Over 1,000 people came together in Limerick City on Monday to Shine a Light on the River.
The event saw 34 specially illuminated boats carrying over 60 people, and the Liam McCarthy cup travel between the three city bridges as spectators looked on shining lights to light up the river.
The spectacle was a joint initiative by Limerick Mental Health Association and Jigsaw, a mental health support service for young people.
Video: Shane Vaughan and Caleb Purcell
The Garda Sub Aqua unit from Dublin joined the Fire Service, Civil Defence, the Limerick Men’s Shed, and boat clubs from Limerick to Foynes on the water while Limerick Suicide Watch and teams of student volunteers from Limerick’s three third level institutes stewarded the event on land.
The Director of Limerick Mental Health Week, Patrick Fitzgerald, described the event as transformative.
"When Limerick people think of the river and three city bridges a negative association with mental health can come to mind."
"The Limerick Mental Health Week team wanted to change that. We aimed to bring the community together to reclaim the river, reframing it in people’s minds,” he said.
Tanya O’Sullivan, a youth and community engagement worker with Jigsaw Limerick and the primary coordinator of the event said the idea came from a girl on their Youth Advisory Panel, Hannah Kelly.
"The YAP are a group of 16 to 25-year-olds who make sure the youth voice is represented in what we do and they help guide our service."
"It began as an idea, but it became a reality when other Limerick organisations were enthusiastic to help. We are delighted it went so well after all the hard work," she concluded.
Following the event, the Limerick Suicide Watch began their regular patrol of the bridges.
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