The boy, who had been telling us since last May that there was no way he was going to come with us after we nearly walked the legs off him last year, suddenly decided on Friday evening that he was indeed going to come along after all. So there we were at 2.45 am sat at our kitchen table eating our breakfast and laughing at how weird it was before getting into the car at 3.10 am to make the short trip to Belvedere.
We arrived around 3.45 am and joined the queue for t-shirts. Shortly afterwards, the crowd were told to start making their way out into the courtyard where we all listened to a letter from Joan Freeman being read and we were informed that there were 800+ taking part in Mullingar (although I’m pretty sure there were more than that with late registrations etc) The kids were given glow sticks to carry round and some clever people (ie not us!) brought torches and finally the walk got under way at 4 am.
Walking wise, we fared much better than last year. We weren’t walking for very long before we could get the familiar scent of Wild Garlic! The boy got tired and a little whingy after a while but that was mainly because we were going at the same pace as the rest of the crowd. After hearing me going on and on about wild garlic recently he suddenly stopped and tried to pick some. In the dark. Which I had to talk him out of incase anyone fell over us! Once we started to walk again, we slowed to a pace more suitable for short legs (his not mine…) then we were grand and he started to enjoy himself although being male he will never admit that! It had started to rain by this point but we ploughed on and by the time we got back round to the lake shore, it was getting light and what a beautiful moment that was. As always at things like this, I found myself chatting with complete strangers as we crossed the finish line about how the walk didn’t seem to be very long and that it wasn’t as hard as we thought it might be. I, along with lots of others paused to take some photos which aren’t great but my favourite is the one at the top of this post – candles arranged to spell out the word “HOPE”
It was a lovely morning, even with the rain, we could have gone back inside for tea and scones but we decided to just head home and leave the tea for people who maybe travelled further than us. We were home, into our pyjamas and back in bed by 6.30 am where we promptly fell into a deep sleep, even the boy slept til almost 10 am when he got up and asked me, “Is it still yesterday?” followed by, “Let’s have another breakfast!”