GALLERY:

Walking from Fermanagh to Donegal for Darkness Into Light

Great turnout in Belleek

Gerry McLaughlin

Reporter:

Gerry McLaughlin

Email:

editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

A big May Moon was just sliding into the clouds as 1,000 generous souls gathered to take part in memorable cross-border walk at 4.15 am.

It was the second walk in aid of the Darkness Into Light programme and you could almost feel the good will and bonhomie as local fitness instructor Ciaran Smith gave the crowd some lively warming up exercises to the beat of dance music.

From 3.30 am onwards people from Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Kinlough, Belleek, Garrison and Derrygonnelly, to name just a few areas, gathered at the spacious Erne Gaels GFC ground, Belleek for the beginning of the walk.

This cross border walk remains pretty unique; as it was the only one if it’s kind in the country.

And an extra bonus this year is the opening next Monday May 15 of the Pieta House North West in Letterkenny, which has been possible after the stunning sum of E200, 000 has been raised in the past 12 months in County Donegal.

Every walker paid £20 to register and was given a yellow T-shirt with the words Darkness Into Light in big bold letters.

The route took the walkers, who included a high proportion of families and many smiling children, down the Main Street of Belleek before turning left at Rooney’s Corner and heading for Corlea.

There were well- lit marshals at every turn of this lovely border circle with well lit tractors, stand by medical facilities and lit candles along the route which gave

Silver streaks of dawn were stealing in, when the walkers turned right at the Crooked Bridge of Corlea and Tom Flanagan, Aimee and Declan Keown played some lively tunes at Corlea Hall, the original GAA Centre and ballroom of romance in the area

A big hill had to be climbed at Frank Dolan’s Lane and then it was a nice flat walk along the Commons back to the GAA grounds as we walked into the light of a lovely dawn.

And there were loads of great refreshments in the Erne Gaels Centre, for all who took part and the community donated all items.

The walk, which was one of scores taking place all over the country, attracted over 200,000 nationwide to raise funds for Pieta House, a voluntary organization that does so much to combat the effects of suicide in Irish families.

Pieta House organizes this annual event to remember those who died by suicide and to raise awareness of depression.

The pre dawn 5 km is a symbolic even that ends as the dawn’s first light is breaking.

It was held in 100 locations all around the country.

Speaking afterwards energetic organizer Bernie McNulty said:

“We had around 1,000 who did the walk which is great for the second year and that is not counting the volunteers who were about 50 in total.

“It was cross border, cross community and great co-operation and we Derek Thornton who banged the drum going down the street and we had Tom Flanagan, Aimee Keown and Donal Keown providing the music.

“It was a huge success and just shows the wonderful community spirit in this area.

An extra bonus this year is the opening of the North West Pieta House in Letterkenny on Monday May 15.

“This is great and it means that we can avail of it.

“It will be located on the block beside the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny.

“ A total of £200,000 has been raised from last year to now to enable Pieta House to be opened.

“When it is established it will be managed like the same of the other ten centres around the country”.