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Photos: Thousands of people across the country take part in Darkness Into Light

The event took place in-person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

6462 Darkness Into Light People taking part in the walk in the Phoenix Park this morning. Source: Leah Farrell

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE across the country got up early and took to their local streets, parks and beaches to take part in Pieta’s annual Darkness into Light fundraiser this morning.

The fundraiser saw over 115,000 people take part in group walks, runs and even swims in over 200 locations across ten countries to help support Pieta’s suicide intervention, counselling and bereavement services.

It is the first time in two years that it has been held in-person, with the last two events taking place virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

6489 Darkness Into Light Lorna Phipps, Ann Byrne, Ashling Phipps and Mary O'Reilly in Phoenix Park this morning. Source: Leah Farrell

Despite the pandemic, the event raised €6.5 million for Pieta last year when over 140,000 people in Ireland and across the world took part virtually. 

This year also saw the event held in eight countries abroad, including Australia, Canada, Spain and the US. 

Darkness Into Light began in 2009, when 400 people set off in the Phoenix Park in Dublin on a 5km walk to raise funds for Pieta. Around 200,000 now take part every year.

6252 Darkness Into Light Carmel Cushen from Maynooth and Aleisha Kelly from Galway in Phoenix Park this morning. Source: RollingNews.ie

6300 Darkness Into Light Millie Rickard (aged 7) in memory of her dad John Treacy in Phoenix Park this morning. Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Speaking in the Phoenix Park this morning, where the 5km walk began at 4.15am, Pieta CEO Stephanie Manahan thanked everyone who took part.

“Whether you walked, whether you ran, whether you swam, whether you had a private contemplated moment to walk together in community with people who have been impacted by suicide and self harm, we thank you, we appreciate you,” she said.

“Now home, get a cup of tea, and thank you again.”

Manahan said it was ”beyond inspirational to be a tiny part” of the 5km walk in the Phoenix Park, and thanked those involved in organising this year’s events, as well as Pieta’s therapists.

“We could not provide the services that we do without you. Our therapists have worked throughout this night and will work on into the morning, talking to you, answering your calls, so please know and reach out if you need to talk to somebody, that Pieta are there to help you,” she said.

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Veteran journalist Charlie Bird led the Darkness into Light walk in Bray, Co Wicklow, while Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald took part in the event in Hannahstown, Co Antrim. 

According to Pieta, this year’s event has raised €3,705,274 so far. 

 If you need to talk, contact:

  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

  • Aware 1800 80 48 48

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

About the author:

Jane Moore

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