17 July 2015
By Tom O’Sullivan
Two seasoned Irish adventurers continue to pass along the West Cork coastline this week, as they embark on the second leg of the longest endurance swim ever undertaken in Ireland.
David Burns and Maghnus Collins Smith are attempting to make history by becoming the first swimmers to ever circumnavigate the Irish coastline. They set off in early June on a whopping 1,600 km journey that will take them around the coast on a trip that they expect will take up to four months to complete.
The two adventurers departed from South Dublin and spent a month travelling down the east coast before entering Cork waters on July 1st and Cork city on July 8th – much of their efforts taking place as far as 10k off shore.
Their ‘Swim360’ effort is being sponsored by retailer ‘Costcutters’, and is being undertaken to raise funds for two chosen charities, Gorta-Self Help Africa and the RNLI. If successful in completing the audacious attempt, the two athletes will be in contention for a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest swim ever undertaken in the Atlantic Ocean.
No strangers to extreme sporting endeavours, Dublin-based David Burns and Limerick-man Maghnus Collins Smith previously completed a charity cycle to South Africa and back, have run the legendary Sahara Sand Marathon, and in 2013 undertook a 14,000 km cycle, run and raft along Asia’s ‘Silk Roads’, from Istanbul to Shanghai.
The pair have time-tabled their effort on a ‘six hours on, six hours off’ rota of swimming to resting, and are being accompanied on the trip by a small support crew of Philip Hatton and Leish McPartland, who accompany the boys on a jet ski and a small inflatable.
On the eve of departure David Burns predicted that the expedition would be their toughest yet: “It’s going to be harder than anything we have ever done before. That’s the attraction I suppose, it’s a challenge that might break us.”
“We wanted a opportunity to really test ourselves and it’s a real bonus that we can do that at home here in Ireland,” he added.
For this section of the West Cork swim the team are currently basing their operations out of Courtmacsherry. So far they have been blessed with calmest seas of the trip to date, allowing them to swim long into the night. This dedication paid off spectacularly when close to midnight off Galley Head, the boys had the experience of swimming through phosphorescent sea, with each stroke of their arms lighting up the water around them.
David and Magnhus are hoping to raise up to €100,000 for the two nominated charities with their efforts, and will be hosting a number of talks and centre-piece fundraising events during the trip.
Anyone who is interested in supporting them can check out their MyCharity page via the website of Self Help Africa at www.selfhelpafrica.org, or by visiting the page directly at: http://www.mycharity.ie/event/swim360/