Darkness into Light Limerick 2017 – Pictured: Kayleigh Maher, Limerick Rose 2017 and Kieran O’Brien, National Events Manager for Pieta House at Darkness into Light Limerick 2017. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick.
Up to 15,000 people have taken part in Darkness into Light Limerick 2017 events across Limerick during the early hours of last Saturday morning.
Walks took place in Limerick city, Kilmallock, Newcastle West and for the first time this year, Murroe, with all of the proceeds going to suicide prevention charity Pieta House. In the city, more than 10,000 people gathered at Thomond Park from 3.30am onwards with the walk beginning at 4.15am.
The route saw participants – most of whom were wearing yellow t-shirts – walk along the quays and over both Sarsfield Bridge and Shannon Bridge before returning to Thomond Park.
The walk kicks off in the middle of the night and ends as day break to symbolise the journey from the darkness of depression to the light of wellness.
“We get unbelievable support from the people of Limerick. They always come out in their thousands to support this event. It is just overwhelming and unbelievable. It’s just getting bigger and bigger. Every year is always emotional for so many people,” said Kieran O’Brien, national events manager for Pieta House.
Now in its seventh year in Limerick, it is estimated around €130,000 was raised for Pieta House, which has a centre in Mungret. All the money raised locally will remain in the area.
Candle-light messages of “hope” were placed along the route which was marshalled by gardai and a team of volunteers including members of Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol and Limerick Marine Search and Rescue.
Men, women and children, many of whom have been directly affected by suicide, from all parts of Limerick took part in the symbolic walk with most finishing before 5.30am.
Our video of the event was shot by Limerick Person of the Year Luke Culhane and has been seen by almost 20,000 people on Facebook.
Such is the importance of Limerick to the Pieta House fundraiser, Joan Freeman, Foundaer of Pieta House always visits the launch of the Darkness into Light event in the city each year.
Although Darkness into Light will now take place in four continents across the world in different time zones, Ms Freeman has previously said she does not think the event would have been so successful were it not for the effort here in Limerick.
“I genuinely love Limerick,” she said. “There is a courage about the people of Limerick. Remember they were the first county outside Dublin not only to host a Darkness into Light event, but also to bring a service to their community. They did it for the love of their own people, their own community. They have this courage, they have a resilience. One thing which strikes me is they are not afraid to admit there are problems. Limerick embraces everything that is given to it.”
For more stories on Darkness into Light go HERE
For more stories on Pieta House go HERE
Visit the Pieta House site HERE