Sunflower Festival to honour Amelia, Tomas and John Mullan

A popular Sunflower Festival based in Redcastle is to be extended far and wide in memory of Amelia, Tomas and John Mullan.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 11:34 am
One of Amelia and Tomas' sunflowers from last year.
One of Amelia and Tomas' sunflowers from last year.

The Redcastle Village Association has run the festival for the past two years, with children and families finding great delight in planting their sunflowers and watching them grow.

There’s good natured rivalry in who can plant the tallest sunflower and the competition has brightened gardens and roadsides throughout the village.

The local community was left heartbroken last August following the untimely deaths of Amelia, Tomas and their father, John. With John and his wife Geraldine owning a gardening centre in their hometown of nearby Moville, flowers and growing were a massive part of their lives.

Young Amelia had even taken part in the sunflower festival and loved seeing her flowers grow, with the help of her big brother Tomas, her daddy and mum Geraldine.

This year, the event is being rolled out to the whole community across Inishowen, the North West and beyond in memory of the family. It is also hoped that the banks along the Foyle and even further will be lined with sunflowers to honour and remember Amelia, Tomas and John.

Tanya McColgan of the Redcastle Village Association said she believed families and schools would enjoy the competition and activity and it would allow them to get involved in the beauty and love of growing, with the added benefits for nature, birds and insects.

The sunflowers get transplanted from the pots into gardens and roadsides and there’s also a lot of ‘learning how to prevent the snails and slugs from eating them all -maybe just give them one!’ She added how birds ‘just love’ the seeds in Autumn time and they can be left to enjoy them.

After the planting and growing during the year, photographs of the sunflowers are taken and recorded in August. In September, the ‘beautiful images’ are shared on the Redcastle Village Association’s Facebook page. There are ‘amazing ‘ prizes of portrait photography shoots by local photographers for anyone who wants to enter the ‘Tallest Sunflower’ or ‘Nature Visitors on their Sunflower’ categories. Tanya can post out the giant sunflower seeds on request, which include Amelia and Tomas’ growing tips.

Contact Tanya on 00447552505359 with your address or message the Redcastle Village Association page

Tanya said: “Last year, Geraldine sent us photos of their children’s sunflowers, as proud daddy John watched on to see how their work progressed

“I felt a strong connection with this family through looking at the beautiful sunflowers last year and think this year we could all plant these shining flowers along the banks and gardens of the Foyle and beyond in their memory. Well, what can a community really do but let Geraldine Mullan know we are thinking of her by growing these colourful happy flowers that will look lovely around their anniversary time in August.”