Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race

For up-to-date race information, entry fees and registration click here.

The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race along with the Dublin City Liffey Swim are rightly considered the two most prestigious swimming races on the Leinster Open Sea Calendar. For swimmers winning the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race is akin to winning an All Ireland Final. Sea swimmers aim to win one of the big two races in their swimming career.

The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race caters for swimmers as young as 14 years of age up to senior citizens. There are also two children’s races of 100 metres and 200 metres for children 13 years of age and younger which are held before the men’s race.

As the Dún Laoghaire Harbour race is a handicapped race every swimmer has a chance of winning so you do not have to be a former Olympian to either compete or win.


The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race was first run in 1931 and it has run every year since, making it the second oldest continuous race in Ireland. There were however swimming races run in Dún Laoghaire Harbour before 1931. See YouTube clip of a swimming race in Dún Laoghaire Harbour in 1926:

Irish Olympians Donnacha O’Dea, Kevin Williamson and David Cummins have won the men’s race. English Channel Swimmers Anne McAdam and Lisa Howley have won the ladies’ race.

Race Course

The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race comprises a 2,200 metre race around the circumference of Dún Laoghaire Harbour battling fellow swimmers, reaching marker buoys, avoiding any number of obstacles and taking on the might that is the Irish Sea.

The race starts at the RNLI slipway beside the East Pier. The Swimmers then swim out by the National Yacht Club of Ireland, the RNLI lifeboat and out along the Carlisle Pier. They then swim across from the Carlisle Pier to the mouth of the Harbour and the East Pier Lighthouse. This is roughly the half way point. Friends, family and spectators then can walk or run along the East Pier and follow the swimmers as they battle the last 1,000 metres home, past the anemometer, the Boyd Memorial, the Band Stand and finally the last gruelling two hundred metres from Berth No 1 back to the finish line at the RNLI slipway.

In many sea races swimmers are swimming out to sea around a course marked by marine marker buoys. Spectators on the shore have difficulty in identifying individual swimmers, and swimmers certainly cannot hear the commotion and the noise of the crowd.

The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race is different to most sea races as there is considerable interaction between the crowd and the swimmers. There is an opportunity for the crowd looking down from the East pier to clap and cheer on swimmers as they start their journey out around the Harbour. The swimmers in the water can see and they certainly can hear the crowds on the return journey along the East Pier. The louder the crowd cheer the closer a swimmer is to the front of the race. Friends and family can identify individual swimmers as they swim past from the East Pier. The only other swim which has the same interaction between swimmers and spectators is of course the Dublin City Liffey Swim.

