In Pursuit of the Poultry Prize

Caroline Lyons

Caroline Lyons

Every month we invite our readers to pitch us articles on a theme revealed in our regular newsletter. Find out what our next theme is by subscribing to our newsletter below. This month we invited to you to talk ‘Turkey’ and Caroline Lyons shared just how far she will go for turkey!

This is the time of year when we are all cosy indoors with the fire blazing and our favourite Christmas tunes playing, as we wrap presents and tuck into the mince pies and prosecco. So why, you might ask, would anyone consider freezing off their giblets to go for a dip in the Atlantic ocean every weekend?

That’s exactly what I’ve been doing since taking part in the Turkey Series, a weekly festive swim organised in the village of Fenit, in County Kerry, Ireland, to encourage the local community to take a winter dip and enter a raffle with the chance to win, among other things, a Christmas Turkey!

Caroline in her wild swimming gear

Now, this might seem a ‘poultry’ prize for wearing just your togs into the sea in December. Surely winning your own body weight in panettone, or annual membership to Funny Women’s Patreon would be a better incentive? This is true but taking part in the Turkey Series is not about winning, but pushing myself to try something new. 

I’ve never done any kind of outdoor swimming before and when I moved to Ireland from London in the summer, I would not dip my toe into the water without a full-body wetsuit and was convinced everyone else must have had a shot of whisky before they took on the waves. It was only when I joined an exercise class on the beach and took a dip in the sea afterwards, I realised I got a great buzz from it. The only way to describe it is like a reset button –  however bad I felt going into the water, I always felt so much better coming out. 

There are many potential health benefits from cold water swimming such as reducing stress, boosting your immune system, improving circulation and burning calories – all perfect for this time of year! It can even improve libido and while it is hard to imagine ever feeling sexy again after emerging from the sea as red as a lobster in a latex swim hat, it does work ( and let’s just say my other half is happier I took up winter swimming than Irish dancing). I’m also hoping a regular freeze might shrink my turkey neck!

Winter swimming has something in common with comedy too. What could be more terrifying and thrilling than bracing the cold temperatures of the wild Atlantic? Try standing up in front of a bunch of strangers to make them laugh. The thing is, once you’re in the water, just like once you’re on stage, you realise you’re ok and you get a bit braver each time. You also get strangely addicted to the tingling from the cold, like you do hearing the laughter from the audience. 

There has been great camaraderie in doing the Turkey Series, as we all brave the cold waters together and come out slightly giddy, happy for each other that we’ve done it and achieved something. The only real negative I can think of is having to shave my legs in December!

Disclaimer – Before considering winter swimming, follow local safety guidance and consult your doctor if you have any health considerations beforehand.

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Yes – we require all films to be 6 minutes or under, to be entirely original dialogue, to not feature brand logos and most importantly, to only use music with the written consent of the performer and/or publisher either personally or via the PRS system https://www.prsformusic.com/ .

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