Around 200 Irish women gathered together at Lissadell beach in County Sligo on Monday to take a “dip in the nip” for charity.
The women, aged between 17 and 70 and heavily guarded by Irish police to keep away any “peeping Toms,” skinny dipped in the North Atlantic in order to raise funds for Action Breast Cancer, and in doing so almost broke a world record.
They may not have made it to the record books, but the daring, charitable women raised at least €50,000 ($69,000) for the organization.
Organizer Maire Garvey decided to organize the event after a psychic told her she could picture her swimming naked in an ocean with hundreds of women.
From that premonition, Garvey had the “mad” idea to do just that in order to raise money for breast cancer.
Garvey told the BBC that it was an “exhilarating” experience for the women involved, who came from all over Ireland, North and South.
“There was great excitement while we were waiting to go into the water, and it gave everyone an opportunity to bond.
“There was lots of craic and banter and a lot of laughter, and then off we went.
“We had a very low tide so there was a little bit of a trek to get out to the water, but once we were in there it was really fabulous.
“Women just started clapping spontaneously, and the next thing we knew, we were in a circle and there was just a great feeling of solidarity and camaraderie and a great sense of achievement as well,” she said.
The Irish women’s achievement and the large amount of money they raised for charity is more important to them than getting their names in the Guinness Book of World Records, which they narrowly missed out on.
“I'm kind of glad we didn't have enough to break the record, because after the event I realized we would have been more focused on meeting the technical requirements,” said Garvey.
“We had brought along a lot of stewards for the record attempt, in case we got the numbers, but the stewards ended up coming into the dip as well so they would have been absolutely no use whatsoever if I had been trying to get a headcount.
“It was just as well it didn't happen, particularly as this was the first one, so we can look at doing this again next year.
“It would have taken away from the spontaneity and the fun.”
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