“I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.”

~ Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland


Walking through the upper gardens this morning and snapping photographs as I went…

DSC06686As I walked I thought about my Mother, my Grandmother and some of the women who have influenced my life, as Mother’s Day approaches…

DSC06687Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland was certainly one of those women!

DSC06694“The Irish presidential election of 1990 was the tenth held in Ireland and the first to include a female candidate. Independent politician Mary Robinson would go on to hold office for the next seven years. In the 1990 election, the Labour Party let it be known that it would run a candidate for the first time and nominated Robinson, a former Labour Party senator, and liberal campaigner. The renegade had been involved in the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform and is widely regarded and respected as atransformative figure in Ireland for liberalizing and revitalizing what was a conservative and low-profile political office. She was a remarkably popular president.” ~


And so the transformation of Ireland and Irish politics began.

The patriarchal system of state and church had been given a bit of a shake down, but the real change began as we all began to feel more confident about questioning the world in which we lived.

DSC06672My own questions formed around the environment in which I lived, most importantly the Earth and our relationship with her.

I dreamed about returning to Ireland and challenging the status quo of land stewardship. Was it possible to do the seemingly impossible and recreate the Ireland of my deepest dreams?

A land of trees and woodlands, abundant wildlife, flowers and rich, seasonal colour?

A land of abundant food and shelter?

A land dedicated to the Great Mother…Earth?

Moreover, to even attempt to do this on some of the poorest land in Ireland?

DSC06682I felt empowered by Mary Robinson, as many women at home and abroad felt and continue to feel empowered.

DSC06683The opportunity to fulfil my dream came over a decade later, when, throwing all caution to the wind, I embarked on what was to become known as the Bealtaine Project.

DSC06685The book, “A Cottage and Three Acres,” picks up the story…

As I worked, sometimes into the night, planting and tending a hopeless looking land, I felt continual waves of compassion for Mother Earth.

I coaxed her, talked to her and sometimes even sang to her, the way one does with a seriously ill patient whose doctors have all but given up hope.

DSC06695I was not the only one though, for many, many others were embarking on a similar path all across Earth.

DSC06698I spoke with all who visited Bealtaine Cottage about Mother Earth, when few people seemed to recognise her plight.

But, something very incredible was happening…

DSC06699There was a distinct sense of energy rising from the very Earth herself…a form of communication at the most deeply intuitive level.

DSC06708 After years of feeling outcast because of what I sensed and felt, there happened a mighty shift in perception.

DSC06714As I began to write and photograph what was happening at Bealtaine, so many of you tuned in…often in the most serendipitous of ways!

DSC06715But, it was not accidental, for all is connected and often in ways we do not understand.

DSC06717And so the website began reaching  people all over the world.

DSC06718What began as an impossible dream, became a reality of hope for many…that nothing is impossible!

DSC06723That the doors of perception are not locked and barred!

DSC06724We are all, each and every one of us on an incredible journey, each one unique, yet deeply connected to all and everything.

We may live alone, but we are never alone.

DSC06730We are beautiful souls experiencing a human journey with the greatest Mother of them all…our own Mother Earth.

Happy Mother’s Day!


A Cottage and Three Acres by Colette O’Neill


  1. A woman in a course that I’m doing at the moment told me about your cottage at the weekend. Your blog is gorgeous,and I hope to visit Bealtaine soon, to gently coax my dad and inspire him into working with Mother Earth instead of fighting against nature the whole time. Thank you for doing what you do. Love and light x

  2. So beautiful! Thank you so very much for sharing this beautiful land with us! You are so blessed to have the strength, knowledge and most of all, the desire to give so much back to the earth in the way that you do! Your hard work and love for the land really shows in the beauty you have grown, shaped and nurtured. Much love and blessings to you!

  3. There is an abundance of joy, beauty, tenderness, strength and love in your words; the very essence of motherhood itself which is reflected in your amazing gardens. You are a leading light to all those who need the courage to choose a simpler yet more enriched life, an example to all who work with the land in the way Mother Earth deserves. Thank you for your wonderful book; your work and dedication is an important and valuable contribution to this world, a legacy for future generations. X

  4. A beautiful post! My book arrived yesterday and I’m so pleased. What an amazing journey it’s been and continues to be! I’m so glad I discovered your blog all those years ago. Thank you for sharing your journey with the world! ❤

  5. I would like to order your book but I live in the US. How do I do this with the currency difference? Thanks.

  6. With tears on my face I would like to say a very big thank you for bringing us home to Mother
    Blessings Colette
    Gail x

  7. Glad to see you back with a new post. A perfectly expressed sentiment of love and appreciation for our wonderful Mother. Likewise with the emotional feelings and even though they do bring tears they are the tears of relief and joy at the connection. So absolutely brilliant that there are so many people all over the world feeling the same.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you too – for mothering all your plants that you share so generously.

  8. Thank you quiet nice to behold your legend and learn so much love.

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

  9. Your words reached deep into my soul today, I love watching the progress of your gardens you words and photos inspire me to keep at my garden here in Florida. This year I am leaning more toward the native plants and letting a few areas grow wild for the wildlife, especially the birds that seem too often to loose more and more resting places as homes pop up everywhere. I have added several bee houses and they are all actively in use.

  10. Mary Robinson was an inspiration ,not just in Eire .
    Have you thought of sending her a copy of your book ? I’m sure she’d love it !

    blessings ,
    M xx

  11. So beautifully told Colette , we are so blessed to feel so connected to our wonderful Mother Earth. Often I stand in my garden and feel so emotional that I get reduced to tears. I used to wonder what was going on with me but since I have been listening to your heartfelt words I know now that I am not alone and that it is my love for Mother Earth . Lovely photos as usual . Blessings xxx

Your comments are welcome!