Tinahely gears up for Darkness Into Light fundraising walk

Volunteers Seren Byrne, Ellie Dolan and Kate Dolan from Colaiste Bride pictured ahead of the Tinahely Darkness into Light walk.

Eoin Mac RaghnaillWicklow People

Anticipation is building in Tinahely ahead of Pieta House's Darkness Into Light fundraising walk, which is set to take place on Saturday, May 6 at 4.15 a.m.

Sponsored by Electric Ireland, the popular fundraiser returned with a bang in 2022, with 203 venues across the globe participating, including 152 in the Republic of Ireland and 17 in Northern Ireland.

Fundraising events in Wicklow promise to be bigger and better than ever this year, with seven official Darkness Into Light walks set to take place in Arklow, Baltinglass, Blessington, Bray, Wicklow town and Tinahely.

The route through Tinahely has been changed slightly this year. The walk/run will commence at Tinahely Community Centre and progress down Kelly’s Hill out towards The Togher, returning through the forest towards the railway car park and back up the school road.

Over 200 early morning risers took part in the walk last year, raising a massive €6,913.47 for the suicide prevention charity.

A spokesperson for the Tinahely Darkness Into Light organising committee said: “Last year was a huge success and a great community effort.  Hannah Nolan from ‘Why Weight Ireland’ made sure everyone was awake before heading off with a light warm up session, whilst others enjoyed a cup of tea and chat with friends and family.

“Volunteers from South East Security and Mountain Rescue were on hand to ensure the safety of all taking part and (thankfully) had a quiet morning. Many of the walkers treated themselves to a well-earned Full Irish Breakfast in Murphy's Hotel afterwards, who had opened up early for the occasion.

“Tinahely Darkness Into Light are hopeful that many more walkers and runners will join us for the most important sunrise of the year, to help raise much needed funds for suicide awareness and prevention and make 2023 the biggest and brightest Darkness into Light.

“There are five other official Darkness Into Light walks taking place in County Wicklow, in Arklow, Baltinglass, Blessington, Bray and Wicklow town.

“All funds raised through donations and fundraising will go back into funding the services that Pieta provides. The money raised in 2022 helped to fund 156 helpline hours, 10,056 crisis counselling sessions and 6,123 therapy sessions.

“Details of a new Darkness Into Light colouring competition will also be forwarded to local Primary schools in the coming weeks. The competition is a great way of generating awareness and interest within the younger age groups and also allows younger students to display their talents, as the pictures will be on show in the community hall on the morning of May 6 and on our Facebook page.

“Colaiste Bhríde in Carnew and Colaiste Eoin in Hacketstown are actively working with the Tinahely committee to find ways to get students and teachers involved. The engagement of the local secondary schools is vital, as 60 per cent of clients presenting to Pieta are under the age of 25 and 40 per cent are under the age of 18.

“Further updates will also be provided over the coming weeks on the Tinahely Darkness Into Light Facebook page.”

You can sign-up to the Tinahely Darkness Into Light Walk at www.darknessintolight.ie/sign-up. Early bird reduced rate tickets are available until March 24.