Thousands walk to remember those who’ve died by suicide

Darkness into Light event attracts 80,000 walkers around Ireland and abroad

An estimated 80,000 people turned out at 37 locations across Ireland, as well as venues in London and Sydney this morning for Pieta House’s annual Darkness into Light 5km dawn walk/run with Electric Ireland. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

An estimated 80,000 people turned out for a dawn walk this morning to remember those who have died by suicide.

The annual Darkness into Light fundraising event, organised by suicide and self-harm charity Pieta House, took place at 37 locations around Ireland, with two walks also held in London and Sydney.

Crowds gathered at 4.15am at each location to walk in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

With twice as many participants signed up this year compared to last, registration for several venues, including the main event in the Phoenix Park, closed earlier this week after reaching maximum capacity.


The theme for this year’s event was “Mind our Men”, with walkers encouraged to bring a male friend with them.

Founder of Pieta House Joan Freeman said she was overwhelmed by the huge numbers who turned out this morning.

“It’s a testament to how far we’ve come as a society - suicide is no longer something we fearfully brush under the carpet. Let the thousands of people gathered in towns and cities all over this country send a strong message to our government: the people of Ireland are serious about tackling suicide and we need action now,” she said.

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny, founding editor of Irish Times Abroad, a section for Irish-connected people around the world, is Editor of the Irish Times Magazine