Stepping into the light
Thousands in Kerry unite for 2019 Darkness into Light walks
It is a sight that never gets old, no matter how many years you witness it - the sight of thousands of walkers coming together in the dawn light for one common and shared goal - raising much needed funds and awareness for Pieta House - the anti-suicide and self harm charity.
It was of course, the annual Darkness Into Light fundraising walk, iterations of which took place all around the county in Tralee, Listowel, Killarney, Dingle, Kenmare, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen and finally Caherdaniel.
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There is simply not enough space here to write of all the poignant and special scenes that took place at each and every walk in the county; but know this, every community can be sure that they did themselves proud in the early hours of last Saturday morning.
Over 1,000 took part in Listowel's walk alone with organisers expressing their delight at the turn out while Killarney's event, known locally as 'Nathan's Walk' in memory of Nathan O'Carroll who passed away in 2007 was similarly a huge success with hundreds setting off from the Killarney Racecourse.
The beauty of the walks lie every year in those quiet moments, those special scenes of community togetherness as they remember loved ones lost - one such of which occurred in Caherdaniel, during what is described by organiser Ger Deasy, as one of Ireland's most beautiful walks.
"It was our best walk so far. It was an absolute success. We had over 200 people and for a very small area, that is brilliant. People travelled from Cork and other parts of the country just to walk here," said Ger speaking to The Kerryman.
"We have a lovely ceremony on the beach every year where we make a circle around the 'Hope' sign and we read the Pieta House Manifesto. It is a letter sent out by Pieta House every year. It's like a little poem really about what they're all about. It re-enforces the message of why we're out walking and it can get quite emotional and moving. It's fantastic," she continued.
Pieta House provides a free, therapeutic approach to people who are in suicidal distress and those who engage in self-harm.
Your nearest Pieta House can be found by calling 1800 247 247.