This is about one woman deciding to do something very dramatic and revolutionary in Ireland…taking three acres of wet, rushy, north-facing land and planting trees like her life depended on it…it does!
Bealtaine Cottage smallholding is in the west of Ireland.
In May 2004, this was a derelict cottage on a north facing slope of three acres of wet, rushy land.
My aim, living alone and without any workforce or helpers, was to create a self-sustaining smallholding designed and constructed on Permaculture Principles.
This has included planting over 1,000 deciduous trees including two large orchards, as well as many perennials and bushes.
This all supports the developing biodiversity here at Bealtaine Cottage.
Bealtaine Cottage has evolved into an Ark for Nature, with continuous planting and expanding biodiversity.
Transforming the cottage interior has meant, wherever possible, the use of re-cycled materials.
There is the recent installation of a compost toilet, put in place to ensure waste products are managed on site.
Growing organically produced food includes a continual, all-year round supply from a purpose-built polytunnel.
Potager beds are now in their second year and producing abundantly!
The land has transformed from monoculture to Eden.
There is a continual, substantial food surplus and this is channelled into the making of wines, jams, pickles, chutney, dried foods and plants.
This approach to living on the Earth, forms the basis of an integrated approach to living with the planet, rather than on the planet.
Spinning is one of my favourite crafts, spinning wool and using the surplus ‘shoddy,’ as a fertiliser and mulch for the land.
Crafting is an ongoing learning curve, necessity being the mother of invention, as proved here with the recycled floor.
Cold composting ensures a continual development of seed production!
Bealtaine Cottage and smallholding continues to be developed in keeping with Permaculture ethics.
The addition of a wood burning stove in the sitting room and a multi fuel stove in the kitchen, has given free hot water, cooking, baking and central heating from a fire fuelled mostly with wood harvested here.
Now have a peek at the “before” pics…
Over the past 14 years of the Bealtaine Project, Colette has sought to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world, photographing and writing several thousand blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as almost 500 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!
In 2017 Colette O’Neill became a published author and was granted ‘Artist’ status by the Irish government.
Link to Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/BealtaineCottage
Collette, I love watching your channel on youtube. You have such a lovely quiet way and it brings me great peace in these troubling times. It offers me a connection too, as my Grandmother was from Ballyforan in County Roscommon. I sadly never got to meet her, she died when I was three. Your channel helps me learn a lot about my Grandmother’s birthplace and the countryside. It helps me feel connected to the land and my Irish cousins I am yet to meet. I have always loved the countryside and animals (particularly dogs and horses) but in the last couple of years I have really got into growing things. I have planted three apple trees in my garden and have more seedlings growing in the greenhouse.
Please keep doing what you do, you are a great inspiration.
Excited to make my first order, I love Colette!
I have been following your videos for years, you are such an inspiration (especially for us more mature ladies), I just love the Bealtaine Cottage project. But I also love your integrity, your soul and just your never ending love for Mother Earth.
Your latest video (regarding the horrible politicians) just brought me to tears. I was so disheartened to hear that these ‘MONGRELS’ are planning this absurd war that would just shatter our worlds.
Every night I pray to Mother Earth to heal the earth despite it’s human transgressors – surely all the wars with their bombs of hatred affects the earth so much that she bleeds like you and I.
I too do not look at any news – though it still seems to find it’s way to me, but I am glad that you chose to say what we are all thinking.
Unfortunately, I cannot go online and tell the world my feelings regarding politicians as I work for the Government here and I would lose my job (I am the only one working in my family since the big C virus – so I kinda need it at the moment)…. but I am just saying that you reflected my thoughts exactly…
I hope you enjoy your break from YouTube lovely lady and enjoy that land you are on – as I will enjoy mine!!
Blessings from Australia xxx
I’ve been following your videos and website for several years. In the past, I’ve purchased three of your books and a calendar. This year, I finally purchased A Cottage and Three Acres which arrived today. I’m looking forward to reading this first book. You are such an inspiration despite the fact I can’t do even a portion of what you do every day. My husband and I are both disabled, and he doesn’t share my vision. Still, I do all I can and thank you for your hard work and love of the land. May you soon find another dear fur companion.
