A record 4,000 people took part in the Kilkenny Darkness Into Light on Saturday morning. The city was awash with bright yellow t-shirts as dawn broke.
Many of those who took part have been touched by suicide and the event was a message of hope for all affected by suicide, self harm and mental health issues.
Many people brought photos of loved ones who had taken their own lives and there was an unspoken solidarity among everyone. Kilkenny hurlers, Jackie Tyrell, Eoin Murphy and Michael Rice were also there
The chairwoman of DIL in Kilkenny, Kathryn Hutchinson was taken aback by the crowd and the support for the charity involved, Pieta House.
She thanked Michele Burke for the free use of 15 High Street, where so many participants were able to pick up their t-shirts and indeed to register. “Without her kindness we would not have had the incredible numbers walking/running with us last Saturday morning,” Kathryn said.
She also praised James Stephens military barracks and especially Lt. Larry Scallan who ensured everything ran smoothly. The barracks have been so kind to us for the last three years. We are now dear old friends. A special thanks also goes to Gary McCarthy who helped us serve refreshments with military precision
“Thanks to Sgt. Canice O’Gorman and the team from Kilkenny Garda Station. His quiet discretion in keeping an eye on proceedings was invaluable.
“A big shout out to James Walsh and all his gang from the Order of Malta.
“If anyone follows our Darkness into Light Kilkenny page on Facebook, they will have seen the many lovely comments about our wonderful Kilkenny Sub-Aqua Club. They patrolled the river, lighting the way for all our runners and walkers - thank you guys and gals!
“Our Civil Defence lead by Ray Regan provided jeeps leading the runners and then the walkers, making sure that everyone kept safe along the route.
Thanks to the following businesses: Rinnuccini Restaurant, Supermacs, Lyrath Hotel, Ripley’s Steakhouse, Springhill Court Hotel, Pembroke Hotel, Newpark Hotel, Langtons House Hotel, Zuni, Campagne, Club House Hotel, MacDonalds, The Gourmet Store, Cathedral Cafe (Chapterhouse), Pennefeather, Eurospar, Vintage Tea Rooms, Saltyard, Dunnes (both stores), MacDonagh Junction, Michael Hickey Plant hire, Nore Bar, Left Bank, Supervalu (Market Cross).
“Statistically €1,000 saves a life. We will let you know what Kilkenny raised within the coming weeks,” she said.