Posted in Cottage, Country Living, Interior Design

Evening in an Irish Cottage…

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The sun has set into the west, far out on the Atlantic Ocean and the night draws in.

DSC09709The candle is lit in the kitchen window, a soft light to welcome the night, while on the far side of the room a small lamp illuminates the dark. 

DSC09712“I love to watch the fine mist of the night come on,
The windows and the stars illumined, one by one,
The rivers of dark smoke pour upward lazily,
And the moon rise and turn them silver. I shall see
The springs, the summers, and the autumns slowly pass;
And when old Winter puts his blank face to the glass,
I shall close all my shutters, pull the curtains tight,
And build me stately palaces by candlelight.”
Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal 

DSC09711The Blackbird has sung out the day and in the night, as it flies around it’s territory, marking out it’s boundary in song.

DSC09708“Inhale and hold the evening in your lungs.”
Sebastian Faulks, Engleby 

DSC09717“Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev’ning in.”
William Cowper, The Complete Poetical Works of William Cowper 

DSC09713The time between blue and black is quiet, almost timeless.

DSC09715There is an ethereal glow that conjures night.

DSC09716And slowly, slowly, the hush becomes night.

DSC09714Goodnight from Bealtaine Cottage…goodnight.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, holiday, Ireland, ocean, surfing, wild atlantic way

Wild Atlantic Way

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A visit to the wild Atlantic Ocean marks the day that’s in it!

The turning of another year for me, so close to the Celtic New Year, I can almost taste the wood-smoke in the air from Samhain bonfires.

The ocean is strong and volatile today, churning and heaving life, as it crashes on the stony shore of Strandhill in Sligo.

This is my birthday, the beginning of my sixth decade experience with Mother Earth.

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Visiting the Ocean is as close as I can get to her heart beat, rhythmic and strong…pounding out the pulse of life upon the shores of this most westerly habitation.

White horses ride the water as it breaks further out.

Children are on mid-term holiday from schools and line the promenade, with parents keeping watchful eye on the wild foam.

I look for a small stone upon the shore, one I can put into my pocket and hold easily in my hand as we venture home.

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I feel renewed, invigorated, and ready to leave the last decade behind me, as I embrace the first day of my future.

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Thanks to all you wonderful friends…it’s been a beautiful first day!

XXXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage XXXX

Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Earth, Inspiration, Life, News, Permaculture, Politics, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Game of Thrones

www.bealtainecottage.comWestern skies move slowly, as clouds bank up from the Atlantic Ocean.

www.bealtainecottage.comWarm air merges with rain sodden earth and the mist rises, wisping it’s way over mountains, that sweep down to bog and lough on the western shores of Europe.

www.bealtainecottage.comIreland moves inexorably towards Midsummer and Solstice.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002The settlements dotting the landscape are timeless, houses today, cottages not so long ago and earth forts before that.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Mountain, sky, water and earth hold the memory of past lives, all gazed upon by peoples from the past, invader and native alike.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis land has captivated the hearts of countless generations, breaking many on the way.

www.bealtainecottage.com 041Revered as sacred, farmed and fought over, grown men have wept unashamedly, as they left from the American Wake, never to return.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Everything we have comes from the land; food, clothes, homes, furniture and health…especially health.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056The cycle of life is bound, woven tightly, into the land.

www.bealtainecottage.com 042We are woven into the land, despite the layers of seeming impermeability we  weave between ourselves and the sacred earth.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011In these days of threat and uncertainty, as our leaders play out the dangerous game of thrones that threatens war, our return to the land affords us time of calm and meaning.

www.bealtainecottage.com We inhabit one very small and exquisitely beautiful planet in a universe of dying stars.

www.bealtainecottage.comWe are of stardust itself…united on this small, blue, beautiful planet. 

Posted in Abundance, Badgers, Bealtaine Cottage, Gardens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Woodland

Free to Install, Renewable, Clean Energy

www.bealtainecottage.com

Coppicing has taken up much of the day.

It’s remarkable just how much wood can be grown from scratch on a small amount of land.

