Last year there were 12 or 13 swimmers for the Lighthouse swim in Moville. This year there were 24 swimmers. Next year there will be more. The guy that won it, Gerard, swam to the lighthouse and back in an astonishing 17 mins 18 secs, slightly faster than his time last year when he also won it. He is hoping to threepeat next year.

However, the biggest cheer of the day went to the swimmer who came in last along with organiser Peadar. Everyone knows that this is about taking part and achieving the goal of swimming out to the lighthouse and back again. It’s something that Moville people all think about. The lighthouse is there. Everyone has looked out at one point and wondered whether they could swim out to it and back.

Lifetime Achievement

One women came out of the water today and said “It’s the one thing I’ve wanted to do all my life, swim round the lighthouse and back. I’ve done it now and that’s it. I won’t do it again. When I was a child my uncle did it and now I’ve done it”. She said it with such pride.

She had emulated her uncle from all those years ago. Her family must have often spoken of her uncle’s achievement. How often must they have told people “Our uncle/brother/son once swam round the lighthouse”. She said it was the one thing in ger life that she wanted to achieve. And now she’s done it. She will be a legend in her family now – to go with her uncle.


She told us this while we awaited Rosina Doherty-Allan who would be last in. She was in the water more than an hour. When she finally got home a tad after the others she got the biggest cheer of the lot. She looked completely exhausted as she waded in to the shore. She hugged Peadar who swam with her and encouraged her all the way and then hugged the people on the coastguard boat. Then she came ashore to another roar.

“You did it. You made it.” someone said. She nodded her head barely able to speak and a huge smile come over her face as the realisation that she had conquered the lighthouse replaced the exhaustion as she staggered ashore. That’s what it is all about. It’s about doing it. Any time she looks out on the water and sees the lighthouse she’ll know that she did it She conquered it. I don’t know what relatives she has but people, in years to come, will say “Our sister/mother/grandmother/great-grandmother once swam to the lighthouse and back”.

It’s out there in water saying to the people of Moville and its visitors “Do you think you could do it? Do you think you could conquer me?” And today Rosina did it.

PS If anyone wants to do it next year contact Peadar McKevitt while he is still in town.