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Approximately 5000 people took part in the Darkness Into Light walk at UCC. Picture: Larry Cummins
Approximately 5000 people took part in the Darkness Into Light walk at UCC. Picture: Larry Cummins
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Darkness Into Light: Thousands walk in Cork

THOUSANDS gathered at more than 20 events in Cork city and county just after 4am this morning to raise awareness of the issues of suicide and self-harm and to tackle the stigma surrounding depression and mental health.

Participants await the start outside the Boole Library. Picture: Larry Cummins
Participants await the start outside the Boole Library. Picture: Larry Cummins
Huge crowds turned out at UCC and Ballyvolane in Cork city and in dozens of towns and villages throughout the county in a show of solidarity as part of Darkness Into Light 2018.

There was no indication that it was just after 4am this morning at UCC as a jovial, determined and, in some cases, poignant and sombre spirit took hold at the start line of the 5km walk in aid of Pieta House.

Some walked alone, others walked with friends and family but the message was simple and clear: you are not alone.

Olivia Murphy, Carrigaline and Alex Cremen, Ballinlough. Picture: Larry Cummins
Olivia Murphy, Carrigaline and Alex Cremen, Ballinlough. Picture: Larry Cummins

Former Lord Mayor PJ Hourican was on the organising committee for the poignant events in Ballyvolane and UCC this morning. He knows more than most how suicide can affect lives.

“I lost a son to suicide nearly nine years ago and I will give any help I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to any other family,” he said.

Some 1,500 people took part in the Ballyvolane event.

Geraldine and Hayleigh Mulcahy, Gurranabraher with dog Flint and Tracie and Matthew Barry, Churchfield. Picture: Larry Cummins
Geraldine and Hayleigh Mulcahy, Gurranabraher with dog Flint and Tracie and Matthew Barry, Churchfield. Picture: Larry Cummins
Henry Cremin is among the organisers of this event and said that the community spirit on show is incredibly strong.

“Everybody has somebody that has been touched by suicide; either a friend or a family member,” he said.

“It is a great occasion for people to get together and open up about things. Looking back over the years, it is important to hear these stories.”

Among those taking part in the Ballyvolane event were more than 50 members of the Travelling community in Cork. 

One woman, Nora Cash, told the Evening Echo that she knew 12 people among relatives and friends who have died by suicide in the past few years.

“Suicide comes around so often in our community. A suicide is a death that you never get over,” she said.

Hazel O'Sullivan, Bishopstown with girls Fiona, Anna and Rose, and Siobhan McConville, Kerry at the finish of the charity event. Picture: Larry Cummins
Hazel O'Sullivan, Bishopstown with girls Fiona, Anna and Rose, and Siobhan McConville, Kerry at the finish of the charity event. Picture: Larry Cummins
Huge crowds also turned out in Cobh, Glanmire, Ballincollig, Carrigaline and Fermoy as the event continues to grow year after year.

The Darkness Into Light walks started with just 400 people in Dublin in 2009. This year, 200,000 people took part in 170 venues, including events in Australia, South Korea, Dubai, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Poland, Spain and South Africa.

Anyone who may be affected by the issues raised in this article and would like to talk to someone is encouraged to contact Pieta House, at Highfield Lawn, Model Farm Road, Bishopstown, or at (021) 434 1400. The organisation’s 24/7 freephone helpline is 1800 247 247. You can also text Pieta House on 51444.