A TIDE of orange entered Limerick on Saturday, as the annual Cycle against Suicide event arrived.
More than 500 riders braved wet and windy conditions to complete the seventh stage of the charity event, an 85 km stretch between Birr and Limerick.
Many stayed with host families on Saturday night, before setting out on their journey again on Sunday.
Founded by Bruff-born businessman Jim Breen, the Cycle Against Suicide aims to break the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland by working with schools, local communities and mental health organisations.
Participants arrived to cheers at Harvey’s Quay, but due to inclement weather were unable to stop in the city. Instead, they carried on out to Dell in Raheen, where a series of companies came together to lay on a spread of food for them. They also visited Killaloe and Glin on the visit.
Crecora man Martin Hannan organised the Limerick staging post for the Cycle Against Suicide.
“It is all about helping people for me. Suicide is a big issue in Limerick. There are a lot of great support groups, about 800 in all for mental health. But there are as many people who die by suicide each year. We need to create the environment for people to talk more so it is not such a stigma,” he said.
Martin was sporting bright orange hair in keeping with the jerseys the cyclists were wearing.
Ray Clancy from Mayorstone was taking part in the cycle following the tragic death of Chloe Kinsella in 2013.
“The conditions were pretty bad! We got a reprieve for the last two days where it was lovely and sunny. But the conditions were absolutely terrible today,” he explained.
One thing that was not terrible though, was the welcome the cyclists got in Limerick, which he described as “amazing”.
As for the host families, he added: “It is like the walls of Limerick; they put their arms around the people who are in the city. Limerick people have put their arms around us, and welcomed us into their homes.”
There was also an appearance from Katie Whelan, who has gone to great lengths to have Limerick’s bridges lit up with positive messages.