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Erris shines for Darkness Into Light


WALKING THE WALK Pictured before the Darkness Into Light fundraising walk for Pieta in Belmullet were, from left: Theresa Fallon, Helen Deane, Ann Marie Reilly, Pat Calpin, Mary McAndrew, Breda Reilly and Andrew Kerrigan. The walk in Erris in aid of the suicide prevention charity was one of ten that took place in Mayo on Saturday morning. Pic: Monika Regeciova

Michael Gallagher

They streamed down American Street the way the emigrants once returned home at Christmas time – full of the joys of Erris; full of the fun of friendship and full of the camaraderie the locality is famed for.
The Erris version of Darkness Into Light was special. It had a certain barony feel to it impossible to find anywhere else. Erris people view their barony as a nation set apart, and that certainly was the case on Saturday morning.
Hundreds gathered from near and far. Some stayed up all night; others went to bed for a while and resurrected for the walk around the town with their friends, Everyone was different, yet the same.
Linda Talbot, the driving force behind the event, had everything arranged for maximum participation and enjoyment. Refreshments of the highest standard, music, chat and an Errisness only attainable by those of us with passports for the land on the edge of the world.
The walk began at 4.15am and wove itself around the outskirts of the town, in the Ballina Road around Carter Square before heading for ‘back the country’ and returning across the canal and into the heart of the town again.
All along the way, Linda and her team had arranged surprises of light and yellow – there was a lot of yellow. The woman herself was decked out in sunflower and despite being tired, was full of the joys.
“The support for this event has been brilliant. A huge crowd of people have turned out and that makes it very special. The work behind the scenes has been brilliant and made everything easy for the rest of us.”
Out on the route, Linda’s brother Pat Calpin and Paddy Mills were lighting beacons of fire on the roundabout in The Square. The result was spectacular. Then the participants swooped down American Street and on towards the peninsula.
Then, a hauntingly brilliant voice echoed across the Erris capital. Bridget Hegarty was doing her thing on the edge of the canal. The Clare native, now settled in Belmullet, has a voice like a husky angel, and it was a magnificent way to drive the participants onwards for the last mile.
Later, Bridget, Deirbhle Healy and others rattled out the songs and tunes in an impromptu session to being down the curtain on a very interesting night and morning where the stars always seem to sparkle brighter than anywhere.