Donegal has 1,134km of coastline—rugged and beautiful, packed with great swimming locations—and last Tuesday saw the launch of two swim events organised by Gartan Open Water Swimmers.

The Sheephaven Bay swim at Portnablagh enters its fourth year, with 120 swimmers entering the 3.5k swim last year. This year along with the 3.5k swim they are adding a 1k distance to the event.

In recent years their swim challenges have been growing in popularity with swimmers coming from all over Ireland, and even further afield.

This summer they are bringing a new challenge to their swim series—the Inch Mile—a swim from Inch Island to Rathmullan.  “We try to keep our events evolving,” said organiser Keith McClean “to keep motivating people.”

Both events are included in the prestigious Global Swim Series whichtook in 102 events in 30 countries last year, with two of the four categories being won by Irish swimmers. GSS organisers said, “We've heard from a number of different swimmers that your race was a favourite of theirs last year.”

The Sheephaven Bay Swim takes place on Saturday 6th July and is sponsored by ISS Facility Services, McIlwaine Shellfish Ltd, Charlie Robinson Estate Agents, Letterkenny Credit Union, Communications Networks, Wet ’n’ Wild and The Kitchen. It will be a great event for spectators too—so come along, there’ll be a BBQ provided by The Kitchen, and enjoy the day.

The Inch Mile is on Saturday 24th August with sponsorship from Donegal Oil, Gartan Technologies, Bonnar Group, Joe McDaidAccountant, Highland Motors, Amanda’s Kennels and Wet ’n’ Wild.

Proceeds from the events benefit two local charities, Lifeboats RNLI and Sheephaven Sub-Aqua club, both of which perform vital search and rescue work in the North-west.

Entries for both events are now open via Places are limited, so get your registration in early! If you want to find out more about open water swimming or about the events, look on Facebook for ‘Gartan Open Water Swimmers’.


Gartan Open Water Swimmers and Lifeboats RNLI at the launch at Café Davitt

(Photo credits: Dawn McClean)

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