Places to Go

Fighting jet lag at Forty Foot

The morning air is crisp and salty and the sea south of Dublin is bright and still. At Forty Foot, waves surge up over the stone steps, icy against your bare feet. There’s only one thing to do, the locals say.

“Just start.”

Suffering from jet lag after a marathon series of flights into Dublin? This is the way to beat it — a quick, cold plunge at the neighborhood swimming spot.

Forty Foot, frequented by generations of swimmers and immortalized in James Joyce’s Ulysses, is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Dublin away from the city center.

Stay in a room south of the city, near Sandycove or Dun Laoghaire. Early on the first morning, pull your clothes on over your swimsuit and pack a towel and follow the coastal path to Forty Foot, near the James Joyce Tower and Museum. At dawn, you’ll share the swimming spot with a handful of hardy locals. They swap greetings and plunge into the sea. Follow them.

Go all the way in. Watch the sunrise light up the coastline and feel your heart beat faster between the cold ocean waves. Don’t stay in for too long, one woman says. Too much cold can hurt your kidneys, she says. Swim out then swim back.

When the cold is too much, scramble up the ladder and the rocks and grasp for your towel. Dry off and warm up. The jet lag may catch up tomorrow, but the adrenaline rush will keep you going for now.

Find a full Irish breakfast. Welcome to Dublin.


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