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FREEZBRURY

This is Extreme
This is Not for Everyone.
This is Achievable.

FREEZBRURY

This is Extreme. This is Not for Everyone.
This is Achievable.

WHAT IS FREEZBRURY?

Freezbrury is a physical & psychological challenge that takes place annually, over the course of the month of February, in the oceans, lakes and rivers of Ireland and beyond.

THE CHALLENGE:​

The challenge is to get into the ocean, lake or river, everyday in February, adding a minute for everyday. Therefore, Day 1 = 1 minute, Day 2 = 2 minutes, Day 15 will be 15 minutes etc..all the way to day 29 if it’s a leap year, which will be 29 minutes.

The Rules (are simple):

  • Shorts, speedos, swimsuits or bikinis only.
  • No hats, gloves, booties, trainers, rash vests, etc.
  • You must be submerged to your upper chest for the duration.
  • You must submerge your head fully at least once.

WHAT IS FREEZBRURY?

Freezbrury is a physical & psychological challenge that takes place annually, over the course of the month of February, in the oceans, lakes and rivers of Ireland and beyond.

THE CHALLENGE:​

The challenge is to get into the ocean, lake or river, everyday in February, adding a minute for everyday. Therefore, Day 1 = 1 minute, Day 2 = 2 minutes, Day 15 will be 15 minutes etc..all the way to day 29 if it’s a leap year, which will be 29 minutes.

The Rules (are simple):

  • Shorts, speedos, swimsuits or bikinis only.
  • No hats, gloves, booties, trainers, rash vests, etc.
  • You must be submerged to your upper chest for the duration.
  • You must submerge your head fully at least once.

WHAT IS FREEZBRURY?

Freezbrury is a physical & psychological challenge that takes place annually, over the course of the month of February, in the oceans, lakes and rivers of Ireland and beyond.

THE CHALLENGE:​

The challenge is to get into the ocean, lake or river, everyday in February, adding a minute for everyday. Therefore, Day 1 = 1 minute, Day 2 = 2 minutes, Day 15 will be 15 minutes etc..all the way to day 29 if it’s a leap year, which will be 29 minutes.

The Rules (are simple):

  • Shorts, speedos, swimsuits or bikinis only.
  • No hats, gloves, booties, trainers, rash vests, etc.
  • You must be submerged to your upper chest for the duration.
  • You must submerge your head fully at least once.

VALUES NEEDED

Responsibility

Commitment

Purpose

Perseverance

Courage

VALUES NEEDED

Responsibility

Commitment

Purpose

Perseverance

Courage

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Rewards Gained

  • Nervous system regulation.
  • An expansion of your self awareness.
  • Increased connection with sensation (Body) & Perception (Mind).
  • A better ability to access the present moment
  • A better understanding of fear and how that presents itself in your mind (avoidance, excuses, justifications)
  • Heightened resilience.
  • Greater energy, clarity, perspective.
  • Awareness of the power of your breath.
  • Erasion of some disempowering beliefs.
  • A deep sense of achievement/reward.

Warning & Recommendations:

This will be hard (your challenges should be) and will need commitment. The sea temperatures are at their coldest on average in February in Ireland, ranging from 6.5c down to 5c, therefore why I chose this month for the challenge. The cold is merciless on a weak mind and will teach you a lot about how your mind works, if you witness and listen then put in some honest reflection post dips. Therefore I encourage anyone up for the challenge to get a journal and write about their experiences daily.
Damian Browne

Genesis

Over a hot cup of tea, after a dip in the local Salthill waters, Damian and his good friend, Johnny O’Connor first muted the idea of a winter seabathing challenge. Two long time seabathers and advocates for the power of the cold ocean waters; they wondered aloud if it would be possible to swim in the Atlantic everyday, in what is historically the coldest month for sea temperatures on the West coast of Ireland, adding a minute each day. One of them (it’s not remembered who) suggested it could be called Freezbrury.

In 2019, Damian finally took the plunge (excuse the pun) and summoned the courage to commit to the challenge. Two days before February 1st, he went public with the challenge and threw down the gauntlet to his social media audience. 16 people virtually committed to joining him in attempting Freezbrury and the rest is history.

