Over 1,500 rise at the crack of dawn
Over 1,500 people rose bright and early on Saturday morning to play their part in the Darkness into Light 5k walk in Wicklow town.
Adults, children, grandchildren and even some pet dogs all lent their support to Pieta House's flagship annual fundraising and awareness event.
Nationally the walk is in its tenth year and has taken place in Wicklow town for the past three years, with the number of participants rising dramatically each year.
There was a carnival atmosphere outside the Brass Fox Lounge at Leitrim Place for the start of the walk. Members of Wicklow Lions Club, the Darkness into Light organising committee and teachers from Colaiste Chill Mhantain arrived at 2.30 a.m. to make sure everything was in place ahead of the start.
Sean Olohan of Wicklow Lions Club was delighted with the turnout. He said: 'Thanks to everyone for all their support. We received a special thanks from Pieta House and the organising committee. The atmosphere was great and it was a truly memorable morning.'
Padraig Boyce provided the music which greeted all the participants while 40 members of Wicklow Community Choir, led by musical director Tony Norton, sang three beautiful pieces from their forthcoming concert in June.
GAA specialist and radio presenter Michael Sargent kept the crowd entertained in preparation for the 4.15 a.m. start.
Geraldine Mooney, Chairperson of the Wicklow Darkness into Light, addressed everyone and thanked them for all their efforts. Eileen Cannon then read a special message from Pieta House which saw complete silence fall on the huge group of walkers and supporters gathered at Leitrim Place.
The starting ribbon was raised at 4.15 a.m. precisely as a sea of yellow headed off, first the runners, soon followed by any walkers taking part.
The Willie Dunne Band welcomed back the weary but elated participants and a welcome cup of tea was waiting for them at the Brass Fox.
Colaiste Chill Mhantain students with Leo the Lion.