It’s safe to say that there is a surplus of wood here, much of which will continue to grow until next winter.

Coppicing increases the amount of wood growing, as each cut tree will produces up to half a dozen more trees and so the stock increases.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe logs are easy to cut, no chainsaw is required and the cut wood dries out quicker.

The brushwood makes excellent kindling!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the most environmentally friendly energy on the planet, totally renewable and beneficial to wildlife, water and air!

Can it get any better?

Then why, oh why are governments not rushing to plant deciduous trees and develop wood-burning stove systems in homes? 

 

www.bealtainecottage.com

Cutting back hedging and dead growth continues apace…I can see the steps once more!

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Spurge has come up early, carpeting the Fairy Wood with soft green.

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There is a gradual movement of green through the land from this Spurge, all the way through to the Mosses and Lichens of Autumn.

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The badgers will come through the wood soon and disturb some of this Spurge in their quest for food, but that disturbance will help in the spreading of this lovely carpet.

As it begins to die back a little, the primroses will make their appearance…and so the succession continues.

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Clouds have maintained a westerly sweep, in from the Atlantic Ocean, heavy with rain.

The wind has calmed down, thankfully…I worry that my cottage roof may get blown away.

It’s old and in need of replacement!

www.bealtainecottage.com

 More rain is on the way.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe forecast is simply that, more rain to follow!

www.bealtainecottage.comStill, living on a hill is a bonus, for as I turn around and point the camera at the  wide expanse of sky, it is blue…and there’s the moon!

 

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Personal

A Rite of Passage

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A mighty storm rages around Bealtaine Cottage as I write.

The morning is filled with roars and whoops of wind as it smashes in from the Atlantic Ocean, enveloping the land with angry energy.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe gable end of this little cottage faces into the west and the worst of Nature’s wrath.

The trees slow it down, calming and sifting its robust anger.

I sit by the table near the window on the north-side, occasionally glancing out when the tempest noise rises.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0341.jpgOver recent days, the need to be with my mother has taken over, as she gently leaves this world, moving and shifting in little caresses of energy, back, towards the Divine.

cropped-0056.jpgHer rite of passage will be completed sometime very soon.

I have watched her quiet dignity hold sway over the comings and goings of support staff, family and friends.

My Mother greets her final journey safe within the home of my brother, her first-born child.

Her bedroom, where she grows smaller, like a womb, comfortable and quiet.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0162.jpgThis week has been filled with indescribable emotions, but all relating to love.

During this time, my computer has gone on the blink and I have been unable to write and post as I need to…

I need to write… and having a fully functioning computer, that I can use in the warmth of the little lodge, where I over-winter by the wood-burning stove, will be comfort itself.

This will be the beginning of a portable Bealtaine Cottage too, as I will be able to write and post wherever I go.

I am grateful for that!

Thanks and blessings to you, my generous friends!

old pictures saved by Dylan 4421My mother in the early days of Bealtaine Cottage, surrounded by animals, her grandson and magic in the gardens.

This is where some of her lovely energy will be found, for me, in the coming days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found my father here after he passed and came to understand that energy does not disappear…we simply have to re-focus our eyes and listen with our hearts to recognize it. (Mum and Dad, on a visit to Bealtaine about five years ago. I took them to the top of Kilronan Mountain!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Celts believed in the Transmigration of the Soul.

Living at Bealtaine for almost ten years now, I have come to understand that belief.

Death is not the end, but a Rite of Passage.

Blessings and thanks to you all XXX

(My Mother passed away this morning. I spent yesterday with her.)

Posted in Art, Climate, Cottage, cows, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality

The Haunting…

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With great longing for home and sadness of leaving, I made the journey back from Connemara today.

As I passed Kylemore Abbey, the clouds began a hasty descent, down over the mountains of the pass…

I longed for home, but was mesmerized by the play of light and mist that is a magical part of the landscape of the West of Ireland.

A landscape that haunts one forever…


Their cottage is surrounded by the most ethereal  play of light, being near the shoreline and surrounded by mountains.


