The picturesque fishing village of Burtonport will host a special event at the end of the month to raise awareness of mental health in their community.
Burtonport, Dungloe and all the neighbouring villages have been devastated by the amount of suicides in their area in recent times.
West Donegal native, John Joe McBride, is the brainchild behind this event which will include a blessing of boats before a flotilla sets off for neighbouring islands.
He wanted to create a mental health awareness day for the entire community.
Along with his cousin, Seamus McBride and a team of local volunteers, came together to see if they could organise an event that would raise awareness of mental health.
Before the flotilla sets sail, Fr Pat Ward and Fr John Joe Duffy, along with the Burtonport Choir, will perform a blessing of the boats” and blessing of the candles at Burtonport Pier at 12.30pm on July 25.
The blessing of the boats is a time honoured tradition that goes back many centuries into the sea of legend and tradition and will be a fitting tribute on the day. A full health & safety protocol will be in place and everyone attending must abide by social distancing and Covid-19 Restriction rules at all times throughout the day.
The event organiser John Joe McBride said: “We thought it fitting and appropriate to start the day off with a song from Imelda May ‘It’s Good to be Alive’.”
After the blessing of the boats, ‘The Float for Hope Boat Run’, will depart from Burtonport Pier and sail to Arranmore where food and refreshments will be available and then on to Tory (Weather permitting). The Tory Hotel will also have food and refreshments available also for anyone who wants to purchase. Then they sail back from Tory to Bloody Foreland along the stunning coastline, sail through Inishsirrer, Inishmeane, Gola, and arrive at the East side of Donegal Airport between Ranafast and Braade. They will then be returning back, passing Bunbeg Harbour, back out to Gola, sail inside Inishfree Lower along Carrickfinn beach, Mullaghderg beach on to Kinncalagh and continue along Cruit Island through Owey and finally sail back to Burtonport Pier.
To finish off the day’s events, small sailing boats with weatherproof candles on board can be purchased at the pier on the morning of the 25th from 9am. These will set sail on the waters as it gets dark at Burtonport Pier and on Arranmore Pier at the same time later that evening. Local musicians will be playing at both slipways, and the chosen song to finish off the day’s events will be Everybody Hurts by REM.
The aim of this day is to promote Mental Health Awareness locally in West Donegal, but also to raise funds to continue to help fund additional counselling services and support the ongoing counselling services available in the office secured by Gemma’s Legacy for Hope in Dungloe.
Updates will be posted on the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FloatForHopeBoatRun
Donations can be made via: https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11406756_float-for-hope.html