By Dermot Crean
OVER 300 cyclists rolled into CBS The Green on Friday afternoon for the Donal Walsh Memorial leg of the nationwide Cycle Against Suicide.
The students and staff of CBS were joined by Labour Deputy AJ Spring, local councillors, well-wishers, and students representing other schools from the town, who gave them a rousing guard of honour as they arrived after making the journey from Killarney that morning.
The cyclists were treated to refreshments before they all congregated in the school gym with the students where there was a great atmosphere (see video).
The main organiser of the cycle, Jim Breen of Pulselearning at the Kerry Technology Park, was MC in the gym and gave a talk on how students should always seek help from family, friends and youth groups if they are feeling suicidal or depressed.
He also paid tribute to Donal Walsh and the immense impact he made on people in his short life.
“One young man has done more to prevent suicide on the island of Ireland than anybody else in Irish history. Today is a celebration of Donal’s zest for life and I am so proud that we’re doing this today,” said Mr Breen.
He interviewed students and teachers from the school and also spoke to local taxi driver, Kevin Finn, who has been taking part in the cycle around the country. Kevin informed the audience that he was 18 stone this time last year, but since he has been cycling in the past year he is down to just under 15 stone.
Fionnbar Walsh then spoke to the crowd, beginning by reading Donal’s now famous letter which brought him to national attention. He went on to recall visiting the school soon after his son’s passing and also reiterated Donal’s anti-suicide message and asked those who are feeling depressed to seek help from family and friends. (see excerpt from Fionnbar’s talk in this video)
The cyclists then got back on the road for the next leg which finished in Newcastlewest on Friday evening. The cycle finishes in Dublin next Sunday.
Scroll down for photos of the CBS visit…