Positively Newsworthy is an uplifting section of the magazine, devoted to highlighting positive happenings in the world. Enjoy the stories from our Autumn 2021 issue below!
Outdoor swimming for health and vitality
by Alison McEvoy
The searing summer heat we had brought me back in time. I hadn’t felt that baked since I was on that beach in Mexico…
Back then, I made it a point to swim in the salty sea water every day. I would rent a bike and cycle to a quieter beach down the road from my settlement of beach shacks, just as the sunset was nearing. The simple act of getting in the water brought a level of health and vitality to my mind and body that was invaluable. And it was free!
I haven’t braved the Irish waters yet. However, I see bathers in Clontarf, Dollymount, Howth and Portmarnock in their droves throughout the year. A recent UK study has recognised an “outdoor swimming renaissance” over the past few months and in a bid to understand the fervour, have gathered data from the “diehard dippers”. The charity WaterAid has even created an online gallery, “celebrating the power of water”.
The responses from people as to why they swim outdoors are enough to turn me towards Irish waters. It’s good to remember too that the sea will have stored all the summer heat, and is actually warmer towards the winter: “Swimming in outdoor waters transports you away from any problems … they literally wash away.”
“The icy, wintry cold waters put me back in my place and made me appreciate the things I did have.”
“Open water cold swimming is great to still the mind. It is relaxing and gives you a sense of freedom that makes you forget where you are.”
Pup rescued after hair-raising adventure
by Aisling Cronin
The town of Porthcawl in Wales heaved a sigh of relief this July, after a sweet springer spaniel named Ollie was rescued from an overly adventurous swim that got out of hand.
Rescuers from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) explained that Ollie decided to head out for a paddle at the Newton Point beach, ‘but failed to return to shore, instead continuing to swim out to sea’. He disappeared for three hours, worrying his guardians and ultimately sparking the RNLI rescue operation.
The mischievous pup was eventually spotted three miles away (4.8km) at the base of a cliff near Southerndown, in the Vale of Glamorgan. He was very thirsty – as most of us would be after such a daring athletic feat – but luckily, the rescue team had some water on hand for him. He was swiftly brought onto their lifeboat and conveyed back to his grateful guardians. Simon Emms from RNLI commented, ‘we were delighted to find Ollie safe and well, having been spotted and assisted by a kayaker who had been in the area. He seemed very happy to see us and enjoyed his ride on the lifeboat back to Porthcawl.’
The moment of Ollie’s rescue was documented and posted online, where it went viral. Animal lovers around the world were relieved to see that Ollie’s hair- raising adventure had ended well. He may think twice before he embarks on such an ambitious swim again!
A Football’s Voyage
Unexpected discovery delights Waterford girl
by Aisling Cronin
Earlier this year, a ten-year-old Waterford girl named Aoife Ní Niocaill was astonished to discover that her lost Gaelic football had been found … across the sea in Wales.
She and her family were playing on a beach near Dunmore East, and Aoife was dismayed to turn around and see that her ball had just been taken by the waves. She had written her name on it to distinguish it from her brother Dara’s identical one. Their father Ruairí Mac Niocall said the football was very quickly swept out to sea – they were soon unable to distinguish it from surrounding seabirds.
In an incredible turn of events, however, the football was found seven days later on a beach near the Welsh village of Llanrhystud.
Aline Denton is an environmental conservationist who regularly picks up litter from her local beach and studies marine debris. When she saw the football and realised that someone’s name had been written on it, she turned to Facebook to find the owner.
‘I just happened to see this ball and I was about to put it in the bag,’ Aline commented, ‘and I suddenly saw Aoife’s name. I knew it was an Irish name and I could see the GAA logo, so I thought this has obviously come across from Ireland.’
The post began to pick up thousands of likes and shares. Five hours later, Aoife’s father Ruairí received a message from a friend, sharing the post with him. He immediately commented, saying: ‘I’m Aoife’s dad!’
Aoife was thrilled to discover that her treasured football had not been lost after all.