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Sunday 21 January 2018

Getting into the habit of breaking world records

The crowd dressed up for Nunday, the Guinness World Record attempt of the most 'nuns' gathered in one place.
The crowd dressed up for Nunday, the Guinness World Record attempt of the most 'nuns' gathered in one place.
Siobhan Dowling, from Listowel, Co Kerry, at the event.
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

IT is unlikely to be habit forming, but one town has broken the world record for the most people dressed as nuns in the one place.

Listowel in Co Kerry resembled the world's biggest convent at the weekend where 1,436 men, women and children dressed in habits were corralled in a football field to celebrate 'Nunday'.

The event was recorded for the Guinness Book of Records, and smashed the previous record of 250 achieved at Pinewood Studios in the UK in 2009.

The event was organised by local couple Cora and Martin O'Brien and raised more than €15,000 for Pieta House, the suicide and self-harm crisis centre.

The O'Briens lost their son David (17) to suicide five years ago.

The event in Frank Sheehy Park was the first official function of newly elected mayor of Listowel, Tom Barry, who arrived with his chain of office and, of course, in a habit.

"I'm delighted to be here and it's great to see so many people at this fantastic occasion for a great cause," Mr Barry said.

Sr Atrocious and Sr Ferocious, aka Mamie Kearney and Eileen Mulvihill, travelled with friends from Ballylongford in north Kerry.

"We've all been touched by this and we just wanted to give our support," Ms Kearney said.

Founder of Pieta House, Joan Freeman, who attended Nunday, said she hoped to be able to extend its services to Galway and Cork in the next 18 months.

"I'm very moved by this couple who went through the devastation of losing their son and in the midst of their grief and their sorrow that they can be so generous to other people," she said.

Ms O'Brien said she was glad it had gone so well.

"I think a lot of people don't even know Pieta House is there or about what they do so this is about raising awareness that there is help out there," she added.

"We talk to our kids about drugs and alcohol but we also need to talk to them about suicide."

Irish Independent

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