I received my book a cottage and three acres. I read it in two days. I have to force myself to stop reading because I didn’t want to finish it in one day. The path you took is the same one Im on right now. I’m currently looking for land with hopefully a small house on it. Since I refuse to get trapped into a mortgage, Ive been looking into other ways to make this a reality. I feel a great kinship with your grandmother spoken about in the book. I, like your grandmother am saving funds to one day up and buy a piece of property and make it my little Eden. Reading your book made me feel like I was speaking to a best friend that understood the pull of the Earth on a person to garden and connect. It was a lovely read and was placed right next to my “Walden” and Bill Molinson and Tristan Gooley books.
This was wonderful to read, Cynthia! You are on the path to a better world for debt is enslavement indeed! Bless your efforts and determination. Blessings XXX Colette
I saw a video of you doing your washing with the outdoor kettle and that funny bubble maker
Dear Lady… I discovered your beautiful world a moment ago… You are such an inspirational woman. I live in the mountains in the Province of Quebec and as I work in my garden, I feel as if I was working with you in the air of time… I hope you are well… Love
Good morning from the state of Maine in the USA. As a long-time writer of nature essays, published in various local newspapers, it is always a joy to come across another lover and respecter of Mother Earth. I’ve been browsing your videos and website for about a week now and always find something new yet “olde” to love and admire. A lover of nature knows no distance or boundaries and hears the common message she imparts to bind us all. Blessings as you continue your own journey at your “Cottage and Five Acres.”
Thank you Rachel!
I’m having trouble with e-mail so I’m gonna post a quick comment here….
During this heat spell in the USA I found your site in a very synchronized manner. There are no accidents but synchronicity does fit the bill. I have immersed myself in nearly round the clock YouTube viewing and my deepest THANKS AND GRATITUDE go out to you. We are sisters of Mother Earth. I’m very much involved in working in the realm of tree protection/education/preservation. I must ask if you have ever watched/read any of Dianna Betesford-Kroeger’s work…a MUST! Especially her video CALL OF THE FOREST. Her history is the last of the Celtic lineage to be bestowed with the ancient ways of Ireland. She currently lives in Canada with her husband on many acres where she has done just what you are doing. Please treat yourself to a few of her books THE TREES SPEAK for one but there are many and watch some of her YouTube videos. I believe you may be kindred spirits for sure.
My parents brought my brother and I up on 13+ acres of woods on a lake and we too had a privy. It was BY FAR THE BEST CHILDHOOD and we have both become protectors of Mother Earth. When my dad who is 100 and a half joins his beloved of 71 years we will be easing into some sort of land preservation for their property in Massachusetts and another 17+ acres of pristine marsh/meadow/forest on an island in Maine called Westport Island. We too believe we have to protect all of this and even though it’s all worth millions it has no price for its beauty and purpose in the larger scheme of things. You are so RIGHT when you say we need to live simply and leave a gentle footprint on Mother Earth. Thanks again for what you are doing by having such love for all living things as well as the land. Just this morning I watched THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES by Peter Wohlleben. He is another great read/YouTube find. As a girl and now an adult….the woods, and all the beings are my companions…. We are able to communicate and I don’t feel different but privileged to be accepted by them. I hope to continue to support and defend them til I one day become a part of greater life privilege and become a nurturer of sorts for Mother Earth.
For the Love of Trees….
My post should have read Diana Beresford-Kroeger
The Spirit Of Trees by Fred Hageneder is good also; I liked your post!
I very much enjoy spending time with you at the cottage. I love how Jack’s tail wags him, and when he runs with the squeak toys. Your calming voice and beautiful scenery are soothing. It is a dream of mine to visit Ireland. i like it when you take day trips to the castles and fairy woods. Beautiful. I am catching up daily on the videos I have not seen yet, and am reading Walking between two worlds now. Can you recommend a local store/shop in your area with which I would be able to purchase a Rose Quartz Stone I would like one specifically from Ireland, as I feel it would have a special meaning to me, as much as I would love to visit and gather a stone for myself, at age almost 64, it is highly unlikely I will be visiting on this side of the veil. But to be sure I will be on the other side of the veil. In the meantime, I would like a wee souvenoir. When can I purchase a 2022 calender?