I first met Terri and Lol when they visited Bealtaine Cottage to learn more about Permaculture and quickly bonded in a deep friendship.


I meet so many wonderful people here at Bealtaine and am often invited to visit with them, though rarely take the time to do so…

I’m glad I made this journey into the hauntingly beautiful land of Connemara…the images will inspire dreams for many nights ahead in Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 051The past three days in Connemara have inspired me in many ways.

I met some fine people and talked about wine making and permaculture.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060Connaught, the province of Ireland where Connemara lies, has, historically, been associated with immense poverty and harsh living conditions, though its beauty has kept it populated, albeit sparsely in parts.

Many Irish have emigrated from here, down through the centuries, especially so during the Great Famine.

 

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Yesterday morning, I walked in the gardens as the sun rose, and watched the mist slowly lift from the fields, that run down to the shoreline.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Terri and Lol have planted lots of Willow, as a wind break and are developing a sustainable smallholding around their cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029Living this close to the mighty Atlantic Ocean, the land is swept by salt-winds and gales, that roar in over thousands of miles of turbulent sea, making landfall, with all the power and destruction only those winds can carry.

The soil is scraped off rock and carried on the winds, to fill crevice and glen.

Even the cows have learned to forage and climb like mountain goats in search of food!

This beautiful creature stood atop the rocks watching the sun rise, as I walked in my dressing gown around the cottage gardens.

www.bealtainecottage.com 030In the distance, my little camera picked out the walls of ancient cottages, abandoned to the elements of sea, rain, wind and sun, casting imaginary sounds of past lives upon the mist that lifted heavenwards, in the warm morning air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 059As I drove towards home, leaving this magically, evocative landscape behind me, the sheer beauty of Connemara urged me to stop… and take one last image to share with you…

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

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Posted in Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Cats, celebrations, Cottage, Country Living, Earth, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Spirituality, Summer, Wild Flowers

A Magical Midsummer Morning…

Solstice morning at Bealtaine Cottage 2013Happy Solstice everyone…

Midsummer morning at bealtaine cottage, IrelandIn this special year of the return of the Divine Feminine…

Angel on Midsummer morningThere will be a full moon on Sunday, June 23…

Bealtaine Cottage on Midsummer morning 2013And it’s a rather special one…

Midsummer at Bealtaine CottageThe biggest moon at Midsummer

Bealtaine Cottage on Midsummer morningIt will not only be the largest full moon of the year…

Midsummer morning at Bealtaine Cottage...and MissyIt will also be the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013.

Missy on midsummer morningThe moon will be at it’s peak on Sunday…

Bealtaine Cottage midsummer morningCelebrate this Solstice…it’s a rare one!

Bealtaine Lodge on Midsummer morningI’m heading to the ocean for a long walk along the Atlantic shoreline…

Midsummer morning at Bealtaine CottageMy Midsummer Treat!

Happy Solstice Everyone!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 550 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Animals, Cats, Crafts, Permaculture, Seeds, Sustainable Living

Magical Driftwood and Happy Cats

Herbs drying at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture cottage

As the weekend draws in, the clock tells me it’s time to make dinner and settle in for the evening…it’s Friday evening!

The day has been wet and grey and much of my work has taken place in and around the cottage.

Days like today are welcome though, as it allows a little bit of a slow-down and a time for reflection and making plans.

I have decided to tile the kitchen floor, using broken tiles from the local tile shop, Carrick Tiles.

It is a long task, but the best approach is to a little each day and try not to work too long, as this can inhibit the desire to return to the task the following day!

Missy Cat at Bealtaine CottageMissy has kept warm beside the stove.

This is the longest period of time without a visit to the vet.

It appears that keeping really warm by the stove eases her symptoms.

Doesn’t she look well?

Driftwood mirror at Bealtaine CottageSome friends visited last weekend and Nick brought me this lovely mirror he made using driftwood.

There is something so beautiful about driftwood.

Even the scent of this wood evokes the ocean.

