‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ in Killaloe for Special Olympics

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Taking the plunge for Special Olympics Ireland: John O'Connell, from Mountcollins, jumps into the water at the UL Activity Centre in Killaloe last Sunday, one of 50 participants who braved the elements. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Fusionshooters
OVER 50 participants braved the conditions to take a plunge for Special Olympics Ireland on Sunday.

OVER 50 participants braved the conditions to take a plunge for Special Olympics Ireland on Sunday.

The Polar Plunge took place at UL’s Activity Centre in Killaloe on Sunday as the hardy souls braved Arctic conditions and got ‘freezin’ for a reason’ to raise funds for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The annual charity plunge, which has raised approximately €5,500 for Special Olympics Munster this year, was organised by Killaloe-based garda Hilda Moloney as part of her role with the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

A number of local gardai jumped into the icy waters of Lough Derg along with Hilda, plus Special Olympics athlete Emily Hurley, from Kilmallock and Conrad McCullough, from Dysart.

Gda Moloney had said in the build up to the event that it was “a unique and fun way to raise vital funds for Special Olympics” and was “good fun” for those who took part.

“All of the money raised goes towards supporting over 2,500 athletes in the Munster region and ensuring that they continue to get access to sporting opportunities,” she explained.

A huge number of people turned out to watch over 50 people dive into the water for the event - some in fancy dress, and some in just swimming togs.

Now in its second year, the event was ramped up this year and drew inspiration from the recent Ice Bucket challenge social media craze and asks people to get ‘freezin’ for a reason’ as its slogan. Nationally it should raise €50,000 all told.

“It went really well, there was a good crowd and we are happy with 50, obviously we would have loved 500 but we are immensely thankful to those that did jump in,” said Fiona Hynes of Special Olympics Ireland.

“The overall aim is to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics and we are immensely thankful to the gardai who spearheaded the event.

“It was a cold day but there was lots of fundraising going on, so a huge thank you to those that jumped in and the supporters that came down. We were delighted with the turnout.”