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Pat Conway of Lahinch who is about to embark on his 49th Lahinch to Liscannor swim in aid of the Burren Chernobyl Project. He is inviting donations at Photograph by John Kelly.

Liscannor Bay swim on Sunday for Burren Chernobyl Project

THE 49th annual Liscannor Bay Swim will take place this Sunday, August 1 at 1:30pm, in aid of the Burren Chernobyl Project, writes Conor Clohessy.
Event organiser, Pat Conway, raised over €10,000 for the cause in 2020 and hopes that he can continue to oversee the swim until next year, when he can pass the tradition on to his family members.
Liscannor Bay Swim originally took place in aid of a local boy who required special therapy in Budapest for a rare medical condition, and has supported various charities over the years; for the majority of those, funds have been sent to the Burren Chernobyl Project.
The Burren Chernobyl Project was established by Brother Liam O’Meara in 1993 to aid the child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion, helping families through the social, medical and economic ramifications of the disaster.
“I have great admiration for Brother Liam and for what he does out there. The swim is only a small part of it, but what he does is unreal,” Pat said.
Pat continued that when the event began running it was very disorganised, and unsafe, in comparison to now, corralled by a currach.
However, now Pat ensures that the event is accompanied by jet-skis and surfboards that maintain safety standards for the swimmers, which is all the more important now that the event is far more popular.

He added that he is very grateful to the local businesses in the community for their support, starting on his usual journey to houses and businesses this week where he knows he will get a good reception and hopefully raise some funds prior to the event.
Pat continued: “Usually it raises up to €10,000, and at this stage of my life I wouldn’t be interested in doing it for fun! I’ll be expecting upwards of 50 swimmers this year, and there will be social distancing. All of that will be taken care of.”
He admitted that it was difficult to organise the swim last year during lockdowns and because of low quality in the water but will always argue that the funds generated for the Burren Chernobyl Project through the event is vital and thus could not be disrupted.
The swim is about a mile and three quarters, but everything depends on the tide – Pat recalled that years ago he would hoping for a rough tide because he could handle it, but these days he prefers the water to be calmer.
Some of the swimmers taking part might be able to complete the swim in 40 minutes, and Pat is hoping to do so in one hour and 20 minutes, training throughout June and July to prepare for the feat.
He can be contacted at 0877562579 to arrange collection of sponsorship cards this week. Donate online here

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