All That Was!

I was looking through some photographs taken between 2008 and 2013, that I had forgotten about and so began some quiet reflection as I studied them.
2008 was a mere four years into the Bealtaine Project, a time when the back-breaking work of mowing and planting, trying to make a living in order to pay the mortgage and caring for my two eldest grandchildren was my daily work, leaving little time, or money for any kind of self-care.
It was also a time when the gardens and woodland was in it’s infancy and structures like this Willow Arch flourished in the brightness of a very young woodland…no shade as yet!
It was a time when Kilronan Mountain was fully visible from the North Bank of the cottage and the Alder tree still inhabited the edge of the bank!
The work continued unabated through each season, as my wellies wore out and leaked, causing chilblains on toes and discomfort. I wore out not just wellies, but spades, four of them, and several mowers as well as strimmers!
It was in the days before Kilronan Castle was rebuilt as a grand hotel, allowing my little family to explore the haunted ruins and picnic in it’s shady demesne.
Some of these photos are from even earlier years, perhaps 2006/7…
It was a time of saving turf on the bog and then visiting in winter to see if there was any still in stacks along that I had missed…fuel cost money I simply did not have!
Still, days of poverty were also days of plenty, as I watched the swans on Lough Meelagh, or was greeted by mists over the mountains that my grandsons and I called “Dragon’s Breath!”
These photographs were found at a most auspicious time as the world emerges from the lockdown imposed by Covid 19, into an uncertain rebirthing, where all that was is now contained in the previous chapter and all that will be unfolds as we tentatively turn the pages of the story of our lives.
This is a time to look to what has endured, timelessly down through millennia and know that we also have endured…and will continue to do so, but with a new story to tell. A story that, if we are to go forward, will see us re-aligning our values with what really matters…Mother Earth!
This strange stone mound is burrowed into the bank behind the Stone Circle and is half-hidden by Ferns and shrubs…I deliberately do not show this, for it is part of another story…
Here we are in the month of Bealtaine 2020, with trees that now cast shade and a landscape enriched by love, care and devotion to the Great Mother. It is a good base on which I can move forward. The times are changing and change is what we make it!
Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what we have and what we do not need as we prepare to step into the new world!

Note: My address and email are now on the right side of this page. Sadly I do not have the time to respond to personal emails.

Bealtaine Bookshop: open as always!

I refuse to avail of the income derived from allowing Ads on ANY of the Bealtaine Cottage social media, so a big thank you for supporting the Bookshop and my Patreon Page. All of what I do is for ALL to benefit from, nothing is behind a Paywall.

This website costs me a little over €300 per year to host all my work…hundreds of blogs and over 20,000 photographs, with NO ADVERTISING allowed, enabling me to keep total creative control over my work.

All books, maps and calendars are printed here in Ireland and posted from my local Post Office…NOT ONE CENT goes to the world’s first TRILLIONAIRE, Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon.


Blessings to each and every one of you XXX Colette and Jack


  1. Hi Colette!

    I am so enjoying learning about permaculture from you, having discovered you recently during a search on the subject. I am the managing editor for the San Diego Horticultural Society’s Newsletter and we have a member permaculture columnist who introduced me to the subject and has ultimately lead me to you and Bealtaine Cottage. I intend to thank her as well, but – thank you!

    I have been systematically reading and watching your work from older to newer and I understand from my reading that you lost blog posts prior to 2010(ish) that were hosted on another site when they closed up shop. Have you tried to retrieve them using the internet archive at Wayback Machine? You probably have, but if you haven’t here’s the address –

    This site helped me find some of my own work that was lost from my old website that crashed with an old computer.

    I’ve ordered your books and look forward to them arriving soon.

    Be well, stay safe, keep up the great work,
    Karen England (an American…)

  2. Is your subscription site still going? I’ve been reading through your older posts as I wait for my books order to arrive, and in some of those older posts you talk of subscribing but I think it may no longer be in use. If it is though, I’d like to subscribe. 🤞🤞

    • All Bealtaine Cottage across all of social media is both free and and free from advertising. This is to ensure unlimited public access. At one point in time I was rather fiscally challenged, but subsequently decided to make it my business to die in debt, as a lasting legacy to those who have destroyed Mother Earth! As an O’Neill, rebellion is second nature!

