Almost 800 people converged (or submerged) at the Long Branch Beach this weekend for the annual Sons of Ireland Polar Plunge. The event, hosted by the city, was held on the beach behind Ocean Place Resort and Spa under the watchful eye of LB firemen and LB Ocean Rescue.
There were hundreds of spectators lined up on the boardwalk, offering their support, but certainly not ready to brave the 40 degree ocean temperature, even though it was a beautiful day considering it was the end of December. In recent years participants had to run barefoot through snow and windy, frigid temperatures to reach the water, making it a much more uncomfortable experience.
At around 1:00 in the afternoon participants threw their warm clothes in the sand and made a bee-line for the waterline, some even diving in. Most were tiptoeing trying to put off the inevitable, all doing it for a good cause. As soon as they got dressed
they headed to the Ocean Place for an after-plunge party where the brave souls were entertained by Brian Kirk and the Jirks well into late afternoon.
Locally the plunge raised money towards Shore House, an organization that offers support for adults living with a mental illness. It is a a place where members can learn new skills, develop new relationships, and explore new opportunities.