Tonic for body and soul - a dip in the clear and healing Atlantic waters on the coast of Donegal

A view of life in Donegal through the coronavirus crisis by journalist Siobhán McNamara

Waves at Rossnowlagh

Stress and fatigue dissolve in the healing waters of the wild Atlantic. PHOTO: Siobhán McNamara

Throughout the long spell of hot weather that we had during lockdown, I wanted nothing more than to go to the beach and cool off in the sea.

Unfortunately the nearest beach was outside my 5k travel limit so I held out, and enjoyed having it as something to look forward to when restrictions eased. By the time the travel limit was extended the weather had changed, and though it wasn’t terrible, I was without really realising it, holding out for a decent day when I would thoroughly enjoy the experience. 

A group of friends go to the beach for a daily dip regardless of the weather, but the time doesn’t suit me because of work. Almost a month went by without me even noticing, and so I decided that the time had come to take the plunge - literally. 

My very accommodating friends offered to join me one evening after work so last Friday I headed off to the beach, the sense of anticipation making me smile from ear to ear as I drove out from Donegal Town.

And the experience did not disappoint. After a few minutes of acclimatising, I dipped down into the water and let it surround me, and wondered why it had taken me so long. I know this feeling well, after all. I’ve been doing it all my life. The initial chilly sensation lasted only a moment, and as I let the water lift me, the stresses of the last few months dissolved into the clear and healing waters. 

I thought about how blessed we are to have this wonderful amenity on our doorsteps, and felt doubly blessed to have such good company to share the experience.

The simple pleasures in life really are the best. And though these last few months have been terrible in many ways, they have taught us to see our own little corner of the world through new eyes. I look forward to many more dips in the sea before the summer ends.

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