Evolution

Through the power of social media, pockets of Freezbrury participants started to pop up all over the country as the word spread. From West Cork to the 40th Foot to the rivers & lakes of Donegal; people became aware, engaged and committed to the challenge. However two communities of people stood out above the rest; Kilkenny and Renvyle, Connemara.
Led by Neil Gunning in Kilkenny and Fiachra Coyne, Diego Diamond and Derek Heanue in Renvyle, these two mini communities of Freezbrury, embraced the challenge as their own, connected and expanded their local Freezbrury tribes and crucially, engaged and supported charities Teac Tom and Pieta House.

Evolution

Through the power of social media, pockets of Freezbrury participants started to pop up all over the country as the word spread. From West Cork to the 40th Foot to the rivers & lakes of Donegal; people became aware, engaged and committed to the challenge. However two communities of people stood out above the rest; Kilkenny and Renvyle, Connemara.
Led by Neil Gunning in Kilkenny and Fiachra Coyne, Diego Diamond and Derek Heanue in Renvyle, these two mini communities of Freezbrury, embraced the challenge as their own, connected and expanded their local Freezbrury tribes and crucially, engaged and supported charities Teac Tom and Pieta House.
Neil Gunning
Neil Gunning @rebuildneilpt
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Freezbrury changed the lives of the many people who got involved. Individually - it provided a daily self-discipline of stepping into a physically painful environment initially, allowing the mind to become the only outlet for relief and ultimately providing the reward of accomplishment when warmed up afterwards. As a community of people gathering together it formed bonds, strangers became lifelong friends, the encouragement and support, the banter and the laughing, was intrinsic in Freezbrury.”
Neil Gunning
Neil Gunning @rebuildneilpt
Read More
Freezbrury changed the lives of the many people who got involved. Individually - it provided a daily self-discipline of stepping into a physically painful environment initially, allowing the mind to become the only outlet for relief and ultimately providing the reward of accomplishment when warmed up afterwards. As a community of people gathering together it formed bonds, strangers became lifelong friends, the encouragement and support, the banter and the laughing, was intrinsic in Freezbrury.”
Fiachra Coyne
Fiachra Coyne@fkc90
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“Characteristics needed COURAGE” Damian’s caption on instagram, 30th January 2019. The challenge, an extra minute in a body of water for each day of February. Naturally, I thought this wouldn’t be too hard at all. I lived by the sea, I swam most days… rarely more than 5minutes though. Sure what would the extra minutes mean. I invited some of my friends to tag along with me.
Day one, sun was out, Maoil Reidh was capped with snow, 1 minute in the water was too easy. Day 2, meh this isn’t too bad. Day 3, hailstones, biting wind, 3 minutes felt like 3 hours. Fuck this is gonna be a struggle. But we carried on. A small community began to form and something incredible happened. Friendships grew. February 2019 was fast becoming one of the most favourite experiences of my life. Through Freezbrury I met so many like minded individuals, all on a similar journey of self discovery, determination and a mindset of being able to conquer or get over anything. You’d find yourself opening up to a stranger like never before, the cold had a way of unraveling my layers and the layers of those around me. It was about enduring, it was about surviving and Freezbrury was a therapy.
Don’t get me wrong, some of those days in the water were brutal. So many times you would just want to give up, get the fuck out, grab a hot shower, a bowl of soup and go home. And no doubt that is exactly what I would have done had there not been such an amazing group of people all focused on the same goal… staying in the water for 1 minute longer than yesterday.
I loved every minute of it. Thank you Damian, Thank you Freezbrury.
Freezbrury
Fiachra Coyne
Fiachra Coyne@fkc90
Read More
“Characteristics needed COURAGE” Damian’s caption on instagram, 30th January 2019. The challenge, an extra minute in a body of water for each day of February. Naturally, I thought this wouldn’t be too hard at all. I lived by the sea, I swam most days… rarely more than 5minutes though. Sure what would the extra minutes mean. I invited some of my friends to tag along with me.
Day one, sun was out, Maoil Reidh was capped with snow, 1 minute in the water was too easy. Day 2, meh this isn’t too bad. Day 3, hailstones, biting wind, 3 minutes felt like 3 hours. Fuck this is gonna be a struggle. But we carried on. A small community began to form and something incredible happened. Friendships grew. February 2019 was fast becoming one of the most favourite experiences of my life. Through Freezbrury I met so many like minded individuals, all on a similar journey of self discovery, determination and a mindset of being able to conquer or get over anything. You’d find yourself opening up to a stranger like never before, the cold had a way of unraveling my layers and the layers of those around me. It was about enduring, it was about surviving and Freezbrury was a therapy.
Don’t get me wrong, some of those days in the water were brutal. So many times you would just want to give up, get the fuck out, grab a hot shower, a bowl of soup and go home. And no doubt that is exactly what I would have done had there not been such an amazing group of people all focused on the same goal… staying in the water for 1 minute longer than yesterday.
I loved every minute of it. Thank you Damian, Thank you Freezbrury.

