Forty Foot in Dublin

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Ever heard of the Forty Foot before? The locals of Dublin know and love it! This bathing spot is used every day of the year, no matter how cold the water is. People enjoy the positive effects it has on their mental and physical health. If you want to know more about Forty Foot and its tradition, then continue reading!

What is the Forty Foot?

Forty Foot Dublin

Forty Foot is a promontory south of Dún Laoghaire harbour. It is a historic bathing pool, which used to be a male-only swimming spot for about 200 years. The gentlemen’s swimming club was established to conserve the bathing spot. Only in the 1970s, female activists started going to Forty Foot and jumping into the water, since then, it is open for men, women, and children.

Nowadays, it is a popular bathing spot for the people of Dublin. Many dive into the Irish Sea from the Forty Foot daily all year round. Bathing in the cold sea regularly is said to be very healthy. If you are a tourist and want to go to a swimming spot that is not used by tourists, this is the best location. At Forty Foot you will always find locals swimming and can have a chat with them!

Why is it called Forty Foot?

The Forty Foot was named in the mid-1800s, and people are still wondering why it was called like that. Unfortunately, nobody knows the real answer for it, as there is no evidence. 

However, there are some guesses as to why they named it Forty Foot. 

The first suggestion is that the water is 40 feet deep. This is not true, as it was measured at full tide and was about 20 feet deep.

It is known that the marine road used to be called Forty Foot Road, people suggest that this name was later given to the popular bathing spot. It is also said that it used to be called Forty Foot hole, which might have been because it was used by fishermen before it became a bathing spot.

Whatever the real answer is, we’ll never find out.

Swimming at the Forty Foot

It is usually safe to swim at the 40 Foot, you can see people every day swimming in the Irish Sea. Many people love to go to the 40 Foot to stay healthy because open water swimming is good for your body! Most of them don’t mind the cold water and go swimming there all year round. You should know that even during the summer months, the water temperature doesn’t exceed 15 °C. The people say that it is an exhilarating feeling to go swimming in the cold sea.

In general, you could say that it is safe to swim, but you should always be careful and never go there alone to swim. It is said that even at low tide, the water is deep enough to swim there. When there is high tide, you can expect the water to be 20 feet deep. So jumping in is easily possible without hurting yourself.

When you arrive at 40 Foot, there are a cove and stone steps that lead you into the Irish Sea. If you want to jump into the water, you can go onto the cliff left of the stairs, which are perfect for jumping. There is also a ladder that you can take when you are in the water to get up the cliffs again. You should wear your bathing suit already when you go to the Forty Foot, as there are no changing rooms.

Every year on Christmas day you can see many people gathering at the 40 Foot. The Dubliners go to 40 Foot for a dip, as it has been a tradition for many years by now.

Where is it & how do I get there?

The Forty Foot can be found at the southern tip of Dublin bay at Sandyford. It is close to the James Joyce Tower and next to the Sandycove beach.

If you want to take public transportation, the DART is the best way to get there. It is just a short train ride from the Dublin city centre. The closes dart station to 40 Foot is “Sandycove and Glasthule”, which is a 15-minute walk. We recommend walking to Forty Foot, if you live in or around Dun Laoghaire, as it’s just a 20-minute walk away.

It is not recommended going there by car, as there aren’t many parking possibilities. The better idea is to park somewhere around Dun Laoghaire and walk to 40 Foot. You don’t have to pay to enter 40 Foot, as it is open to the public.

James Joyce Tower

After a dip at Forty Food, you can go visit the James Joyce Tower, which is a museum now. It’s a Martello tower where James Joyce spent six nights in. In the museum, you can learn about his novel Ulysses that takes place in the tower. If you are interested in history, we recommend visiting this place after. Otherwise, there are a few restaurants close by where you can grab some food.

We definitely recommend you to go at least once to Forty Foot for a swim in the cold sea. It is an exceptional experience that everyone should go through. There must be a reason why locals swim at Forty Foot daily.

Swim Camp, Ireland

If you are interested in open water swimming but don’t know how to start, we can help you! Swim Camp offers open water swimming classes for all ages. 

The open water classes for kids are aimed at those who are safe with swimming in a pool but want to try out open water swimming. At Swim Camp, the coaching style is always positive to make the lessons enjoyable for everyone!

Don’t worry, Swim Camp also offers classes for adults! We can get you ready to feel more comfortable swimming in open water. There are also classes for adults that are triathletes and want to improve their open water swimming skills. We make sure that the participants are of similar age and skill level so that everyone can benefit the most from the lessons!

With our help, you can go to the Forty Foot and swim with confidence.

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