Ducking and Driving | 

Man (80) to spend Christmas swimming in icy water to raise funds for counselling service

Paddy will spend his Christmas swimming

Paddy will spend his Christmas swimming

Gerry Hand

An 80 year old Donegal man is to spend Christmas day dipping in and out of a number of icy waters as part of an amazing fund raising effort for a counselling service.

Paddy Conagahan from Arranmore Island began his adventure over a week ago and has been ducking and driving ever since having braved the cold seas at a number of places along the west coast.

Elaine Grady who is orchestrating Paddy’s efforts revealed how he has even funded his attempt himself.

"One of the traditional fund raisers for a local counselling service, called Gemma’s Legacy Of Hope, is a New Years Day swim, but last year because of Covid we couldn’t do the traditional thing of going round the pubs collecting after the swim so Paddy came up with this plan and has been preparing for it ever since.

Paddy Conagahan

Paddy Conagahan

"He put his hand into his own pocket and forked out a few grand to buy a transit van and headed off down the west coast and will be away until the 29 th of February, so on Christmas Day he is going to try and beat his personal best record of seven different swims in a day.

"He’s collecting money as he goes and people are quite intrigued by what he is doing, I don’t know where he will have the Christmas dinner but knowing Paddy he’ll charm his way in somewhere.

"The kind of man he is people just naturally take to him, next year is a leap year and he’s already had a few women propose to him so even though he has left as a single man, God knows how he’ll arrive back.

"There is no great plan in place except that he will drive around the entire coastline and duck into the water wherever takes his fancy, he could turn up anywhere at any time.

"Look the man is 80 years old how many of that age would take on a challenge like this, I’d suggest not many, he’s an exceptional character."

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