WATCH - Shining a light on Darkness: Thousands take part in dawn Limerick walk for Pieta House

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Thousands of walkers stream past Thomond Park on Darkness into Light Picture: Sophie Goodwin/ilovelimerick

Thousands of walkers stream past Thomond Park on Darkness into Light Picture: Sophie Goodwin/ilovelimerick

THOUSANDS of people have taken part in the Darkness into Light dawn walk for Pieta House in Limerick.

Yellow-tshirt clad fundraisers gathered at Thomond Park in the city, the Desmond College in Newcastle West and Kilmallock and Murroe for the emotional walk, which symbolises the darkness of depression into the light of day.​

Up to 10,000 people were expected to take part in the city, with around 4,000 more potentially in Newcastle West.

Limerick Rose Hazel Ní Cathasaigh was at the start line in the city to cut the ribbon and see off the thousands taking part.

As part of the city’s event, there was a “kilometre of reflection”. It was the ninth time the six-kilometre walk has taken place in the city.

A unique early morning experience, Darkness into Light begins in the dead of night as thousands walk or run a five-kilometre route while dawn is breaking.

Last year’s event attracted over 100,000 participants in more than 80 locations in Ireland and abroad.

Johnny Togher, who works in the volunteer and fundraising department at the charity’s local base in Ard Aulin, Mungret, highlighted the new feature in this year’s walk through the city, the kilometre of reflection from Salesians Roundabout up to the Strand Hotel, which was to be lined with candles.

"It will give people the chance to think of loved ones they have lost to suicide,” he said in advance of the event.

Walks were also due to take place in Shannon Town and Sixmilebridge, while there was a Limerick contingent at the walk in London, which kicked off from Cricklewood.

Around €160,000 was raised from Limerick’s walks in 2017, money which is pumped straight back into Pieta House’s crisis centre here, which provides counselling and support services to people experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts.

If you are in distress, Pieta House’s centre in Mungret can be contacted at 061-484444.