In what can only be described as winter storms and uncomfortable weather conditions the River Moy Swim, one of Irelands oldest river swims, dating back to the 1950’s went off swimmingly, as over 130 participants took the river on Saturday afternoon, 25th June.
Indeed, the organisers of the River Moy Swim, had hoped for some rain during the week, in the run up to the swim as the tide was low and lack of water could have resulted in the swim being postponed, harking back to a similar situation in 2018.
Happily, the estuary obliged and with over 130 swimmers partaking in a two-part thrilling race and swim kids race. The first leg spanning 600m route, swimmers entered the river at the cathedral beat section, overlooked by St Muredachs Cathedral, swimming to Bachelor’s Walk.
The second race was a 2.5km swim between the Cathedral Beat and racing onto the Quay Village jetty.
The swimmers were guided down the iconic river by members of the local River Moy Search and Rescue team, Grainne Uaile Sub Aqua Search & Recovery Unit and Moy Canoe Club, who kindly volunteered their time and expertise to support the event, with the local Ballina Order of Malta on standby as always during festival events.
The race was won by swimmer Shane Dunne who completed the 2.5km swim in an impressive 0:24:31 and was presented with the Moylett Memorial Cup, he was swiftly followed by Conor Mc Aloon and Greg Baxter in second and third places respectively. The first lady home was Nele Walz, with a time of 0:29:43, winning the Moy Beach Cup, a cup dating back to the original competition of the 1950’s followed by Sheila Ryan and Fionn Downes in second and third place.
Winners of the 600m swim included first prize place Ferdia Hayes who was also the fastest teenager on the day and was presented with the Bishop O’Boyle Cup, second place and fastest teen girl Gráinne Hayes was presented with the Anna O’Connor Memorial Trophy and third place Maeve Bourke.
Mary Dunne, past president of Swim Ireland said: “I was delighted to support the return of the River Moy Swim in 2018. The swim has gone from strength to strength since its revival in 2018, given its absence of nearly 30 years, when it first took place in 1953. We were delighted to be able to continue hosting the swim in 2020 and 2021 given the global pandemic, with many using the event as a lock down challenge. We were especially happy to host the swim alongside the Ballina Salmon Festival launch party and while the sun didn’t shine on the day, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the swim participants, visitors, and organisers. Congrats to all as the show went on.”
The River Moy Swim was generously supported by main sponsor Aidan Crean at Crean Kitchens, and governing body Swim Ireland, with the support of local organisations Mayo Sports Partnership, Ballina Salmon Festival and Ballina Chamber of Commerce, providing invaluable support each year.
Mary and organisers of the swim and festival committee extended their thanks to Intersport Elverys, The Junction Restaurant, Dillons Bar & Restaurant, The Loft Bar & B&B, Doherty’s Daybreak, Coleman Electronics, Gerry Kenny Sports, Hi Five Clothing and Call of the Wild. With a special thanks to both Cllr Annie May Reape and Bishop John Fleming for their donation.
Ballina Salmon Festival Launch Party
And while it may have been wild and more wet out of the water than in it, organisers of the Ballina Salmon Festival launch party made the swift decision to move the party from the Tom Ruane Park to the Quay Village using the facilities of the Glasgow Kennedy Centre, to host the local live music event, medal presentation and post swim refreshments.
Emma Donoghue, Ballina Salmon Festival PRO said:
“Despite the weather we still managed to have a fantastic Ballina Salmon Festival Launch Party and the River Moy Swim. Thank you to everyone who helped relocate the event, it was trojan work but well worth it! Thank you to Moy Valley Resources IRD for letting us use the beautiful Kennedy Glasgow House at last minute notice, Craoibhín Ballina for the use if their centre and bus, Ballina Lions Clun for the use of their bus also. Thanks you to the Order of Malta for providing first aid cover, Grainne Uaile Sub Aqua Club and Search & Recovery Unit and River Moy Search and Rescue and Moy Canoe Club for their safety cover during the swim, and thank you to Ballina Community Clean Up for preparing the area for the launch party.
Finally thank you to all the performers, AudioWorks and all the volunteers for your patience and hard work. We are so proud of the community of Ballina who came together to make the event happen.”
Picture featuring The Mick D Experience, Lady of the Moy Cara Martin, Cian Gilmartin, Bradley Brock and Memphis Shell.
Festival volunteers at the launch Party; Carmel Langan, Emma Donohue, Martin Carr, Cian Gilmartin, John Cullen, Matthew Ruane, Marian Browne, Lorraine Devlin.
Further information ontact Ballina salmon Festival Office & Ballina Tourist Office 096 72800