About the Club
We are a swimming and water polo club affiliated to Swim Ireland and the Irish Water Polo Association. We field six water polo teams at underage and senior level both in Leinster and National competitions. We are also active in sea swimming and host four open sea swims during the summer months as part of the Leinster Open Sea Committee’s calendar of events.
The Half Moon Swimming Club was founded in 1898 at the Great South Wall in Dublin. It was known then as "The Poolbeg Bathers Association". In the years that followed, the name was changed to Half Moon Swimming Club to reflect more accurately the fact that members of the club were participating in swimming competitions held at the time. What is now our clubhouse sits approximately halfway along the Great South Wall, built originally in an area known as Poolbeg, to create a shipping channel into Dublin Port. It was once a station for an army gun battery whose function was to protect the entrance to the port. The gun turret was mounted in a 'half moon' shape, thus lending to the name of the club Consequently, the clubhouse is referred to as 'the Wall', 'the Poolbeg', 'the Battery', or 'the Half Moon'
Throughout its formative years the club was active in all forms of aquatic activity including open sea swim races, Irish Swimming Championships, life saving, water polo and diving. As the years past we have focused on outdoor swimming during the summer months and water polo. The club has a long standing winter swimming tradition which continues to this day on the Great South Wall.
Members have been active in the administration and coaching side of our sports over the years. Tom Farrelly is the current President of the Irish Water Polo Association (IWPA) and Declan Finlay is a recent Treasurer. Ben Kealy, our current Chairman, and the late Fr Simpson S.J., were amongst the founding members of the I.W.P.A in 1964. Ben has also coached the Irish Senior Water Polo Team. More recently David Fitzgerald was Irish Senior Coach (1998-2005). Deceased members, Tommy Dorgan and Liam Byrne were President and Treasurer, respectively, of the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, now Swim Ireland. Mick Fitzpatrick and Paul Wynne have been active members of the Leinster Swimming Open Sea Committee. The late Bertie Collinge was an active member and Past President of the Irish Swimming Teachers Association.
History of the Great South Wall
The approach to Dublin Port had long been plagued by sandbars obstructing the entrance and also by frequent squalls and stormy conditions. To alleviate the situation, in 1716, the Ballast Office (predecessor of the Dublin Port Company) commenced the city's most ambitious civic construction to date. From the harbour at Ringsend to Poolbeg Lighthouse a sea wall of 3 miles (5 Km) in length, the world's longest at the time, was built. Initially the Great South Wall was composed of wooden piles on the outside filled in between with gravel. It soon became necessary to strengthen the walls with granite taken across Dublin Bay on barges from the quarries in Dalkey.
The work was more or less finished in 1786. Meanwhile at the Head of the Piles‚ (the end of the wall) an island of masonry was laid down on which Poolbeg Lighthouse was built. It was ready in 1767 and initially operated on candlepower (reputedly the first in the world to do so) but changed to oil in 1786. The Poolbeg lighthouse was completed two years later. It originally stood alone out at sea but a wall then built back inland from the lighthouse to connect with the existing causeway, a feat completed in 1796 under the direction of Viscount Ranelagh. It was the world's longest sea-wall at the time of its building and still remains one of the longest in Europe.
Three members have completed solo English Channel swims. Shane Moraghan, a current first team water polo member, completed this feat in 1999 in a time of 10hrs 23 mins. Pat Manning swam the Channel also in 1999 in a time of 14hrs 30 mins. Pat Nash swam the Channel in 2001 in a time of 18hrs 04 mins. Brian McLoughlin, Tony Cruise and Rachel Lee swam a double crossing of the English Channel in 2008 as part of a 6 person Dublin Fire Brigade relay team finishing in a time of 21hrs 12 mins, an Irish record.
Other notable successes include:
Harbour Swim Winners
Carol Finlay, Rachel Lee (Guinness SC), Paul Emmett , Tom Farrelly, Paul Kealy, Arthur Dunne, Tony Cruise (Terenure SC), Kevin Williamson (Terenure SC), Bob Bushell, Shane Moraghan
Liffey Swim Winners
P Rafter (1946), G Best (1952), Colm O’Brien (1963), John Mulvey (1969), David Fitzgerald (1970 Crusade ), Paul Emmett (1973), Liam Bohan (1974), Jim Mooney (1978), Dermot Hughes (1979), Mick Fitzpatrick (1980), Arthur Dunne (1981,1982), Paul Kealy (1983), Jason Stynes (1984 Kingdom), Siobhan O'Driscoll (1991). Ciaran O’Driscoll (2013)
Irish Senior Cup – Men's
1974, 1975, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999,
2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 & 2014
Irish Senior Cup – Ladies
1987, 1988, 1994, 1995, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2011,
Irish U/16 Cup 1982 - Boys