baltimore-community-leisure-centre-icon-200px‘We have an opportunity to develop a centre of excellence for long-distance swimming because we have the sea, Lough Hyne, and now the potential to acquire the leisure centre in Baltimore,’ according to Steve Redmond, who is the only long-distance swimmer in the world to have completed the 7 Oceans challenge.

Steve was speaking in Baltimore on Monday following the announcement that the leisure centre is now being offered to the community for a price of €110,000. The offer came about after a rather long and protracted process following the announcement, five years ago, that the hotel and leisure centre was for sale.

Members of a local community group, the Baltimore Community Leisure Centre Committee, clearly had no interest in purchasing the hotel. They did, however, have a very clear and urgent need to acquire the leisure centre, which has played such a pivotal role – not just in terms of providing an important community facility, but also as a training ground for long-distance swimmers, such as Steve Redmond, John Kearney, Sean Murray, Stephen Black, and other adventurers.

Jim O’Donnell, who is a member of the committee, said: ‘We have now been told that we can purchase the leisure centre as a separate entity but it is gun to head time. We have to find the money to pay for the leisure or run the risk of losing it forever.’

Jim said: ‘We are, of course, optimistic that with the goodwill of the community in Baltimore and Skibbereen we will manage to save this amenity – not just for our use but for generations to come.

‘Many of our children learned to swim in this pool and we are determined to retain it for this purpose, as well as providing support and encouragement to the huge number of people who are now engaged in wild swimming and adventure challenges, such as the Channel Crossing.’

The committee of 12 – comprising of Jim O’Donnell, John Kearney, Steve Redmond, Stephen Black, Annette Cadogan, Michael Walsh, Sheila O’Sullivan, Sandra Carthy, Carol Noonan, Sekeeta Crowley, Christy Thornhill and Michael Octigan – are launching their fundraising drive this weekend, in a modest way, with a Hallowe’en coffee morning, cake and home produce sale from 10.30am until 12.30pm on Sunday, October 27th in the community hall in Baltimore.

Jim said: ‘Every journey starts with a single step, but I believe this ambitious project will be realised because it comes with a huge level of goodwill, as well as the potential to make West Cork the wild swimming centre for Ireland.’

Anyone who would like to get involved in this feel-good community initiative can contact the leisure centre on 028 20622 or via email at: 


This article was originally published in the Southern Star on October 26th, 2013.

Author: Jackie Keogh Link: Click Here