THE WEEK before the Christmas swim in Castleconnell, Ed Bourke said it is like their own Gathering event every year.
And how right the chairman of Lisnagry FC was.
Mr Bourke said there would be people at the World’s End who would not have seen each other all year. That was exactly the case for brother and sister, Jennifer Bourke and Jason Roche.
Jason, a project engineer in Perth, Australia, left 41 degree heat to come home to Limerick for Christmas.
It was their first time the two braved the Shannon on Christmas Day.
“He had told some of the lads in Australia he was going to do it so I got roped in,” laughed Jennifer, who was one of two ladies to take the plunge.
“We left the big crowd go, went down a slipway and jumped in. It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” said Jennifer, who lives in Castletroy View.
They actually stayed in the river for a swim.
“Jason was a lot worse then me! He wanted to jump straight out but once we were in I made him stay in. I said, ‘you’re not running out!’,” joked Jennifer, who was cheered on by her husband, Patrick and two-year-old son, Evan.
Jennifer and Jason are already thinking about taking part again next Christmas.
“If he is home again we said we will go to Castleconnell again. It is very mild this year, if we had the frost of two years ago we would think twice!
“I felt very energetic after it and certainly enjoyed the hot punch and turkey and ham later,” said Jennifer.
The event raises money for Lisnagry FC as they continue their new pitch development works.
“It’s the biggest one since we got involved with the Christmas swim. Around 24 went for a swim and hundreds came down to watch. We even ran out of hot punch, which Charco’s kindly provided.
“Some just ran in and ran out, others went for a swim. We had health and safety people in the water just in case of any mishaps but everything went off perfectly,” said Mr Bourke.
The swim after Mass has become a fixture in the local calendar, he says.
“It is part and parcel of Christmas Day and all the money raised will go back into our pitch development.
“Hopefully the weather will improve and it will be officially opened,” said Mr Bourke, who on behalf of the club wished to thank all their members and supporters in 2012.