The stones I have are dug out from the soil around the cottage. I don’t know of any shops selling stones, though there would be many…an online search may bring this up. The 2022 calendar will not be ready until at least October.
Hi Colette and blessings, I have read your first book now 3 times. I will purchase your new book soon. I have just finished a book called Priteni by Ly de Angeles and wondered if you’d heard of it? It’s about the decimation of the indigenous celts written in first hand account. Also, I have my piece of land and am starting a project similar to yours in mid 2021 xxxx thank you for the inspiration and joy xxxx
I have a second and third book: In Search of The Goddess Rising. Walking Between Worlds. Good luck with your land and new venture.
Hi Colette, I have been laughing here after watching one of your videos from 3 years ago when you were painting your bedroom. I paint round everything too !
I love the videos, I think everything you have achieved is amazing.
I love gardening even though I live in a Victorian terraced house with a very small garden, I also have 2 large wooden troughs, bought when I had a larger dog who just didn’t respect my plants !
I now have a small dog , who by the way lives to watch Jack in the videos.
I have a large honeysuckle hedge in my garden, which I sometimes regret planting. I think every garden in our street has some of it now. I hope you are having a good day there, I don’t think I’m going to be going anywhere today, it’s pouring with rain here !
making bread today.
Are there before pictures of the inside of the cottage?
A few…it was pretty grim.
[…] gift of a beautiful new rabbit hole down which to venture. The evocative nearly 3 acre world of Bealtaine Cottage, a permaculture life and project of one Colette O’Neill of Co. Roscommon … (I know, I […]
I would so like to read your blogs from oldest to newest. What’s easiest way to do this?
There is a calendar on the site for your use.
August 14, 2010 your first post?
I posted many blogs on the Country Living Magazine website, but they pulled the entire site without notice and I lost everything! I started this website then.
I am still finding my way around WebPress, etc.
I found you while searching on YouTube for videos on permaculture. From the very first video, I became calmer and had hope. In addition, seeing Jack makes my heart sing (unless he gets too close to the road). I love Sammy Bear too of course and I think of Beauty often . I cannot express with words what you and your videos, website, and story have done for me. I was suicidal and now I have hope. Blessings and Peace, Colette.
Blessings to you and may your heart be content. XXX Colette
Thank you so very much, Colette.
I don’t remember how I came across your site on Youtube but I am absolutely in love with your place and hope to do some planning & perming 😉 on my small city plot this spring. Can’t wait to get the book. Thx for the inspiration!
Thank you Colette as always for sharing; as others have said your posts are not only informative and beautifully photographed but are also a tonic for the soul. X
Bless you Megan XXX
Suddenly, after a long time of uncertainty and aimlessness, your website finds me, as I was looking on youtube for songs about circle of the year ceremonies. I was instantly hooked and am nearly crying now… it feels like coming home. Now I know, I have to return to the wheel of nature and start celebrating the cornerstones of the year again and life in all it’s specialties. Because it nurtures us on such a deep level. Thank you very much for your dedication towards life and nature. With love from Switzerland.
I’m happy you have found Bealtaine Cottage…Blessings to you XXX Colette
Hi Colette….I cannot find any other way to contact you. I went to your Patreon page and had it connect to my subscriptions. You did not show up ! Maybe thats why no patrons. Also on your youtube page on the ” down below ” …try to make the links for all the ways to connect and buy your book a blue link so that people with only phones can get there easily. I dont have a copy and paste option. Love your vids. Looking forward to the book. Live in Hawaii and love your paradise better !!! ❤ Jennifer
My name on Paypal is :
Anyone wishing to donate or buy the book only has to leave a message with the donation and I will respond asap.
Thanks for the explanation ref Patreon. I don’t have a clue as to what I should do. As for the donate button on the website, I have tried fixing it by replacing, but to no avail. I will employ someone to try to remedy that at some point in the near future, as and when funds surface.
Blessings X Colette
I am now one of your patrons at the $5 tier. Just getting back on my feet after pneumonia….and please dont fret about the human race because we didnt hit like on all your videos. Basically if we subscribed in the first place it means we like ALL your videos ! Not everyone of course. But you get it… You are a magnificent Earth Mother. ( Mother also meaning martyr)…. That was a hard lesson for me too. Happy Independence Day from here in the states….but really…this time of year we are all released of something to make us more independent. Pointing the angels in your direction ! Much ❤.
