MORE THAN 100 landmarks and buildings across Ireland will illuminate in green for the Winter Solstice to show Samaritans are there for callers during their darkest hours.
Dublin’s Convention Centre, Kilkenny Castle, The Rock of Cashel, Stormont, Cork's City Hall and the US Embassy will be among the sites lighting up in green to mark Samaritans’ Longest Night on Tuesday, 21 December.
The charity marks the date to remind those in need that its helpline will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the festive period, including Christmas Day.
Samaritans volunteers answered almost 35,000 calls in Ireland last December, with concerns over loneliness and isolation rising.
Dorothy Ring, who has volunteered on Christmas Day for the last 10 years, said:
"Christmas is a time when, despite all the hype, some people feel more alone and isolated than ever. I cannot stress how wonderful it is to be able to connect and empathise for even a small amount of time to help someone get through their day.
"I volunteer on Christmas Day so I can give my presence and support as a gift to those who need it. It’s very therapeutic and rewarding.
Niall Mulligan, Executive Director for Samaritans Ireland, paid tribute to the Samaritans volunteers for being there for callers throughout 2021, as well as over Christmas:
"Because of the dedication of our volunteers, many people will have someone to talk to if they’re feeling lonely or upset over Christmas.
"We are also delighted that over 100 landmarks across the country are lighting up on the Longest Night to show the public we’re here for them when needed most."
Any images of buildings illuminating in green can be shared across social media tagging @SamaritansIRL and using the hashtags #LongestNight #SamaritansLongestNight.
Anyone can contact Samaritans for free at any time from any phone on 116 123, including a mobile phone without credit. The number won’t show up on a phone bill.