Impact

Today, 4 years later, Freezbrury has been used to raise hundreds of thousands of euros for selected charities. Fiachra and Diego continue to drive the direct Freezbrury fundraising online for Galway Samaritans and Pieta House but the challenge has been picked up by individuals all over Ireland as well as countries like the UK, America, Germany and Sweden to name a few who have combined their Freezbrury challenge with fundraising for a charity close to their heart.

As important as that fundraising is, the biggest impact Freezbrury has had is on the individual.

Robbie Berry
Robbie Berry @robbie_berry_photography
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That 1st year Damian started the challenge Neil convinced me to do it. I just said I'd go one of the days throughout the month. If memory serves me it was the 22nd of feb I decided to take the plunge, an icy 22 mins.. but since then I've kept it up every year have gained a massive mental strength and confidence I never had, come to terms with my body image and love me for me. I was so ashamed to be even seen without a shirt on. I've been making steady progress in that regard and the weight is on the way down.. Plain and simple Freezbrury changed my life for the better. I didn't know it then but I do now, cold water has set me free. I continue to try to learn from each day I take to water and reinforce the mind to be stronger each day.
Searlait Doyle
Searlait Doyle@sha_doyle
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Simply put, Freezbrury changed my life! On a basic level it introduced me to great people, who have become friends and it reintroduced me to the water which I love.

But on a deeper, and much more meaningful level, it awakened in me a desire to challenge myself and gave me a deeper sense of self-belief. I CAN do what I put my mind to. I am capable. I have the ability to take on challenges and overcome them. Every extra minute of Freezbrury confirmed that for me. 3 Freezbrury’s later, I’m still getting into cold water, still facing challenges, persisting through them and living a life I’m proud of.
Robbie Berry
Robbie Berry @robbie_berry_photography
Read More
That 1st year Damian started the challenge Neil convinced me to do it. I just said I'd go one of the days throughout the month. If memory serves me it was the 22nd of feb I decided to take the plunge, an icy 22 mins.. but since then I've kept it up every year have gained a massive mental strength and confidence I never had, come to terms with my body image and love me for me. I was so ashamed to be even seen without a shirt on. I've been making steady progress in that regard and the weight is on the way down.. Plain and simple Freezbrury changed my life for the better. I didn't know it then but I do now, cold water has set me free. I continue to try to learn from each day I take to water and reinforce the mind to be stronger each day.
Searlait Doyle
Searlait Doyle@sha_doyle
Read More
Simply put, Freezbrury changed my life! On a basic level it introduced me to great people, who have become friends and it reintroduced me to the water which I love.

