Unveiling… The Field of HOPE

As the second anniversary of the passing of her husband John and children Tomás and Amelia following a tragic accident near Quigley’s Point in Inishowen in August 2020, approaches, Geraldine Mullan speaks about an inspirational new project on a plot of farmland in the region and issues an open invite for everyone to come along from August 19 to 21.

On the rugged Inishowen coastline just beside Quigley’s Point, a special project is coming to a colourful and interesting fruition. Created in the memory of John, Tomás and Amelia Mullan and in conjunction with the Redcastle Village Association and the Mullan HOPE sunflower festival, the Field of HOPE will soon be unveiled to the passing public.

“Plant a seed and see what grows,” my John always used to say. For many years his garden centre offered rich evidence of those sage words. What started as a conversation some months ago between myself and Catherine Carlin – and with John’s refrain very much in mind – has led to an unusual transformation of Donegal coastal farmland.

Previously John McCarron would reap a nice barley crop from his two and a half acres that lie between the R238 and Lough Foyle. This year he let two ladies convince him to try something different.

Geraldine Mullan in the newly created Field of Hope.

The leap of faith was enacted in spring when he reached for sunflower seeds instead. Well his new tillage and the regular attention and care from Catherine, myself and the ‘sunflower fairies’ over the last few months has still produced a seasonal bounty of gold, it is just a slightly taller and more yellowy version than before. Bordered by a mixture of wildflowers – from poppies to calendula, from cornflowers to daisies – this little slice of radiant nature is now a colourful forecourt to the water beyond.

Just a few hundred metres from where that same water claimed my beautiful family on August 20, 2020 and where a memorial, Three Sleepers now stands in solemn commemoration, these majestic and eye-catching sunflowers are intended to bring hope in these much needed times.

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Striking memorial remembers John, Tomás & Amelia Mullan one year on from Donegal...

My motto has been ‘never lose hope’ so when we thought up this project and named it accordingly, we wondered could we go a step further and have it physically expressed by the landscape.

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Flowers in bloom at the Field of Hope.

The idea became a reality when a maze was painstakingly carved out within the crop in the shape of those HOPE letters. Not only can one stand and admire the view. but they can also take their own little journey through the field (please don’t attempt this walking in future years if John has gone back to his barley growing).

The second anniversary of my beloved John, Tomás and Amelia’s passing is August 20, 2022. The Field of HOPE will be open to the public 12pm-5pm on Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21.

*The Field of HOPE, Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal, August 19 to 21.

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An aerial view of the word 'Hope' created at the Field of Hope.
Sunflowers at the Field of Hope.
Geraldine Mullan in the newly created Field of Hope.