Blessings your way for such a lovely comment! Living on my own it’s wonderful to hear from my other Earth Lovers! XXX Colette
Hello Colette! Just finished listening and following you in your today’s video on you tube…I was wondering…why can’t we leave comments on your You tube videos? I would so much love to thank you for all these divine moments you are giving us! Thank you! They are moments of bliss in my days!
Too many hate comments that I had to keep monitoring, as I spoke about in previous videos. Blessings X Colette
I understand Colette! This is one of the reason I left FB…This media can be so full of positive moments but so many hate comments too…I understand! Thank you Colette!
All the videos are posted on the FB page listed below the videos. You can comment there…
Well…Thank you for answering my comment…I guess I won’t be able to comment then…because I left FB a couple of months ago…I was missing the time in my garden…So no more FB for me! Have a great day Colette!
You can always drop a comment on here 🙂
You can understand the time I devote to getting Bealtaine Cottage into the world…but, it’s worth it!
And I won’t never be able to thank you enough! I really don’t know how you manage to do all this all by yourself! You must take your energy from Mother Earth!…that’s for sure! Love from Quebec!
Bless you XXX
Dear Colette, I am deeply touched by what you have created. I am curious if you offer
anything like an apprenticeship as it would be a blessing to learn with/from you.
I for one would consider it a tremendous gift and would love nothing more than that opportunity.
With deepest admiration
I will be running a series of day workshops this year…dates to be announced later this month. These workshops will be centred around the land, with a focus on healing the earth, Goddess Permaculture and the connectivity we have been educated to forget. Blessings x Colette
Oh, fantastic! I’ll keep an eye out for the dates.
Hi Colette. I would also be interested in attending a workshop sometime. Not sure exactly where you are based, but i am currently in Belfast.
Near Carrick on Shannon.
email me at email@example.com
Good evening Collette!
I do enjoy your blogs, but I would love a way to start at the beginning and read straight through both blogs over time. So far I have not been able to figure out how to do so. Is this possible? If it isn’t currently possible, could you consider doing so?
If you click on the calendar and work back that way…possibly?
That kind of worked. How far back does blog actually go?
Thank you so much for the information. I have a hobby of genealogy , but it does not go back as far as you are relating. Beale is also part of a clan in Scotland so has multiple Celtic origins.
I grew up at the foot of Beltany Hill, Co. Donegal and although we don’t live there anymore we have called our house Bealtaine/Beltany. The stone circle at Beltany dates from 1400BC and the carved stone head found there dates from somewhere between 400BC and 400AD. Beal is the Celtic equivalent of Apollo the sun god and Bealtine comes for the fire of Beal/Baal which was lit on May 1st at the start of summer in honour of the Celtic sun god. The latter may be related to Baal (meaning “master”), the forbiddden name of God in the book of Hosea (2:16).
[…] is really very tempting to leave all behind and create something like what Collette created: Bealtaine Cottage (Ireland), or a simpler and more radical but not less beautiful like what Phil did in El Pocito […]
I am fascinated by your cottage. Do you know where the name of it came from? My husband’s family was in Ireland for hundreds of years and founded a village named Mountmellick near Dublin with two other Quaker families.
Bealtaine is the old Irish for May and it’s also the first day of Summer in the Celtic calendar.
I love the harmony that you have created.Best wishes.
Dear Colette, I have just read today’s post on cottage journal, and I have found it extremely easy to use. No difficulties at all. I have so enjoyed all your posts and really enjoyed the daily postings. I hope it remains the same. Many many blessings upon you, your family, magical land, and wonderful animals.
Thanks so much Lisa…that is heartening to hear! Blessings X Colette
Wonderful! I just googled “follow your bliss” and up you came! You are truly an inspiration!
Hi Just stumbled onto this site and I am truly in awe of what you are doing. You are living the life that I want, I don’t get jealous but I think I’m close.
I’ve jsut found this site randomly, and been amazed the first sight. I am sure will be back daily to keep reading and just look at the amazing pictures.
