Baltimore harbour and beach, proposal

The Proposal!

This could quite possibly be the most exciting blog post we’ll ever write…

Two weeks ago I came home from work on a Friday evening to find two suitcases on the spare bed, one packed full of Dan’s clothes and the other ready and waiting for me to fill for a surprise weekend away.

I had no idea where Dan was taking me, the only clues I could spot was the envelope of Euros on the sideboard, the passports on top of the suitcase and the cute but slightly nervous grin on Dan’s face.

I packed as best I could for the unknown and got straight to bed ready for the 4am wake up call. When we arrived at the airport Dan told me the flight number so I eagerly scanned the departures board… we were off to beautiful Ireland.

After a glass of champagne and a bacon roll in the VIP lounge and a quick airplane ride we landed on the Emerald Isle.

Dan quickly whisked us off to an indoor English market in Cork full of delicious delights. He said he wanted to buy all the ingredients we needed in order to remake our first date meal… my heart skipped a beat!

Farmers Market, Cork, Ireland Farmers Market, Cork, IrelandWe bought a selection of tapas from tapenade and olives to cured meats and matured cheeses.

Farmers Market, Cork, Ireland Farmers Market, Cork, Ireland Farmers Market, Cork, IrelandAnd stocked up on plenty of breads, the local Joe’s Strong Sourdough was absolutely delicious!

Farmers Market, Cork, Ireland Farmers Market, Cork, IrelandWe also bought the ingredients needed to make moules marinière and Spanish paella, our cosy first date feast.

Farmers Market, Cork, Ireland Farmers Market, Cork, IrelandWe spent ages browsing all the stalls and counters and sampling all the offerings but soon found our bellies rumbling for something a little more substantial.

We headed down the street to find a lovely, quaint restaurant called Market Lane and stopped for lunch and a glass of wine.

Daniel opted for a pulled pork brioche with hand cut chips and I demolished a smoked haddock dish with sauce vierge and a smoked croqueta.

Both the meals and the service were fantastic, we’d definitely recommend you visit if you ever find yourself in Cork.

Market Lane Restaurant, Cork, Ireland Market Lane Restaurant, Cork, IrelandAfter a coffee we headed on our way, this is when the trip really gets exciting…

Dan drove us about an hour and a half down the south coast of Ireland towards a little town called Baltimore.

We arrived at Ardagh Castle Goat Farm and pulled up outside the most charming cottage we have ever laid our eyes upon.

It was about this time that I found out this was our home for the next 3 nights and that Dan had even secretly booked me a couple of days off work too!

Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Irelands Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Irelands Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Irelands Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Irelands Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, IrelandsOnce we’d settled in, which was helped by the exceptionally warm welcome from Gwyn and Christine who own the farm and beautiful cottages, we set to work on recreating our first date meal.

Dan lit the fire and I began cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Irelands Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Irelands First Date Meal, Mussels, Paella, Proposal First Date Meal, Mussels, Paella, Proposal First Date Meal, Mussels, Paella, Proposal First Date Meal, Mussels, Paella, ProposalAfter the meal and a few glasses of bubbly Dan arose from the table and took my hands. Standing in the middle of our cottage, with clammy hands, the fire crackling behind us and Boyce Avenue playing in the background, Dan began kneeling in front of me.

Out popped the most beautiful ring I have ever seen and the words; ‘Nicola Hodgson, will you marry me?’

I obviously yelped; ‘YES!’

Proposal in Ireland Proposal in IrelandWhat followed was a mountain of phone calls home to our eagerly awaiting family and friends and many ‘I can’t believe that just happened’ moments… and of course, lots of tears!

We sat and discussed, over a glass of fizz, how Dan had been planning this proposal for the last six months and had secretly been disappearing off to London to design the engagement ring in Hatton Gardens.

After a crazy beautiful evening we tried our best to get to sleep. We still had a busy few days ahead of us which we were ready to share as a newly engaged and excited couple.

The following morning we started engaged life with one of our favourite breakfasts; smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toasted sourdough and then headed off to Baltimore.

Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Egg and Sour Dough, Breakfast

Baltimore harbour and beach, proposal Baltimore harbour and beach, proposal Baltimore harbour and beach, proposal Baltimore harbour and beach, proposal Baltimore harbour and beach, proposalOne of the favourite parts of our trip (obviously second to the proposal!) was finding a secluded part of the beach where we sat and took in the last 24 hours.

Baltimore beach, Ireland, proposal Baltimore beach, Ireland, proposal Baltimore beach, Ireland, proposal Baltimore beach, Ireland, proposalAfter stopping off to see the Baltimore Beacon we headed back to the cottage and set up a little picnic in our garden.

Baltimore Beacon, Ireland Baltimore Beacon, Ireland Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland, Picnic Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland, Picnic Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland, PicnicThe afternoon was spent cycling around the local area, another highlight of the trip. Ireland really is so beautiful.

Cycling in Baltimore, Ireland Cycling in Baltimore, Ireland Cycling in Baltimore, Ireland Cycling in Baltimore, IrelandThe following couple of days were a whirlwind of weird and wonderful adventures.

As we were staying on a goats farm we thought it was rude not to try our hand at milking the goats and seeing how Gwyn and Christine made their delightful cheese.

Goats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland Goats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland Goats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, IrelandGoats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland Goats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, IrelandDan was a natural… I was not!

Goats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, Ireland Goats, Ardagh Castle Goat Farm, Baltimore, IrelandGwyn and Christine only moved to the farm in Ireland 8 months ago, a completely different world to their old life in Kent, but it was incredible to see two people embracing their new life so admirably. Keeping up the goat farming and still making cheese to support the local community, what an inspiring couple.

Goats Milk, Cheese, Ardagh Castle Goats Farm, Baltimore, Ireland Goats Milk, Cheese, Ardagh Castle Goats Farm, Baltimore, Ireland Goats Milk, Cheese, Ardagh Castle Goats Farm, Baltimore, IrelandFor the rest of our trip we visited some local towns and Dan had lined up a few more surprises; afternoon tea overlooking the beach and a Damien Rice concert! What a fantastic fiancé I have!

Local Town, Ireland Local Town, Ireland Local Town, Ireland Local Town, Ireland Local Town, IrelandThis was certainly a trip to remember, the Emerald Isle was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined and we cannot wait to return some day as husband and wife.

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5 thoughts on “The Proposal!

  1. Great stuff. Well played Dan. And you couldn’t have made a better choice than Ardagh Castle Goat Farm ‘cos it meant that you got to meet a very special couple in Chris and Gwyn. Our loss in Kent is Ireland’s gain. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

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