Seawatcher, The Fortyfoot, Sandycove
The Fortyfoot bathing place in Sandycove, Co Dublin, is named after the 40th Foot Regiment of the British army, which used to be stationed in a battery there. One of my favourite passages from Ulysses takes place at the Fortyfoot. Buck Mulligan is about to go for a swim: "A young man clinging to a spur of rock near him moved slowly frogwise his green legs in the deep jelly of the water." That's a perfect description of the water there on a calm day. Earlier, in the opening pages, the wider sea is referred to by Mulligan as "snotgreen" and "scrotumtightening."
It was certainly scrotumtightening on Sunday, with a numbed grey sky and a chilly wind, the bay full of choppy waves. Nevertheless, while I wandered around taking photographs, I saw a number of young men strip and jump into the seething, crashing waves; it really was dangerous. But people are drawn to the sea like moths to a flame, as with the onlooker in the photograph. On days like this, when the big waves thump and shudder the stones, the Fortyfoot feels (and looks) like a boat, plowing into the sea.