Supporting Local News


Olympic rower braves the cold for COPE swim

One of Galway’s two Olympic medal winners will be back in the water this Christmas Day – but this time without her boat.

Instead Moycullen’s Fiona Murtagh will be part of a much bigger crew; one of hundreds of Galwegians to ‘brave the cold’ for COPE Galway’s Annual Christmas Swim.

“Since 2011, I’ve been taking part in the COPE Galway Christmas swim with the crew I rowed with as a Junior in Galway Rowing Club,” she said this week, speaking from her winter training camp in Sabaudia, Italy.

“As life becomes so busy, and friends, including myself now, reside outside of Galway, we may not see each other from one Christmas to the next. Getting to see everyone at the swim on Christmas Day has become a tradition I look forward to each year,” she added.

For over 30 years, thousands of swimmers have made it their Christmas tradition to wear the COPE Galway t-shirt and ‘brave the cold’ in the bracing Galway waters to raise awareness and funds for the local charity.

Fiona Murtagh recalls the original foursome back in 2011 – her junior rowing coach Rory O’Brien and his daughter Meabh would collect Fiona and fellow teammate Ruth Cummins at around 10am Christmas Day.

“We’d drive to Blackrock for the swim, then stop for coffee on the way home. As the years progressed, other teammates would either join us for the swim or come meet us at Blackrock to say hello. It became a lovely opportunity to meet friends on Christmas Day, while supporting such a wonderful organisation as COPE Galway,” she said.

The COPE Galway Christmas Swim raises essential funds that have a direct and positive impact on the lives of vulnerable families and individuals in Galway. Last year, COPE Galway supported 2,885 people in Galway city and county across their homeless, domestic abuse and senior support services.

You can register online for the COPE Galway Christmas Swim to “swim where you are” any time between December 20 and 26, or to attend a “wave” at the Blackrock event on Christmas Day between 9am and 1pm. To register and for further information and safety tips please visit  or phone 091 778750.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up