It is magical to live this close to the Atlantic Ocean…about a 45 minute drive to Rosses Point.

kitchen at Bealtaine CottageI’m happy to tell you all that the “We Will Not Comply” petition now has over 4,200 signatures…not bad for a mere 8 days.

If you would like to add your name then here’s the link…

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_Will_Not_Comply/?cCgoWbb

Have a good weekend everyone!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 102 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 535 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Bees, biodiversity, Butterflies, Climate, Garden, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spring

April Snow, Bees and Butterflies

April  Bealtaine Cottage pond gardenApril weather is always unpredictable.

Snow fell this morning…in between rain and brilliant sunshine!

It was like a convergence of all the seasons in one morning!

April permaculture rhubarb at Bealtainecottage 016This time last year we were swimming in the Atlantic Ocean down by Mullaghmore Pier.

Legs and arms, uncovered for the first time in months, looked a sickly white in shorts and T-shirts.

April 2011 permaculture cottage 022The apple blossom was fully out and the season was about a month ahead of what was expected.

This year, the season is late.

About 4-6 weeks in some parts of the garden!

April  Bealtaine Cottage PolytunnelHowever, the polytunnel is really paying for itself, as I have all the fruit and veg in pots, growing big and strong and ready for when the weather settles down and all danger of frost has passed!

April Bealtaine Cottage permaculture GardensI have been hauling more and more stone from the edges of the land, into specific areas, where the passive solar heat trapped in the stone will help growth in annual crops, creating micro-climates.

As the season is late, it allows more time for me to catch up with the bigger tasks here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Always looking for the silver lining!

Bealtaine Cottage Gardens  in April 2011 001The Bats are out from hibernation and yesterday, as I walked down the lane-way, a butterfly fluttered just ahead of me, for most of the walk.

The bees are flitting from one heavily laden Ribes bush to another…their end of hibernation feast!

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The EU are making it against the law to save and share seed…

This is not a petition asking the EU for anything, but one that sends a clear, sharp message…We Will Not Comply!

A shot across the bow!

Please sign and share…

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_Will_Not_Comply/?wCgoWbb

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Crafts, Garden, Growing Food, Herbs, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality, Uncategorized

An Angel in the Snow

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

The wind howled all night as it carried snow in from the Atlantic Ocean.

The moon drifted downwards as the sun rose.

Somewhere in-between I got up and lit the stove, walked the dogs and returned to settle into a hunker-down day in the cottage.

Che Mousy Bear at Bealtaine CottageAs I write, the dogs are in their baskets and the cats are lounging on the sofas.

Animals know when it’s cold and really appreciate being indoors!

Che-Mousy-Bear is purring loudly on the sofa nearby my desk.

Sam sits opposite.

Stereo purring!

The porch at bealtaine cottageThis kind of weather often makes an appearance after Spring has been called.

The Primroses and Daffodils don’t seem to mind.

Bealtaine Cottage PorchThey know it won’t last!

The snow is soft and fluffy with little ice and no frost.

veranda at Bealtaine Cottage The wind has settled down and the sun is shining.

Today I shall work in the tunnel, sowing herbs and pumpkins…it’s Spring, even if there is snow!

Indoors I am sorting seed and making Smudge Sticks  for sale in the Bealtaine Cottage Shop.

A big pot of vegetable soup is on the menu…just the thing on a snowy day!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

Posted in Angels, Climate, Garden, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Personal, photography, Spring

Looking Back at March 2012 in the Photo Album of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

Bealtaine Cottage march 2012 008The gardens came back to life with new leaves on the Photinia

Bealtaine Permaculture March  2012Blossom opened on the Nectarine tree in the polytunnel.

Sunday morning Permaculture garden mar 2012Rhubarb seemed to grow in spurts overnight!

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture March 2012Home made Blackcurrant wine was started as I began to empty the freezer.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012Lichens opened up in the warmth of the Spring days.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012Beautiful, delicate colours of Spring.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012The warming sun began to work it’s magic on the north facing gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Permaculture March 2012Garden benches dried out and warmed up enough to beckon the visitor to stop awhile!

