It is hard to believe that this year is our  5th hosting the wonderful  Darkness Into Light event.  After losing a family member to suicide, Maeve and Alan Gallagher approached the Browne family asking for use of the grounds for the event to support Pieta House. The Brownes had no hesitation in agreeing and we have loved every minute of our partnership with Maeve & Alan, the team at Pieta House and all of the volunteers involved in putting the event together.

Maeve and Alan Gallagher and their daughter Ruby
Maeve and Alan Gallagher and their daughter Ruby

Maeve told the Mayo News this week that “It costs approximately €1,000 to bring one person through a full suite of therapy sessions in Pieta House, to bring them from the darkness into the light.  To date, since 2012, in Westport we have raised over €71,000, so that’s a lots of lives I hope Westport DIL has saved.  Thanks to your generosity of spirit we’ve been in a position to help thousands upon thousands of people feel more hopeful about the future, but we need your support now more than ever.”

  With this in mind, we are asking for your help….in 2016, we would really love to beat the €25,500 that we all raised for Pieta House in 2015. We are asking everyone who has done the walk in the past to do it again. And this time, bring ONE NEW friend along with you.

Go on – we know you can do it!

A Little More Information about Darkness Into Light at Westport House

What time should I get there?

People start to gather from 3am and we encourage folks to get here *45 minutes early* to make sure you’re parked up safely, registered and ready to start at 4:15am in concert with the other 90 walks now taking place around the country and world. Please take heed of the Mayo Fire Service volunteers who will direct you to the best parking on arrival.

Who else will be  there?

Last year, there were 1,500 walkers and runners and even with that volume of people, the remembrance walk is a very moving and peaceful experience for each individual participating as we all walk together from the darkness into the light around this gorgeous estate.

This year, two time All Star, Breaffy and Mayo footballer Aidan O’Shea has agreed to be an Ambassador for the Westport event and will be in attendance to lead out the walkers/runners. We have been blessed with Cora Staunton as our ambassador in recent years but she will be on the pitch later that day and cannot join us – we wish her and the Mayo ladies team all the best.

What is the route?

DIL-walkAfter a few words from Alan, we will all leave the farmyard at 4:15am sharp and head towards the house where there is a little surprise on the front steps of the house for all walkers. We walk the front lawn of the house, loop around the back of the house and the riverside walk before heading back towards the farmyard. Walkers continue to the golf course road and take a left on the main road for 200 meters and then left again onto a slightly hilly “Skip Road” before turning left back onto the avenue and left again into the farmyard to finish. Don’t worry – the very helpful Westport Scouts will be there to help steward the walk so that you don’t get lost. Just keep an eye out for their high viz jackets – and the event arrows that Alan will have put in place.

What happens after?

We invite everyone to stay for a cuppa and a scone afterwards – compliments of Alannah and Patrick in Gracy’s Bar & Cafe. Maeve and Alan have arranged some live music to create a wonderful atmosphere and we ask each of you to sign the banner of hope and mingle with other participants.

5 Tips for a Smooth Walk:

  1. Register in advance….you can register on the morning but you’ll need to arrive extra early to do this and we cannot guarantee you a t-shirt. You can register at dil.pieta.ie or drop into the Westport Town Hall (12pm to 6pm daily), Westport Leisure Park (8am to 10pm daily) or to Westport House (10am to 4pm daily).
  2. The walk takes place on Saturday morning starting at 4:15am – this means going to bed VERY early on Friday night. I know this may sound silly but we get asked all the time whether the walk takes place on Saturday or Sunday morning.
  3. Plan your journey and be sure to leave enough time to get to the farmyard of Westport House safely….be aware that there may be a backlog of cars arriving at once so please allow yourself a few extra minutes to avoid any stress. Please enter the Westport House estate to get to the farmyard via the Quay Entrance or the Golf Course Road entrance. Please note that the town centre gate will not be open to pedestrians.  Click here for directions.
  4. Dress for success…Consider your footwear (you will be walking both on the road and on early morning dewey grass) and please dress for the weather – you might like to bring a rain jacket and consider a hat and gloves….it can be chilly in the early morning.
  5. Bring a torch or head torch to light your path.

Hopefully that will make the event run all the more smoothly for you but if you have any other suggestions for walkers, please feel free to leave a comment below.  Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the DIL website for more tips.

Check out this video put together by journalism student, Paul Daly about the event.

We look forward to welcoming and walking with you on Saturday 7th.


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