out of you, so it does, steals the very breath you’ve been breathing since birth, but it leaves the shouting, which has nothing at all, at all to do with breath, but is itself an explosive expression driven out of your very lungs by arctic needles of shock and shudder.

You pulse out of the water wind-scourged, with layers of icy-sharp briars on your two shoulders, and your blood-hot lungs razored bitter and raw, and the madness sustains you long enough to pony out of the water and there aren’t enough towels in the wide world to warm you. Hours later in the snug of a pub with a jar in your fist and the mad laughter of your friends banging in your ear, the insanity that sent you into the water reshapes itself and suggests it wasn’t so bad, and was in fact a rebirth of sorts, and you find you’ve promised to do it again next year.

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