Colette O'Neill, Innovator of Goddess Permaculture Plantswoman Teacher Writer and Photographer
Abandoned Cottages in the West of Ireland
Wild Orchids are just some of the Wild Flowers at Bealtaine Smallholding today.
Walking the land it is amazing to see so many and such variety of Nature’s Bounty.
The leaves of an old Fern are just starting to unfurl.
Some of these Ferns growing along the bank at the back of the cottage are huge, denoting their age…10years and more!
The ruins of an old, old cottage on the hill behind this smallholding.
There are a few of these ancient remnants of a once much larger community of souls scattered on the hill of Ballyfermoyle.
Many of the lives born in these small cottages grew up and left Ireland.
Many emigrated to countries like Australia and the U.S.A.
The remnants of their lives are often dug up here at Bealtaine and sites all over the west of Ireland.
It might be that someone reading this blog is a descendant of a Ballyfermoyle emigrant.
There is a sadness around these ruins and many like them scattered the length and breadth of this land…encapsulated in the small clumps of daffodils which re-appear each Spring, reminiscent of the loving hands that planted them deep in the soil around their modest home.
These little flowers would have been the nearest the dweller would have got to gardening…their lives taken up with the burden of work to eke out a modest living.
Ash trees and Ivy grow up the inside of the gable wall of an old, stone cottage.
Large families of up to twenty children lived in tiny two bedroom cottages.
A woman I once interviewed had a family of fifteen children, born over the course of sixteen consecutive years…that is almost one child every year!
It is most likely, if your name is of Irish origin, that a home like the one above would have housed your ancestors…they would have, at least, looked out upon the great natural beauty that would have surrounded them and mourned this loss in their adopted country…