Shining a light on mental health

Tara O'Sullivan, Rebecca O'Sullivan,Gerard Griffin and Theresa O'Sullivan who completed the 5k Darkness into Light Walk on Saturday morning from CBS the Green, Tralee
Tara O'Sullivan, Rebecca O'Sullivan,Gerard Griffin and Theresa O'Sullivan who completed the 5k Darkness into Light Walk on Saturday morning from CBS the Green, Tralee
Pals Geraldine and Kate Reidy and Kate Caffrey who took part in the Darkness into Light Walk in Tralee on Saturday morning
Brenda and Katelynn Diggins who walked in the Darkness into Light walk in Tralee on Saturday morning
Roksana Mucaj,Trisian Raymond and Kacper Korol who took part in the Darkness into Light in Tralee on Saturday morning from CBS the Green
All framed up at the Darkness into Light in Tralee on Saturday morning Patrick and Mary O'Connor and Patrick Ryan
Patrick Fitzgerald, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ciara Fitzgerald and Serena Begley at Darkness Into Light in Dingle
Ciarán Ó Murchú, Nóirín Ní Lúing, Michael O'Callaghan chilling out after Darkness Into Light in Dingle. Photo by Tadhg Evans.
Joe Sayers, Sandra Hoffman, Giles Hoffman, Joan Sayers pictured at the Darkness into Light walk in Dingle on Saturday morning. Photo by Tadhg Evans
Athea Ladies Clodagh Scanlon, Sarah Scanlon, Nicola Scanlon, Danielle Wallice, Geraldine Scanlon, Ann Tyrrell and Margaret Scanlon at the 2017 Darness Into Light walk. Photo by Brendan Landy
Three generations out walking and helping out at the Listowel Darkness Into Light - from left Liz, Mag, David and Mary Horgan of Athea and Listowel. Photo by Brendan Landy

Tadhg Evans and Fergus Dennehy

Records are made to be broken and judging by some of the unofficial numbers that have been mentioned with regards to this year's 'Darkness into Light' walks - then 2017 is sure to go down as one of Kerry's best years of the fundraising walk.

No less than seven Kerry venues from Listowel to Caherdaniel hosted a walk in 2017, including Kenmare, which staged its first ever Darkness Into Light walk.

Kenmare-based councillor Dan McCarthy said he was 'totally amazed' at the community's support for the town's debut walk, and he said that spirit and an excellent turnout bodes well for the prospects of a second walk in 2017.

"We had around 530 people here on Saturday and I can't speak highly enough of all the people who helped out in any way," he said.

"The attendance was great, but I also think the amount of volunteer work and support reflected very well on the Kenmare area. They got behind the event's superb message."

The Killarney walk, also known as 'Nathan's Walk', attracted thousands of backers on Saturday, unsurprising given that it was the first Darkness Into Light walk held outside of Dublin when it debuted in 2011.

Named after Nathan O'Carroll, who died by suicide in 2007 at the age of 14, it's also the only Darkness Into Light walk with its own unique title, and Nathan's mother Marie was not shy to thank everyone who supported the walk once again this year.

"It was an absolutely amazing turnout again," she said. "I must thank the organising committee and the racecourse committee for all the work they put in to make this the success it was, as well as our friends and neighbours, the very supportive local businesses, and of course the participants themselves.

"So many people helped that it's hard to start naming individuals, so all I'll say is that we're hugely grateful," she added.

In Tralee, organising committee member Aidan O'Sullivan was equally delighted, as around 5,000 people took on a loop that started and finished at CBS The Green.

"We had our first walk here last year, it was a natural progression from what was taking place elsewhere, and even though this was only our second year, the attendance was way up on 2016. That's saying a lot, because 2016 was a huge success in its own right!

"We were blessed with the weather, everything worked in our favour. It was so calm that we had no problem flying a drone overhead as we made our way around," he joked.

The Dingle walk, which is one of the oldest walks in the county, having started back in 2011, is now a firm fixture in hundreds of calendars and homes and it was no different again this year, with organiser Jamie Flannery expressing his delight at how it went.

"It was a very successful night, we had about 500 people who participated on the night - we were honestly just delighted with the turnout and it obviously helped that we had such fine weather on the night as well," he said.

"We've been going since 2011 so we've a couple of successful years under our belt by now - I'd just like to thank Roisin, Nuala, Jane and Julie from our organising committee for the work they put into helping make the walk a success."


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