Permaculture Cottage ~ Lughnasa and the Celtic Calendar

The feast of Lugh, Lughnasa, or Lughnasadh happenssoon…on the eve, which is the 31st of July. A time for a bonfire and celebrations of the harvest…celebrations here at Bealtaine Cottage will be focused around a rather small outdoor fire but with the equivalent gusto of the eve that’s in it!

 The Festival of Lughnasadh

This was  said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Little changed there then, as most of the agricultural work in many African countries is carried out by women!

In days of old, Lughnasadh was a favoured time for  trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.

 Lughnasa is the first of the three autumn harvest festivals. The Autumn Equinox and Samhain, or Halloween, being the other two.

Already there is a feel of Autumn in the air and can be seen in the plant life as harvests begin and fruits ripen on the trees. The days have shortened, now over a month past the longest day.

Here, plums ripen on one of the trees at Bealtaine Cottage and nettles produce their seeds…


Flowers like this Perscaria Bistorta, a late flowering perennial, begin to show a magnificence beyond their humble beginnings!

Irish calendar

is a pre-Christian, Celtic system of keeping the year and still in popular use today to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals.

  The meteorological seasons  begin on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1.

The Irish Calendar observes the equinoxes and solstices and has a more realistic seasonal observance…

  • Spring – February, March, April.
  • Summer – May, June, July.
  • Autumn – August, September, October.
  • Winter – November, December, January.

These seasons are much more in keeping with the observations I make here at Bealtaine Cottage and I would abide by these dates rather than any other.


  1. I am reading your earlier posts whilst convalescing from the flare up of a health condition. The Irish calendar is very interesting and as you say, much more in keeping with the seasons. Although I am unable to garden at present I am learning a lot and feeling very inspired by your posts. I can’t wait to get out to tend my little patch again.
    Am not sure you will find my comment way back here? but I send my heartfelt thanks for all you share – I had not heard of permaculture and many of the other wonderful things you talk about until I found this space. It all makes the most perfect sense to me. Nature is so beautiful, so vibrant and yet people often fail to notice, I am really hoping that will change.
    When I was a child and people offered to take me to the shops to buy something for me, I always said I would much prefer go to the park and feed the ducks. I hated the shops (still do). My daughter takes after me, her first word was ‘fower’ (her attempt at saying flower).

    • I hope you’re recovering well and soon able to tend your garden. I am sending you good wishes and blessings from Bealtaine Cottage. It makes me happy to know this little patch of earth inspires!
      Colette X

Your comments are welcome!