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Emotional morning in Wicklow as Charlie Bird leads thousands from ‘Darkness into Light’

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Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

Charlie Bird taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Michael Bolger and Tracy O'Brien.

Michael Bolger and Tracy O'Brien.

Hugh Fitzmaurice, Brian Beckett and Carl Strickland who ran the 5km course.

Hugh Fitzmaurice, Brian Beckett and Carl Strickland who ran the 5km course.

Paul Finnegan of Finbees and Danny Bohan of Bray Lions Club.

Paul Finnegan of Finbees and Danny Bohan of Bray Lions Club.

Ray McDonagh and Joe Codyre of Bray Lions Club.

Ray McDonagh and Joe Codyre of Bray Lions Club.

People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger after taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger after taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

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Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

There were incredibly moving scenes in Bray this morning as broadcaster Charlie Bird told thousands of Darkness into Light walkers that he would ‘extend the hand of friendship’ despite his own struggles.

He encouraged everyone to do the same, and to ‘live life to the full’.

The renowned broadcaster led the Bray walk for Pieta house, with over 2,000 participants taking part in the coastal town. He was able to address the crowd at the bandstand by using a speech device, and received a huge round of applause.


Bray Lions Club organised the event, the first ‘in-person’ Darkness into Light since 2019.

Danny Bohan of Bray Lions described an emotional morning. “We were joined by the legend that is Charlie Bird,” he said. “People are aware of Charlie’s own difficulties with his health. He’s actually lost his voice completely in the past week. He’s been here with us and through the wonders of science managed to deliver a very emotional message.

“Of all the walks we’ve been involved in, today really is an exceptionally emotional morning.”

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Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

Charlie and Claire Bird with Tiger. Photo: Leigh Anderson

“So many people are in dark places,” said Danny. “The whole idea of the morning walk is ‘coming out of the darkness into the light’ and this is what Pieta House is all about.

“It’s a wonderful service and a free service to all people.”

"It’s magical,” said one walker. “It’s such a lovely feeling when you’re among so many people and you’re all there for a common purpose. it’s very peaceful and you get a bit of energy off the crowd. It’s such a good cause and I don’t think there’s any family in Ireland which hasn’t been touched by depression.”

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People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

People taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Danny said that the charity is there to advise and help people who may be suicidal, self harming, and to provide support also for family members.

“This year it’s really important because there hasn’t been a walk for two years,” said Danny. “Because of the pandemic so many people have been lonely, virtually locked up, and Pieta will say that their services have never been required more because of that.

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“The fact that over 2,000 people have shown up at 4 in the morning, just to show support to each other, and to support Pieta, is wonderful.”

Danny thanked Electric Ireland for their sponsorship, as well as Pettit’s Supervalu in Bray which donated 1,000 bottles of water, and other generous supporters.

Bray Emmets provided assistance throughout the town manning the junctions.

Refreshments were served at Finbees and the Martello, while Paul Finnegan of Finbees served tea and coffee at the bandstand.

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Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger after taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger after taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger after taking part in Bray's Darkness Into Light walk. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Volunteers handed out water, bananas, chocolate bars, and plenty of encouragement.


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