For the first time ever, Ardee will host a Darkness Into Light walk in 2018 – joining Dundalk and Drogheda as the three destinations in Louth to have hosted the event in the last two years – to raise funds and awareness in aid of Pieta House and suicide prevention.
It was announced on Friday night that an event will take place in Ardee at 4.15am on Saturday May 12th 2018. Details such as the walk route and registration details will be announced in due course. It is expected that registration will open in January.
Work has been underway behind the scenes for the last four months to bring the popular event to Ardee. Locals have previously flocked to Drogheda, Dundalk and further afield to join in. Last year, 2,500 were at DKIT in Dundalk for the late night walk.
In 2017, 150,000 people nationwide took part in the walk which symbolically takes place as dawn breaks in the early hours – from Darkness Into Light. It first began in Phoenix Park in 2008 with just 400 people participating – and it’s now spread worldwide, with walks across Asia, Australia and America.
The walk is aimed at encouraging people to talk about suicide and mental health issues. It is estimated that 500 people die by suicide each year in Ireland. Funds raised annually go towards suicide prevention charity Pieta House and their counselling services provided to those in suicidal crisis, people who self-harm and anyone bereaved by suicide.
The reaction on social media to the news that Ardee is to host it’s own Darkness Into Light event next year has been welcomed positively with locals quick to mark the date in their 2018 diaries.
Speaking to ThisIsArdee.ie on Saturday, Caroline Matthews from the event’s organising committee told us how the idea came about.
“We’ve had a good three or four meetings. We applied in August/September time, so it’s been in the pipeline for three or four months,” Caroline said. The idea was originally brought to the team at Ardee’s DeeHub where it grew and where a committee quickly formed.
Caroline is joined Annie Haughey, Breege Conlon, Michael McCoy, Vinny McCoy among others on the nine person committee as work continues before May’s event.
“We’ve known for a couple of weeks that it was more or less going ahead but we had nothing on paper. Now, we’ve had official confirmation.
“We’re announcing it at this time of the year to get people talking about it and get it out there that it will be happening in Ardee. We want to get people talking so people who people would have done it in Dundalk or Drogheda can do it in Ardee.
Caroline says that the hope is by having a walk in Ardee, to go alongside the walks already taking place in Dundalk and Drogheda, it can lead to a Pieta House centre coming to the county, meaning those availing of the service wouldn’t have to travel to Dublin which is where the charity is most closely located.
“It’s getting bigger by the year. It’s very popular,” Caroline continued. “We want to get people talking about it.
You can view a gallery of images from the 2017 Darkness Into Light event in Dundalk by clicking here.