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A Long Swim
A NORTHSIDE man is celebrating after becoming the oldest man ever to swim the North Channel.
Fergal Somerville, 50, from Beaumont, achieved his extraordinary feat on June 16 when he swam from Northern Ireland to Scotland in a time of 12 hours and 21 minutes.
Somerville, who even encountered a shark on his grueling journey, left Donaghadee in Co. Down at 5:10 a.m. and arrived on the Scottish coast, just north of Portpatrick, at 5:21 p.m.
It proved to be second time lucky for the plucky Northsider. On July 10, 2012, his first attempt ended due to bad weather when he was one and a half hours into the swim.
Somerville, who swam the English Channel in 2011, conceded that there were times when he felt he wasn’t going to make it.
“There were lots of times but I just wouldn’t give up,” he said.
“Every time I felt like stopping I just pushed harder. I knew the early start meant prolonged cold for a number of hours. I had practiced and swam in cold water as often as I could.”
Prior to the race, Somerville used a permanent marker to write the letter E on the palm of his hand and a C on the other – a reference to his sons Eoin and Conor. He felt this would help to drive him on when things got tough.
During the swim, Somerville said he had an “interesting experience” with a shark.
“As I battled along in the bright I saw a shark swimming about two and a half meters below me,” he said.
“The great blue elegant beast was about eight to 10 feet long. I wondered if I was going to start flailing my arms and screaming to be taken into the boat before I was devoured. But I hadn’t changed my stroke or pace.
“In a flash I decided the swim was too important and I kept going. I didn’t signal to the boat, although I looked across to see if they were aware of the shark I saw or possibly others. There was no reaction from them at all. I kept going. The shark passed under me another three times.”
As with all his swim challenges, Somerville raised money for charity and the beneficiaries this time will be the Irish Cancer Society.
GARDAI have confirmed they are investigating a complaint made about a man exposing himself on a rural Limerick road.
He allegedly “flashed” motorists between Guerin’s Cross and Kilteely village on Monday, June 24 around 7 p.m.
One local said everybody is talking about it.
“He was wearing a pair of shorts, just walking along the road and in a flash he whipped off his breeches when he saw a car coming.
“He exposed himself to a lady driving home from work. As you can imagine, she got an awful fright. It is the last thing you would expect. It is disgusting carry on,” said the local resident who didn’t wish to be named.
He says the man is believed to be in his thirties and he also exposed himself to two men who were driving a jeep.
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