  3. Colette, you are precious and your work is precious. Thank you for all of the work you have done and all of the work you are doing. I’ve followed your blog for a long time, silently, and it’s been a miracle to see the paradise you’ve nurtured unfold. I hope we can all be inspired to do what we can in our own way.

  4. You have come a long way! Blossoming along with those wonderful gardens you have tended for so long. Every word you post and each photo is such a blessing and an inspiration to all of us following your blog. Thank you for sharing it and i look forward to many more years of watching all the changes you and Beltaine Cottage will go through. Many Blessing to you.

  5. So enjoy your lovely blog! A bit of peace in these unusual times. Thank You!

  6. A beautiful post which lifted my heart. Thank you so much. I have shared it as its so important at this time to be reminded of our connection to nature. I do hope that when we come out of this we will not return to our old ways. Two phrases stood out for me, very relevant I felt: “days of poverty were days of plenty” and “time to look at what we have and what we do not need.” Thanks again for all your wisdom. Many blessings.

  7. As a fellow gardener, I appreciate the before and after photos. The clematis looks divine. I live in Chicago and I don’t think I can grow that variety here; would be nice though.

  8. I just cannot do FB (Farce-Block) and many other social media, as this wordpress is just about as far as I can cope with communicating to the world.

  9. I bow to you Colette for embodying the fierce love, compassionate heart and inspiring devotion that is the Earth Goddess we all wish to exemplify as you do. May She guide us to co-create Eden, large and small, day by day, with all of life’s strength and miracles She freely gives us. Blessings of health and prosperity to you and Jack!

  10. Beautiful as always Colette , and so true . This is a new beginning . Blessings to you and Jack xxx

  11. Marvelous photos, Colette. It is so exciting to see the transformation in between the start photos and how Bealtaine looks today. The mound behind the stone circle somehow reminds me of the visitor you had in the poly tunnel that day. Wonder if there is a connection? Blessings on your house, blessings on our land, blessings on your life.
    and Jack too! xxoo

    • Yes, in my experience with this ancient land and all its mysteries, there definitely is a connection…but I would be very sad to see this earth dug up…

  12. Hi Collette!
    I don’t belong to Facebook or other sites but decided to get started on this because I am so impressed with your philosophy and your beautiful space. Like you I started out about 20 years ago with 2 acres of terrible land and have done much of the same things you are doing. Initial start up is backbreaking work but now everything I plant feeds something or someone and the response from Mother Nature has been tremendous. Animal shelters in the back area are full of little creatures and birds singing in the morning is deafening. Thank you so much for all you do and for validating what I’ve been doing. Many laugh at what I have done as I’m always focused on what is outside and taking care of it.But now I can see through you that it is more important than any of us realize. Blessings to you and Mr. Jack.

  13. Beautiful photos as always, Colette! Synchronously, this morning I had a dream where people came to my house to get me to review my life since 2008. The dream ended up telling me I had made good progress and was much more prepared than I thought was. I had just typed that up and saw your post about taking “stock of what we have and what we do not need as we prepare to step into the new world.” Indeed!

    Thanks for your deep love of Mother Earth and all her facets. Continued blessings to you and all at Beltaine Cottage!

  14. Hi Colleen, I’m so happy that I found you and your site online. You are doing everything I consider to be important, and I get a lot of pleasure in listening to you and seeing all the things that delight you (because they delight me also). I have been wanting to come to live in Ireland ever since I spent several months there working as a helper, doing mostly gardening, after I retired. Health issues got in the way, a while back, but I’m feeling much better now. I wonder if you happen to know of anyone, or could put me in touch with anyone, who might have a place that I could rent (in the country rather than a town) …. a small place with just the basics is all I need. I have a Public Services Card so coming to live in Ireland isn’t a problem. I have my own money and wouldn’t need assistance of any kind. I’m just putting it out there, to you, because it’s your familiar territory. I’d be most happy to uproot myself from western Canada to move to Ireland. I know you don’t have time to answer all emails, but if by any chance you can help me with this, I’d truly appreciate it. Wishing you continued success and happiness, all the best,
    Pat Quon (

  15. I admire you to the heavens and respect your path. I too take this path, and so you know I do. I will not throw a penny toward the Bezos’ empire, and will conserve and love our mother earth as best I can do on my plot, as well. God Bless you, Colette O’Neill!

Your comments are welcome!