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Nathan’s Walk continues to challenge the stigma

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This weekend, Darkness Into Light fundraising events will take place across the globe in aid of the suicide and self-harm crisis centre, Pieta House. Here in Killarney, the annual walk is held in memory of the late Nathan O’Carroll who took his own life in 2007. He was just 14 years of age.

Nathan’s family, led by parents Denis and Marie, have run the event since its inception in 2011 and it has become one of the most successful fundraisers of its kind in the country. It’s great to see so many people coming together to show their support for the O’Carrolls, while also providing much-needed funds for a worthy charity in the process.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Darkness Into Light campaign has been the manner in which it has challenged the stigma attached to suicide and mental health. In the past, these issues were brushed under the carpet but people like Denis and Marie, who speak so openly and so candidly about their first-hand experience with suicide, have unquestionably shifted the dial in a major way. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that as a nation we’re completely comfortable with the topic, but things have certainly come a long way even in the past decade or so.

Unfortunately, many of us here in Killarney have been touched by suicide. Personally, I lost one of my best friends to suicide back in 2009. We’ve all suffered bereavements and every death is tragic in its own way, but there’s something especially difficult about a suicide. It’s so unexpected and so confusing. It really knocks you off your feet.

My main thought after it happened was that I wished I could have spoken to him about whatever was going on before it was too late.

I definitely found it hard to cope and the next few months were extremely tough. I really struggled with it, to be honest, and I eventually decided to get some counselling. It wasn’t an easy step to take but addressing the issue head-on and just talking made the world of difference.

At the time, I probably felt as though what I was going through was never going to end but looking back now I realise that it was just one minor chapter in a much bigger story. That’s why Darkness Into Light is so important. Firstly, it funds Pieta House, a charity that has provided assistance to over 30,000 people when they needed it most. Secondly, it has helped to force the subject of mental health out of the shadows and into the light.

When things are out in the open like they are now, and mental health issues become more widely accepted as simply an illness like any other, people are more likely to speak up about their problems. And that can only be a good thing.

Darkness Into Light takes place tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 4.15am, starting from the Killarney Racecourse. You can register at the Racecourse from 5pm-8pm today or online at dil.pieta.ie

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Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]

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The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.

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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]

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The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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