For nearly 100 years, the Lee Swim has continued its storied history as one of the top open water swimming events in Ireland. The race is conducted annually in July in the Lee River in Cork in southern Ireland.
The 2K course in the Lee River runs through the center of the City where crowds in excess of an estimated 5,000 gather from bridges to cheer on the swimmers. The first Lee Swim was held in 1914 with over 300 swimmers have entered in recent years.
The swim has an interesting twist: 1.7K of the course is downstream in the Lee River and the last 300 meters is conducted upstream. The course can be seen here.
A newer swim on the Irish open water swimming circuit is the Sandycove Island Challenge which has been held annually in Sandycove since 1994. The 1.8K course starts from the slipway at Sandycove, wraps around Sandycove Island and returns to the slipway. The Cork Masters Swimming Club and the Cork Lions Club organize the swim as a joint charity event held annually in September.
We had previously noted Sandycove Island as one of the great circumnavigational swims in the world. Sandycove Island is the venue of nearly 150 swims each year and is an excellent training location for those preparing for an English Channel attempt with its clean crisp water, visible sunken reefs and waving sea plants.