So we woke up on the Saturday morning and had a fabulous cooked breakfast in the gorgeous kitchen at Huntington Castle. I asked Olan what we’d get up to for the day and he said he didn’t have anything planned so we could just chill out. I went back upstairs and ran a lavender bath which I stayed in for an hour and a half whilst reading my book.
Once we were both ready, we went for a stroll around the beautiful gardens. At the castle there is a stunning yew walk that is 500 years old and the gardens themselves are so colourful and peaceful. Whilst we were walking underneath these ancient trees I kept thinking “Is this it? What do I do? I’m not even dressed up! Oh my God I’m so nervous,what’s wrong with me?
But no. That wasn’t it.
(Turns out this would have been the proposal spot if not for the flock of sheep and the broken electrical fence beside it.)
We popped into the castle tea rooms and had some tea and cake whilst in the company of Percy the peacock. By this stage I was a bag of nerves completely and I’d convinced myself that I’d gotten it all wrong. Olan was just more organised for this trip. There would be no proposal and it was just a lovely weekend away.
The weather was absolutely fab so after our tea, we took a walk down through the very small village and had an ice cream by the river. There’s not much in Clonegal so I decided to go back to the gardens and read my book for an hour or two in the sunshine. Olan said he wanted to walk through the woods and see if he could cross the river. Just the kind of thing I would hate!
I was walking in rhe front door of the castle and saw a picnic basket with two champagne glasses in it. Ah thats so cute, someone had a picnic here today. I went up to the room at about half six to get ready for dinner and lo and behold, one of the suitcases had disappeared. Strange……
Olan came up to the room and said we’d head down to the pub for a drink before dinner, which was at nine. Grand. I put on a pretty dress and some makeup and was ready to leave by about half past seven.
We were walking downstairs and about to head right to walk down the avenue to the pub when Olan said “Sure let’s go down through the gardens”. I walked through the archway and saw some tea lights on the ground. They were in the shape of an arrow. I looked towards where the arrow was pointing and there was a picnic set up in the gardens with fairy lights wrapped around each tree. I looked up at Olan. He was grinning from ear to ear. I burst out crying!
Why are you crying?
Because this isn’t an ordinary picnic.
He had made a photo book of all of our six years together; photos from New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Tenerife,Japan; photos of our numerous Halloween and fancy dress parties, our house and our Christmases. There was a photo frame with four pictures of us together and a wooden ‘T & O’ with inbuilt lights.
He’d made little salmon pancakes with cream cheese and had fruit and berries on a plate. This is why the yew walk wouldn’t have worked. The sheep would have eaten the picnic.
There was a box of After Eights and a bottle of Dominic Perignon Champagne. I was amazed. This was amazing. He was amazing.
OH MY GOD HE’S GOING TO PROPOSE.
We sat on the little white blanket and chatted about nothing and everything for a while. The peacock ambled past and we panicked that his tail would catch on fire from the tea lights on the ground.
(Afterwards Olan told me that he hurt his thumb again while trying to light the tea lights with one of those clicky-lighter things. He was so incredibly frustrated with it that he left a bag of tea lights under the tree unlit!)
It’s almost time for dinner.
Oh is it?
Yeah. So do you have something you want to ask me?
Sure go on so……
With that I stood up and Olan knelt down on one knee. *cue strange cracking noise*
Was that your knee cracking?
No. It was my pants.
His trousers had split.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
Tracey Martina Curran, will you marry me?
Of course I will!
He took the little ruby ring from his pocket and placed it on my finger. We kissed and hugged and laughed. Snapped some photos. Had another chat. Packed up the picnic and left it inside the door.
We walked down to the Sha-Roe Bistro. Olan told Stephanie we got engaged that night. She congratulated us. We ate dinner. We drank wine. Went back to the castle and slept til 7am the next morning when I, like a child on Christmas day, bounded out of bed to grab my phone and ring everyone I knew.
My Mam was delighted.
My Dad was so sleepy he forgot that I rang him at all.
My grandad’s reaction “Ah Jaysus. That’s great news to get of a Sunday!”
My friends all had similar reactions too, everyone wondered why I was calling so early on a Sunday morning, I interrupted some hangovers and frightened the lives out of others! I called my best friend Cat who lives in Sydney. “I’m engaged!” My now-chief bridesmaid replied “I know!! Sure why else would you be bringing me at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning!”
We drove home and went to Fields jewellers to look at diamonds. I got overwhelmed so we left to get a 99. So much better than a diamond.
We arrived back to our house to cards, flowers and chocolates and gorgeous gifts.
I went to school on Monday and told my kids I was getting married. Cue all manner of cards and artistic creations coming into school that week.
My two best friends and I shared a bottle of Prosecco on a Monday night and ate copious amounts of celebratory chocolate.
The day of our engagement party, these two ladies took me out to Emo court and set up the second most romantic picnic of my life. We ate crackers, cheese and sweets, drank Prosecco and laughed about all the bad dates that had brought me here. I would be lost without these two.
To celebrate our engagement, we had a barbecue at home with our friends and family, babies included. It was such a gorgeous night. The weather was lovely. Our friends are awesome. The food was great. Many laughs were had. Our party ended with the two of us sitting on deckchairs my dad bought for us. 2am, looking at the stars which were insanely clear that night.
Just us two. Happy out.
I’ve always been an honest woman. I’ve a sparkler on my hand alright, it’s not a diamond though. And the day out is next July.
Thanks for reading.