The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race comprises a 2,200 metre race around the circumference of Dún Laoghaire Harbour battling fellow swimmers, reaching marker buoys, avoiding any number of obstacles and taking on the might that is the Irish Sea.
The race starts at the RNLI slipway beside the East Pier. The Swimmers then swim out by the National Yacht Club of Ireland, the RNLI lifeboat and out along the Carlisle Pier. They then swim across from the Carlisle Pier to the mouth of the Harbour and the East Pier Lighthouse. This is roughly the half way point. Friends, family and spectators then can walk or run along the East Pier and follow the swimmers as they battle the last 1,000 metres home, past the anemometer, the Boyd Memorial, the Band Stand and finally the last gruelling two hundred metres from Berth No 1 back to the finish line at the RNLI slipway.
In many sea races swimmers are swimming out to sea around a course marked by marine marker buoys. Spectators on the shore have difficulty in identifying individual swimmers, and swimmers certainly cannot hear the commotion and the noise of the crowd.
The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race is different to most sea races as there is considerable interaction between the crowd and the swimmers. There is an opportunity for the crowd looking down from the East pier to clap and cheer on swimmers as they start their journey out around the Harbour. The swimmers in the water can see and they certainly can hear the crowds on the return journey along the East Pier. The louder the crowd cheer the closer a swimmer is to the front of the race. Friends and family can identify individual swimmers as they swim past from the East Pier. The only other swim which has the same interaction between swimmers and spectators is of course the Dublin City Liffey Swim.