Past Winners

Men Ladies
Year Name Club Name Club
1931 J.P. Wallace Dublin University
1932 Stanley J. Scully Sandycove
1933 Diarmuid Murphy Dublin University
1934 Diarmuid Murphy Dublin University
1935 Diarmuid Murphy Dublin University
1936 Leo O’Brien Sandycove
1937 R.N. Case Clontarf
1938 R.N. Case Clontarf
1939 R.N. Case Clontarf
1940 W.H.H. Deane Sandycove
1941 W.H.H. Deane Sandycove
1942 W. Hashmore Dublin University
1943 W. Hashmore Dublin University
1944 R.N. Case Clontarf
1945 D. Corbett Bray Cove
1946 R.N. Case Clontarf
1947 W.P. Hawkins Dublin
1948 D. Corbett Bray Cove
1949 W.P. Hawkins Dublin
1950 J. Cassidy Clontarf
1951 J.C. Hogan Pembroke
1952 J. Cassidy Clontarf
1953 R.J. Wilson Sandycove
1954 G.F. Callanan Pembroke
1955 R.J. Wilson Sandycove
1956 G.F. Callanan Pembroke
1957 J. O’Connor Sandycove
1958 J. O’Connor Sandycove
1959 J. O’Connor Sandycove
1960 R. O’Connor Colmcille
1961 R. O’Connor Colmcille
1962 N. Smith Dublin
1963 D. O’Dea Colmcille
1964 D. Carney Colmcille
1965 Liam Mortimer North Dublin
1966 Liam Mortimer North Dublin
1967 D. O’Dea Colmcille
1968 F. O’Dwyer Guinness
1969 Francis White Guinness
1970 Francis White Guinness Brenda McGrory Cormorant
1971 Peter McKenna Nomad Terry Mason Otter
1972 Francis White Guinness Brenda McGrory Cormorant
1973 T.P. Farrelly Half Moon Bernadette Byrne Guinness
1975 J. Browne North Dublin Barbara Conway Glenalbyn
1976 Patrick Quinlan Guinness Sarah O’Doherty Glenalbyn
1977 Pat Mullally Templeogue College Michelle Garvey Glenalbyn
1978 David Cummins Cormorant Deirdre Harkness Dublin
1979 Kevin Williamson Terenure Cliodna Johnston Cormorant
1980 Michael McCann Terenure Anne Cummins Cormorant
1981 Peter Sinclair Terenure Audrey Martin Dundrum
1982 Nicholas L. O’Meara Clontarf Linda Howard Dundrum
1983 Robert O’Leary Clontarf Jacqueline Whelan Dublin
1984 Ray Kearney Terenure Mairead Doran Dublin
1985 Michael A.F. O’Meara Clontarf Hilda Grace Dundrum
1986 Larry Mooney Metro Helen Fitzgerald Half Moon
1987 Paul Kealy Half Moon Tara Gerrard Dundrum
1988 Alan Dwyer Guinness Sarah Bolger Trojan
1989 Bert O’Brien Sandycove Louise Keogh Glenalbyn
1990 Paul Emmett & Gareth Clinton Half Moon Sandra Trappe Dublin
1991 Frank Carroll & David Turner Sandycove & St. Vincents Sandra Trappe Dublin
1992 Shane Moraghan Glenalbyn Marianne Comer Otter
1993 Arthur Dunne Half Moon Jennifer Nestor Trojan
1994 Tony Cruise Terenure College Maeve Chaney Polar Bears
1995 Bob Bushell Half Moon Claire O’Dwyer Dublin
1996 Matthew Hickmott Glenalbyn Heidi Kinsela Glenalbyn
1997 Diarmuid O’Brien ESB Susanne Kelly Otter
1998 Matty Waine Guinness Clare McDonough Terenure
1999 Jerry Kiersey Viking Rachael Lee Guinness
2000 Tony O’Brien Millennium Masters Karen Molloy Claremorris
2001 Brian O’Dwyer Guinness Carol Finlay Half Moon
2002 Greg O’Dwyer Guinness Tracey Telfort Phoenix
2003 John Fortune Phoenix Helena Butterfield Glenalbyn
2004 Gerard Carty Aquatec Niamh Dunne Dublin
2005 David Cherry Garda Siobhan O’Brien NAC Masters
2006 Tadhg Murphy St. Vincents Linda Clarke Glenalbyn
2007 Lorcan Shelley Terenure College Annmarie Kendrick Phoenix
2008 Rene Kral Aquatec Julie Roche Wicklow
2009 David Farrell Sandycove Anne McAdam Phoenix
2010 Shane Drumm Aer Lingus Lisa Howley Glenalbyn
2011 Patrick Corkery NAC Masters Lucy Gaynor Glenalbyn SC
2012 Aidan Hickey Phoenix Afric Creedon NAC Masters
2013 Brian Nolan Clontarf Rachel Galvin Coolmine SC
2014 Gabriel Byrne Templeogue Lilly O’Brien Corribh
2015 Brian McLoughlin (“Jap”) Half Moon Roisin Hennessy Wicklow SC
2016 Josh Reilly Sandycove Yvonne McCarthy Eastern Bay
2017 Frank Chatham North Dublin Sarah Browne Glenalbyn

Dún Laoghaire

Dún Laoghaire has a long association with sea swimming as Dún Laoghaire Harbour is beside the Forty Foot which is the home of all year round sea swimming.

The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company are planning to build an urban beach or Badeschiff facility in the harbour which will further enhance the harbour as a sea swimming location.