Swim distance marker buoys have been placed at intervals to create a 1350 metre circuit in the sea at Myrtleville through a Healthy Ireland Partnership project.

Cllr Seamus McGrath, deputising for County Mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan, officially launched the project this week and highlighted the importance of such initiatives which facilitate physical activity and wellbeing.

“As a coastal county, we have an enormous asset available for everyone to enjoy.  I am confident that the swim markers will encourage existing and new users to get into the water and swim, an activity that is good for mind and body,” he said.

Cllr McGrath thanked, Ian Venner, Bernard Lynch and Damian O’Neill who worked on behalf of the local swimming group, Myrtleville Swimmers, using their experience of swimming in the area to assist in the positioning of the buoys. He also acknowledged Nick Bourke and Paul O’Regan of Port of Cork, Mark Daly and Caroline Casey of Cork County Council and Priscilla Lynch, Head of Service Health & Wellbeing, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare who developed this initiative as a Healthy Ireland Partnership project.

Graham Kerr, Chairman of Cork Water Safety was also present at the launch.

Priscilla Lynch expressed delight in the effective partnership working that brought this project to completion in a very short period of time.

“Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Health & Wellbeing, connects partners, and collaborates with them to effect change, improving opportunities for safe and enjoyable physical activities. Healthy Ireland makes the healthy choice the easy choice, these swim marker buoys will encourage safer swimming among novice and experienced open water swimmers alike,” she said.

Fiona Donovan, Project Lead for the Healthy Ireland: Healthy Cities and Counties project and who developed the idea for the swim distance markers when in her role as Galway Coordinator explained:

It is so important to support people to be active and healthy”.

The aim of this project is to increase the number of people who swim in the sea while simultaneously allowing them to do so safely.

Damian O’Neill of Myrtleville swimmers commented:

“With hundreds of regular swimmers enjoying Myrtleville from dawn to dusk, these buoys are a fantastic addition to Cork Harbour.  The certainty of distance and safety support they offer will encourage many more people to have the confidence to enjoy the health benefits of sea swimming.”

Marie Watson, a distance Open Water Swimmer who swam 18km from Mizen Head to Fastnet Lighthouse in 2018 said:

“I am thrilled with the addition of the buoys and already they have made a hugely positive impact for the swimmers, old and new. The buoys will help our training and encourage and support us all to improve and swim safe and stronger.”

The Port of Cork Harbourmaster has issued a Notice to Mariners restricting Leisure craft such as jet skis in the buoyed area of Myrtleville beach.

Cork County Council’s Water Safety Officer Caroline Casey, encouraged beach users to be responsible at all times around water.

“Know your ability and take note of all safety information in advance of entering the water.  Further education around your safety in water is available on Water Safety Ireland website www.iws.ie   or on the Council’s Beachlifeguard Service Facebook page.

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