May I ask a bit personal question? After retiring from London, do you have a “normal job”, or you can just get by by the fruits/jams/etc you are producing yourself and selling?
I am curious because one day I just want to do the same-get away from city life, and be back to Nature. But nowadays, nothing works without money and a salary..:(
We are travelling through Ireland at the end of April and was wondering if you allow visitors to the cottage?
Hi Sven, This is my 12th year working on the Bealtaine Project and the first one in which I am closed to the public…sorry! Blessings x Colette
Inspired and amazed, brilliant
Thanks David and welcome 🙂
Hi, I just found your site and I’m overjoyed!! You are living my dream!! I am so very inspired and can’t wait to read all of your blog. What you have done is truly amazing and the pictures you post are breathtaking. I am so very happy to have found you!
You are very welcome indeed to Bealtaine Cottage…blessings XXX Colette
This page is the find of my life. Although we are in Aus in a region with hot dry climate but wet and boggy in winter and many frosts, I am so inspired by your hard work. I can now stop looking for my dream property and be inspired by what you have done and try to do implement the same energy with our current property. Thank you Thank you..
Imagine it, plant it, nurture and Mother Earth will do the rest…it’s been a long time since humankind nurtured her…
I have already started nurturing but after 5 years I became uninspired as things seem to take so long and we started looking for an established property but after seeing Bealtaine, if my property (of 18 acres) looks anything like yours in 10 years I will be ready to just sit and enjoy and soak up mother nature and thank her. Cheers Jill.. p.s Thank you for inspiration and knowledge and sharing 🙂
I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland & your place seems like heaven! Cheers!
Truly inspiring, and so useful for those of us who live in Ireland and enjoy a similar climate, soil, and plants. Thank you very much and blessings from us here in West Cork.
Thanks and Blessings from Bealtaine Cottage XXX Colette
I plan to visit Ireland in September 2015 and would like to visit! Where, how, etc????
Hi Anna! 🙂 Visitors are welcome to Bealtaine Cottage and are able to book a visit through the new website, Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, where detailed maps, phone number etc are to be found. Blessings X Colette
Love your writings. Tapadh Leit. William Shaw of Easter Lair
my name is Melania I’d like to know your farm and help in the work period was need help .
Hi Melania, From the beginning I have always worked alone here at Bealtaine Cottage, but I thank you for your kind offer. X
Wonderful! Exactly what I would like to do.
Do you still have paying guests?
Hi Valerie. Bealtaine Cottage is now closed to visitors and guests for the winter.
What you’ve created is truly wonderful. Thank you for sharing your life work. ♥ Ann
Thanks Ann X
Happy Birthday Colette, may you continue to be an example to us all. I am sure that the new garden memorial to your parents will be yet another success!
Thanks Peter X
lovely to know another Goddess soul, I sometimes feel we are few, if ever you are in Clare, I would love to have you for tea and cake)0(
That’s a wonderful offer…blessings XXX
Your place is absolutely beautiful!
Words are beyond me! It’s like a small piece of heaven, and inspiring to say the least! Well done. x
I found your blog a few months ago and read it from start to finish.. and fell totally in love with Bealtaine Cottage and your posts. This is my first comment and I just wanted to say you are truly inspirational.. We grow our own fruit and veg as much as possible, keep chickens and bees and are in the process of turning our garden into a wildlife haven. I’m so glad I found your little piece of heaven.. thank you :o) xx
I am very touched by your lovely words…thanks and blessings to you XXX
Hello, I am truly moved and inspired by your wonderful life, it’s amazing. I would love to spend a night at Bealtaine Cottage and submerge myself in permaculture, which is completely new to me as of today! I have my friend Liz to thank for pointing me in your direction. What you’ve done is incredible, I absolutely salute you. Is it possible to contact you to arrange a visit?
There is a link at the top of the website…click on that and it should take you through.
incredible, amazing, absolutely amazing all that you have managed to achieve!! in such a short space of time; I am gobsmacked, inspired and remain hopeful one day I will be able to accomplish something similar in our garden; thank you for showing me it’s possible
Thanks Saskia! Blessings X
Inspirational. I am really looking forward to foraging in your treasure trove of a site and following you and Bealtaine cottage on this ever changing journey.
Blessings and welcome X