Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Ireland, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Eve in Ireland

 

The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.
The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.

 

The rain taps on the cottage roof as the Eve of Bealtaine draws in.

All the dry, warm weather is ended abruptly with heavy, rhythmic rain.

The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come...
The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come…

 

This Summer’s Eve will be freshened with Atlantic rain and the dry earth will release scents of green…yes, indeed, colour has a scent!

Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day
Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day

 

Bealtaine is the oldest festival in all of Europe and was historically celebrated on the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath.

looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine
looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine

 

This ancient ceremonial hill was, and remains, a sacred place and one of the most significant places of ancient ritual in all of Ireland.

Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage

 

This was the home of the Goddess Eriu…a place of High Kings and Tribes, a gathering place, where laws were passed and old allegiance re-newed!  

Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch
Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch

 

Bealtaine“Beacon-fires lit upon its summit could be seen over a quarter of Ireland, and in most directions the hills upon the horizons could relay the message of the beacon as far as the sea-coast.  The claim of Uisneach to be the centre of Ireland is thus quite justifiable, even though it may not be mathematically accurate.”[Macalister]

Bealtaine Eve in an Irish  Permaculture Garden.
Bealtaine Eve in an Irish Permaculture Garden.

 

In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer and the bright half of the year started with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

Seedlings and new growth
Seedlings and new growth

 

May Summer be long and joyful for you, with a great harvest all the way through.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Current Affairs, Ecology, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Smallholding, Trees, Woodland

National Tree Day Ireland and the Kindness of the Twitter Community!

The package from the USA could not have arrived at a better time…for Thursday the 11th of October is National Tree Day here in Ireland!

There are so many fabulous, caring people on Twitter, that it has become, for me, more than just a social media.

David, one of a fantastic group of people, answered my call for seeds to plant here at Bealtaine Cottage, with a box full of tree seeds…acorns, all different varieties!

The excitement here at the cottage was tangible as the post arrived and the package from America was opened.

Tara, from new York City, also sent me some wonderful Black Tomato seeds.

Lá na gCrann 2012
TREE DAY 2012 is a day for reminding everyone about the importance of trees. Ireland was once a much forested land, leading up to the 16th century.

At the end of the 16th century, Ireland was still a relatively wooded country, with one-eight of its surface area covered in forests, but this was soon to change and the continued decimation of the Irish forests continued unabated until the present day.

Ireland currently has about 11% tree cover, but if one takes into account the fact that about half of that, at least, is the horrid, tightly planted, plantations of Sitkha Spruce, then the actual coverage figure is considerably lower…possibly as little as 5%! We need to plant trees!

In Elizabethan times, the extent of the forests in the southwest of Ireland was almost legendary.

 The Irish forests were a considered to be an impediment to troop movements and a place of concealment for Irish rebels…not unlike the merry men of Sherwood Forest and their  use of the trees as protectors of their freedom, so much so that Sir John Perrot, Queen Elizabeth’s representative in Ireland, suggested that the woods be cut to ”deprive the rebels of their place of succour”.

English settlers started the clearance of the forests for their own security and prosperity.

Wood was a much traded commodity, as boats and houses were built using the precious resource.

Today has been a good tree planting day here at Bealtaine Smallholding, with two fine Sweet Chestnuts being planted…both gifts from well-wishers…Thank you Helen and Blair from Sligo!

As the Autumn moves through towards midwinter and into Spring, any fine day is good for planting trees, so there is much opportunity ahead of us.

This Thursday will be a day for planting trees and thinking about the importance of trees in our lives…for, without them, we have no life!