Blue Pool Diving Displays

The Blue Pool was also known as the “Gentlemens’ bathing place” in the latter years of the 19th and early years of the 20thCentury. Mixed bathing was frowned upon by Victorian and Edwardian society so each sex had their own bathing place. Naturally formed, it was host to a range of spectacles to large audiences in the past. The crowds were treated to “high, fancy and long diving, somersaults, hoop and trick diving, porpoise rolling” and other exciting choreographed performances by the Blue Pool Swimming Club as well as swimming competitions and polo matches. The highest cliff dive was nearly 7 metres and boys of 11 could even claim the title of ‘most fearless’. More experienced members of the Diving Club would jump blindfolded, with tied hands and feet, or even inside a tied sack in acts of escapology.

For many years these displays were held in the evening under floodlights installed around the pool. Members of the club also became famous for endurance demonstrations, swimming to the Skerries and back or racing each other across the Harbour. After 1916, women joined the men in their daredevil exhibitions, but by the mid-twentieth century the appeal of outdoor diving displays and swimming competitions in changeable weather had faded and the Blue Pool lost its popular appeal.