By Rebecca Black, PA
A host of plucky swimmers across Ireland started their Christmas Day with a chilly dip in the sea.
The water temperature in Belfast Lough was estimated to be around seven degrees and choppy waves greeted the Brompton Belles and Beaux as they braved the dip in Bangor, Co Down.
However there was hot chocolate and mulled wine along with mince pies and shortbread to warm up afterwards.
Marie-Therese Davis-Hanson was among the swimmers who start their day with a sea dip all year round.
“It was about 7.2 degrees in there this morning,” she told the PA news agency.
Nicola Woods added: “The temperature will go down to at least four degrees in the months ahead, last March we got to about three degrees where there was frost on the sea weed and it was properly cold, painful.”
Ms Davis-Hanson said the Christmas swim was a little more special as a chance to catch up with friends over a mulled wine before Christmas dinner.
Ms Woods added: “It’s a chance to get a bit of peace and quiet before the madness of the day, taking a bit of time for yourself, getting in and really enjoying the wild weather. But it’s still lovely at the same time.”
The group have been facing an additional challenge in recent weeks after Storm Barra broke the ladder they use to get into the sea, they added that the best Christmas present they could receive would be seeing it fixed by the local council.