Bealtaine CottageSun, glorious sun…this old piece of driftwood stood up to it’s eighth winter of storms and winds.

Bealtain Cottage Permaculture 004As always, there was an early crop of herbs and greens from the tunnel.

Bealtaine Cottage March 2012 Donegal Bay

Late March was so warm, we headed off to the beach for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean here in Donegal Bay.

You can see the Hills of Donegal in the background!

Posted in Fairies, Gardens, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

The Perfect Permaculture Plant …

A Permaculture plant is one that is perfectly suited to that space in nature, soil, climate, site, micro-climate, etc.,

A plant that is comfortable in that zone and one that adds to the bio-diversity possibilities on the land space you inhabit.

One that provides food, whether for yourself, animals, insects or the soil…thereby keeping the loop healthy and working.

Cow Parsley in my garden

Covered with tiny droplets of rain, this Cow Parsley looks exquisite, despite the fact that it is hated and despised by so many gardeners, yet home and food and shelter to so many insects.

I have vast tracts of Cow Parsley growing on my land.

It looks stunning when dusted with winter frost!

I noticed that there was a lot of this wild herb growing on the roads around the mountain of Kilronan this week.

It looked spectacular in the mountain light.

Wind Spiral in the Fairy Dell

This wind spiral catches energy moving through the woodland of the Fairy Dell.

This is a spot that everyone refuses to visit or even walk through after sunset…

Fairies inhabit this little bit of woodland.

 A woodland zone is  a vital part of the Permaculture Plan…

Harvest Moon in the West of Ireland, tonight!

Last night the Harvest Moon rose over my Permaculture Vegetable Garden.

The sky was clear and the air  crisp as the moonlight illuminated my path back across the grass from the compost heap.

Today is now calm and sunny, but rain clouds  have emptied a lot of water over the valley.

I watched them move, sweeping across the mountains from the Atlantic Ocean, bringing fresh, clean water to my garden.

I have lit the stove in the kitchen and filled it with Turf and logs.

The heat will air the clothes that I’ve rescued from the clothes line.

As I write this I can smell them drying…time for tea, I’m thinking!

Posted in Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Current Affairs, Ecology, Food, Gardening, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized, Vegan

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Ireland in Summer

Drought is no longer a problem as the land in sodden with rain, but it’s not all bad!

Not that it bothers Missy in the slightest!

In fact it’s a glorious summer for the plants and Nature, as the abundance of midsummer flows through a permaculture landscape.

I am uploading today’s video as I type and thinking about the lands that have little or no rain.

It can be tremendously difficult for growers in drought conditions and I am mindful of a the wonderful work being done by by permaculture teachers all over the world as they help people design their way back to abundance.

Indeed, this is the vital message I continue to learn as I do the same…designing the best landscapes in my continual adaptation to the chaos that is climate change.

In the example here at Bealtaine Cottage, that means using stone to make raised beds closer to the cottage and in the warmth of a south-facing aspect.

It also means ensuring both east and west sides of the smallholding are kept exceedingly sheltered, for, indeed, I have noticed that the winds have blown hard from the east over recent days and heavy rains.

Usually they come in from the west and the Atlantic Ocean.

 Over recent days I have been on the forage for all the crops that are free in the hedgerows and across the land.

Elderflowers are at their most scented peak and I recall similar wet conditions last year when I went in search of an Elderflower harvest.

It is interesting to keep a record of weather rather than relying on external sources.

Local knowledge is intrinsic to making plans for the next year!

On todays diary of photographs you can see the raised bed, now less than 3 weeks old and already yieding a harvest, as well as the 2nd bed currently completed and being filled with compost.

On today’s video diary you can see the most recent compost heap uncovered and the progress of the latest compost heap under construction.

 Today the sky is heavy and grey, but summer rolls on and is quite marvellous.

