Celebrating Lughnasa

Lughnasa (earlier, Lughnasadh) was the feast of Lugh.  A harvest festival, its celebration marked the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest. Its original name does not survive in popular tradition, that being now the common word in Irish (Lúnasa) for the month of August.  The festival is rather known as the Sunday of Crom Dubh (the god of harvest), or in varying areas as Lammas Sunday, Garland Sunday, Bilberry Sunday, or Fraughan Sunday. The first weekend in August marks Ireland’s changing-of-the-season festival of Lughnasa. The Irish playwright, Brian Friel, wrote the now famous,“Dancing…

Monsanto and Why Your Vigilance is Needed…

We have been informed that Monsanto are backing out of Europe. We have been told that Monsanto do not see a viable market for their GMOs in the EU. However, it is important to realise that Monsanto have cultivated friends in the highest echelons of government worldwide. The EU is now officially in bed with the US administration, via the recently verified Trade Agreement. Monsanto are not going away. The lure of money and power is too great! Be vigilant! Monsanto have been around for some time and used to playing the long game. Do not let your guard slip…

Where Permaculture meets Buddhism

There has been hardly a day this Spring and Summer when Bealtaine Cottage has not welcomed visitors. Often times I am left exhausted by the challenge of working, to keep production going and keeping a “welcome for all” There have been occasions when I have had to turn away requests to visit…and I spend time regretting it, but I work on my own and have others to care for at times. This morning I received an email from visitors who came to see Bealtaine on Friday last. I thought I would share this with you, for what Michael has to…

A Sacred Space for the Mind

The morning was misty, with an autumnal feel in the air…cool and damp with dew. Cobwebs hung on trees and bushes, sometimes stretching for metres in the air. It felt so liberating to just amble around with tea in one hand, camera in the other and not be oppressed with heat. I don’t tolerate heat too well and look forward to autumn, it being my favourite season of all. The early morning sun began to evaporate the mist, bringing to mind the day ahead and all that needed to be done.  I love the time in the morning before any…

Cottage Garden Harvest

Red onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. The Permaculture harvest is on it’s way. I am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants! The rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft! Herbs and seeds are coming into their own! Potatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up! Blackcurrants are taking over the gardens! Apples are plumping out… Runner beans are seeking Heaven… Raspberries are being…

Carbon Taxes Won’t Save Us!

Today, I was feeling just a teensy bit down. It’s a rare experience for me. Life is so full on here at Bealtaine, that positivity fills the day, running from one task to the next and looking forward to a brief sit down and a cup of tea. But today, something caught up with me…a growing feeling of fragility that I had suppressed for a long time. Weakness in the face of disaster. Fear. I have spent much of my life suppressing fear. To be honest, most people have too. Carrying life, caring for life, creates a deep fear…of birth…

In Search of Fairies on a Summer Eve…

It could be the way the light hangs in the sky this evening… Or the stillness of the air as a mist starts its’ way up the valley… Or may even be the predominance of moths fluttering in the still air down in the Fairy Wood, in the gardens below the cottage… I’m walking the gardens in search of the Fairies. Although most people here in the West of Ireland will tell you they’ve left the fairy faith in the past, there is a lingering moment, between asking whether or not they believe in the Fairies, and the reply in…

Always an Upside!

It is very hot and very, very dry. The well has dropped low and trickles down to the cottage, threatening water supply to the tank in the loft. Plants are thirsty and the rain barrels are empty. A potential disaster ensues if the clouds don’t spill the rain soon! However, there is always an upside…sometimes one just has to search around a little. I found it! This is perfect weather for harvesting seed that is ripe and there are lots of it! The seed is dry and the air is dry…that makes for perfect harvesting in my experience! And so…

The Transmigration of the Soul

The Romans conquered Europe, but resolutely refused to invade Ireland, despite ruling England, Wales and Scotland for several hundred years. Recently I have made a concerted effort to find out why this was…Why continual Roman Emperors left Ireland alone…? What crops up in my investigations time and again, is the issue of the ancient Celtic belief in the transmigration of the soul. This was not just something that was taught by the Druids, but an unshakeable conviction in the afterlife…one so strong, that it made them absolutely fearless in battle. Transmigration of the soul is a doctrine of reincarnation. Within…