Everything you need to know about Darkness Into Light 2023

By Emily Mullen

March 31, 2023 at 12:58pm


The fundraising event organised by Pieta and supported by Electric Ireland is back

One of the country's most important fundraising events of the year is back this May. Officially launched by Jennifer Zamparelli and Greg O’Shea on March 29th, funding from the event goes directly to Pieta’s services which enables them to continue providing free-of-charge suicide prevention, intervention and bereavement support to people of all ages across Ireland.

In 2022 alone, Pieta delivered over 50,000 hours of free, one-to-one therapy, and helped over 6,500 clients nationwide. The 24/7 crisis helpline received almost 100,000 calls and texts and supported close to 700 households bereaved by suicide. Almost 35% of clients presenting to Pieta in 2022 were aged between 18-35 years and a further 36% of clients in the same year were under 18.

Image via pieta.house

Speaking at the launch, Darkness Into Light ambassador Zamparelli said, "each year, myself and a group of good friends take part and it is great to see so many thousands of people out together, starting in the darkness and walking towards the sunrise together. So many communities come together for such an important sunrise, with the sense of collective hope palpable at every step of the walk. I invite everyone to sign up and take part; trust me, it will be a truly memorable occasion for such an important cause."

When's it happening? 

Saturday, May 6th 2023

What time does it kick off at?

The event starts at 4.15am

Where is it on?

There are over 200 official walks for Darkness Into Light in 2023 across 15 countries spanning 5 continents, everywhere from Gibraltar to the United States. Events will be taking place in every county in Ireland, for more details click here.

What is it?


Darkness Into Light is organised by Pieta and proudly supported by Electric Ireland since 2013. It is a global movement dedicated to ending suicide and supporting those who engage in self-harm. By taking part in Darkness Into Light, participants play an important role in removing the stigma around suicide and self-harm as well as raising vital funds to fight suicide. Darkness Into Light, Pieta’s flagship annual fundraising and awareness event, started with approximately 400 people walking the 5km course in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2009 but has since grown into a global movement with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in 200 locations, in 14 countries across 6 continents.

What does it involve?

If you are taking part in an official Darkness into Light event, you meet up before dawn (4:15am) and walk/run/swim 5K to meet the sunrise.

Image via pieta.house

How long is it?


How long does it take?

Depending on how long it takes you to do a 5K walk, the average walker finishes a 5K in 45 to 60 minutes.

Do you have to walk it?

While most people walk it, you can also run, jog or swim.

Can you just fundraise for it?

Of course, if you aren't in a position to physically take part, you can fundraise for it.


Does it have to be a 5K or can I do more?

If you have a longer challenge in mind, you can of course do a bigger challenge, such as a 10k, a marathon or even a skydive, for more info click here.

Can I bring my dog?

Yes, family pets are free to attend as long as they are on a lead and are fully trained, organisers have cautioned participants to pick up after their dogs and to be mindful of people who are nervous around dogs.

What should I wear?

You'll be kicking off the event at night so wrap up warm, also bring wet gear in case Irish weather does its thing!

Image via pieta.house

Do I need to bring anything else?

You don't need to bring too much with you, a bottle of water, a snack and maybe a torch if your phone doesn't have one.

Why should I get involved?

It would be difficult to find a family in Ireland that hasn't been touched by suicide, and according to stark CSO figures issued in 2022, the rates in younger people are especially worrying. Among young males, aged under 25 years, suicide was the number one cause of death in 2019, for females in the same age bracket, suicide was the third highest cause of death for the same period. These figures are shocking when paired with the long-wait lists and limited mental health facilities available to people with mental health problems in Ireland. It's never been more important to support the trojan work being done by mental health charities like Pieta.


Is there anything I should know beforehand?

Participants are advised to plan their route carefully and ensure that it is safe, well-lit and has no hazards. If you are near or in open water, please follow water safety guidelines and never swim in bad weather conditions or alone.

How much does it cost to sign up? 

Tickets are prices are listed below:

Adult 18+ = €26

Concession = €21
Child =  €5
Baby/Toddler = €0
Family (2 adults+ 5 children) = €62

How do you sign up?

Sign up and take part here.

To avail of Pieta services, visit www.pieta.ie or call 0818 111 126. Pieta provides 24/7 support via the Freephone crisis helpline on 1800 247 247, or text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply).

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