Participants in Darkness Into Light in Maghery filled the Ionad An Mhachaire this morning. Photo: Danny Bonner.
Hundreds of people gathered at the coastal Gaeltacht village of Maghery in the early Saturday darkness for the annual Darkness Into Light walk/run.
About 600 people took part in Darkness Into Light today in Maghery, the third consecutive year the community has hosted the flagship fundraising and awareness-raising event for Pieta House.
Frances Boyle, a member of the organising committee in Maghery, said the crowds began to arrive at the Ionad An Mhachaire about 45 minutes before the start of the 5K walk.
“At 3 o’clock we were kind of looking around us, but all of a sudden, at about half past 3, the place just thronged and the line of cars coming over the road was fantastic - it was fantastic to see them,” she said. “Young and old came out.” She said cyclists came from as far as Annagry and Gaoth Dobhair to take part.
“It was lovely to see the support people have given to Darkness Into Light,” she said.
Maghery was one of a number of communities in Donegal, across Ireland and abroad to host Darkness Into Light events this morning. About 150,000 people took part in Darkness Into Light walk/runs across Ireland.
In Donegal, Darkness Into Light was also held in Letterkenny, Falcarragh, Arranmore Island, Tory Island, Carrick, Donegal town and Buncrana. Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of suicide and self-harm, is to open a centre in Letterkenny this month; their 24-hour phone line is already available to anyone seeking their services.
“The money that we raise here today will help keep Pieta House’s lifesaving services free,” Jack Brereton, a member of the Maghery organising committee who served as MC at the event, said. All Pieta House services are free and confidential.
“The vision is to create a world where suicide, self-harm and the stigma of suicide are replaced by hope, self-care and acceptance,” Jack said.
Pieta House can be reached at any hour of the day by phoning Freecall 1800 247 247, or by texting HELP to 51444.