The Earth exudes the most wonderful summer scents and the birds sing…life is good!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q67PdS7QWT0

Posted in Country Living, Earth, Ecology, Garden, Permaculture, photography, Spring, Uncategorized

The Stunningly Beautiful West of Ireland

Today at Bealtaine Cottage and the weather was ducking and diving in and out of early Spring! I dashed outside and snapped these pics as it appeared to be early Spring.
It’s late here at the cottage, but I’m posting them to this blog, just to share!

Can you see the low cloud moving up the valley, cutting Ballyfermoyle off from the Arigna Mountains?

How’s that for dramatic?

The stunningly beautiful West of Ireland!

The beauty of bare trees reflected in a barrel of pure rainwater.

I rinse my clothes in this to make them extra soft…

Photinia washed by the soft Atlantic rain…

The beginnings of another willow basket waits for me on the veranda…

Moss clings to the thin slates on the cottage roof. I never clean this off as I think it looks so very beautiful and anyway, the roof manages to hold up well in face of the Atlantic storms that swoop in off the ocean!

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Folklore, History, Ireland, Permaculture, Poetry, Uncategorized

A Life in the Country ~ Knocknarea, Queen Maeve and W.B. Yeats

The sun shone brilliantly today and as it heralded the first day of winter, I felt it was a good time to visit the magical mountain of Knocknarea and the grave of Queen Mebh.

The huge cairn that sits on the top of Knocknarea Mountain and marks what is probably a passage grave housing the ancient Queen, is 55 meters in diameter by 10 meters high.

 It was constructed for the mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve, whose father, the high king of Ireland, gave her Connacht as a gift. Archaeologists believe it may really date back to 3000 BC.

It is considered bad luck to remove a stone from the cairn, and good luck to take one up the hill with you to deposit on it.

The view from the top of Knocknarea is spectacular!

Medb (old Irish spelling, pronounced Maeve), was the queen of Connaught. She ruled from Cruachan (now Rathcroghan, County Roscommon).

Maeve features in the story known as “The Tain.” This is also known as “The Cattle raid of Cooley.”

This is the incredible view across from Knocknarea to Ben Bulben. William Butler Yeats is buried at the foot of that great mountain!

Nestled in on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean…descending Knocknarea today!

The Atlantic Ocean on this calm first day of winter!

From: The Old Age of Queen Maeve, by William Butler Yeats

MAEVE the great queen was pacing to and fro,
Between the walls covered with beaten bronze,
In her high house at Cruachan; the long hearth,
Flickering with ash and hazel, but half showed
Where the tired horse-boys lay upon the rushes,
Or on the benches underneath the walls,
In comfortable sleep; all living slept
But that great queen, who more than half the night
Had paced from door to fire and fire to door.
Though now in her old age, in her young age
She had been beautiful in that old way
That’s all but gone; for the proud heart is gone,
And the fool heart of the counting-house fears all
But Soft beauty and indolent desire.
She could have called over the rim of the world
Whatever woman’s lover had hit her fancy,
And yet had been great-bodied and great-limbed,
Fashioned to be the mother of strong children;
And she’d had lucky eyes and high heart,
And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax,
At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,
Sudden and laughing.

Posted in Family, History, Ireland, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Old Stone Cottages and Windswept Mountains in the West of Ireland…Bealtaine Permaculture

Kilronan Mountain melts away into the valley below on a glorious easter sunday evening… The land below stretches west to Sligo Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, south to Boyle and the land of Roscommon  and east towards Dublin City. Loughs are too numerous to mention, villages and townlands with ancient names that stretch back into the mists of legends. Beauty that is both exhilarating and tragic… Abandoned amidst the bleak beauty of Kilronan Mountain, it’s empty windows gazing out across an early summer landscape.Ireland is dotted with these beautiful and evocative old stone cottages. It is heartbreaking to think of the skill and hard work involved in building these unique, vernacular style homes…and like this one, sometimes in the most windswept landscapes imaginable.As the evening draws in and the air begins to chill, it’s time to leave the mountain behind and head home to the warmth of Bealtaine Cottage and a mug of hot tea.