Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Cold water is a great leveller, says pool boss

Ian Conroy owner of Wild Water Armagh. (Photo by Colm O'Reilly,Sunday Life 09-02-2019)
Ian Conroy owner of Wild Water Armagh. (Photo by Colm O'Reilly,Sunday Life 09-02-2019)

By John Toner

The decked outdoor pool on the western outskirts of Armagh city is a labour of love for Ian Conroy (54) who originally planned to have a pond in his backyard five years ago and now runs an outdoor ice swimming club instead.

Mr Conroy, who maintains the pool with the help of his wife and children, told Sunday Life: "We're not worried about making this a commercial enterprise.

"I didn't build this for it to be financially viable, it's something we have just done for the pleasure of it.

"I just love seeing people come along and enjoying it, being able to swim safely but also doing something that is difficult and potentially risky but we put them in a very safe and controlled environment.

"People really enjoy the company of others who are adventurous or foolhardy enough to get into the water in the winter. The water really is the most egalitarian thing; the cold water is a great leveller, it doesn't judge and I think that's part of the experience and pleasure for people.

"It's physically demanding and it hurts - I've seen grown men and women crying with the pain of it on a bad day - but the feeling you get afterwards is incredible."

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