But on a deeper, and much more meaningful level, it awakened in me a desire to challenge myself and gave me a deeper sense of self-belief. I CAN do what I put my mind to. I am capable. I have the ability to take on challenges and overcome them. Every extra minute of Freezbrury confirmed that for me. 3 Freezbrury’s later, I’m still getting into cold water, still facing challenges, persisting through them and living a life I’m proud of.
Ian Neary
Ian Neary@ianneary1
Read More
Freezbrury challenge has been accomplished & conquered!
Damian Browne came up with the genius idea that for each day in the month of February you have to spend an extra minute in the sea. In total we spent 6 hours 46 mins in the Irish Sea.
Like anything it was tough at first, on day 4 I was a text message away from jacking it in, I wanted to quit, but I didn't, I persevered, and by day 7 I fell in love with the process, it became a form of meditation for me & the time would pass in the blink of an eye.
Some days I dreaded going, hated the idea, wasn't feeling it, didn't want to be there, but that's a bit like life really! Some days you're up, some you're down but you MUST get on with it.
Friends and family think we're mad, & most will give you their "valid opinion", it's way too cold, you're going to catch a cold ,it's not safe, you will get hypothermia after being in for that long, you do know you will get pneumonia??
Again just like life everyone will have their say on the matter.
But here we are healthier ,happier & psychologically stronger. And all we simply did was step out of our comfort zone. Modern society is built around extravagant comfort, warm beds,warm homes, warm cars, warm jobs. Factor in takeaways,new phones,latest gadgets, social media, Netflix, living for the weekend, it's a recipe for disaster. Then we wonder why we are becoming a generation of miserable, lonely, confused, depressed ,suicidal individuals. We've become too comfortable with life & all its easy pleasures.
The cure for this is simple. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE ..seek discomfort, whatever that may be to you go & do it, from the extreme to the simple; go for a walk, join a gym, get involved with a sports club, volunteer in something your interest in, go to the library, anything! This has been an eye opening experience & one I'm proud to have completed. We've all come away with a clean bill of health.2 of the lads can't even swim so by modern thinking they shouldn't even be bothered of getting in the water because it's too dangerous! When in fact what's more dangerous is sitting at home in your comfort zone. So get out, push yourself, experience life, you can always go back to your boring self tomorrow.
Ian Neary
Ian Neary@ianneary1
Read More
Freezbrury challenge has been accomplished & conquered!
Damian Browne came up with the genius idea that for each day in the month of February you have to spend an extra minute in the sea. In total we spent 6 hours 46 mins in the Irish Sea.
Like anything it was tough at first, on day 4 I was a text message away from jacking it in, I wanted to quit, but I didn't, I persevered, and by day 7 I fell in love with the process, it became a form of meditation for me & the time would pass in the blink of an eye.
Some days I dreaded going, hated the idea, wasn't feeling it, didn't want to be there, but that's a bit like life really! Some days you're up, some you're down but you MUST get on with it.
Friends and family think we're mad, & most will give you their "valid opinion", it's way too cold, you're going to catch a cold ,it's not safe, you will get hypothermia after being in for that long, you do know you will get pneumonia??
Again just like life everyone will have their say on the matter.
But here we are healthier ,happier & psychologically stronger. And all we simply did was step out of our comfort zone. Modern society is built around extravagant comfort, warm beds,warm homes, warm cars, warm jobs. Factor in takeaways,new phones,latest gadgets, social media, Netflix, living for the weekend, it's a recipe for disaster. Then we wonder why we are becoming a generation of miserable, lonely, confused, depressed ,suicidal individuals. We've become too comfortable with life & all its easy pleasures.
The cure for this is simple. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE ..seek discomfort, whatever that may be to you go & do it, from the extreme to the simple; go for a walk, join a gym, get involved with a sports club, volunteer in something your interest in, go to the library, anything! This has been an eye opening experience & one I'm proud to have completed. We've all come away with a clean bill of health.2 of the lads can't even swim so by modern thinking they shouldn't even be bothered of getting in the water because it's too dangerous! When in fact what's more dangerous is sitting at home in your comfort zone. So get out, push yourself, experience life, you can always go back to your boring self tomorrow.

Press

I LOVE LIMERICK - FEBRUARY 17TH, 2021
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DUBLINLIVE - FEB 15TH, 2021
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ITV- FEB 26TH, 2021
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KILKENNY PEOPLE - FEB, 2021
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THE NATIONALIST - FEB 18th, 2022
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GALWAY PULSE - FEB 20TH, 2021
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WESTMEATH - FEB 20TH, 2021
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LAOISTODAY.IE - FEB 18TH, 2022
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