Another Trip Around The Sun!

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IMG_9956My birthday has passed.

IMG_9961 It was a wonderful day and here I am in a new year of my life, another journey around the sun!

IMG_9951It’s been an extraordinary journey so far and, as usual, it’s been a wonderful time for casting the occasional, cursory glance over my shoulder to the past.

IMG_9960To this end, I have recalled many aspects of my relationship with my parents, especially in my younger years, realising more and more just how wonderful they both were!

IMG_9962When one is in the thick of it all it’s sometimes very hard to see the people behind the parent mask.

IMG_9959As a parent it became obvious to me how much of a mask one had to don, at times…from the tough to the understanding and sometimes with little in-between!

IMG_9963However, I recall much of my memories of my parents with enduring humour, for I now am fully cognisant of what I put them through!

IMG_9965And so my birthday was a time to celebrate with both my parents in mind, especially my Mother! IMG_9969Her permanent optimism must have been difficult to carry at times, especially when faced with loss, grief, unhappiness and the all-permeating poverty.

IMG_9970I admire her more than ever with each passing year of wisdom and reflection.

IMG_9968Love endures.

IMG_9971I am fortunate to have reached a point in my journey where it is possible for me to understand the woman who was my Mother and the man behind the mask of fatherhood…one he rarely let slip, but I was lucky enough to see the interesting and caring man behind that mask.

IMG_9974The celebrations continue into Samhain, the 31st of October.

IMG_9972Tomorrow the fire will be lit and the ancestors invited into the midst of the family and friends who will gather.

IMG_9975The following day will herald in the first day of the Celtic New Year…a great time of renewal, wishes and hopes for the journey ahead.

IMG_9973On another note, I am aware that Thursday will be the first day of November and I have several boxes of calendars here in the study, waiting to be re-homed!

IMG_9978So if you want to think about possible Yuletide gifts, then look no further!

IMG_9979I am happy to post on your behalf to anywhere in the world!

IMG_9980There is also a wonderful selection of Bealtaine Cottage books and a magical, mythical map…here are the links:

 

Bealtaine Cottage Calendar for 2019

Price includes postage and packing worldwide! The calendar hosts a page of colour photographs from Bealtaine Cottage for each month of the year. The months of the year are written in Celtic script…ie: May is Bealtaine, August is Lughnasadh and so on…many of you are already familiar with the Celtic Calendar. The pictures on each month also feature some added wisdom from Bealtaine Cottage and information on the ancient festivals of Celtic Ireland.

€17.00

 

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

 

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

 

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

 

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

Bealtaine Cottage Early Summer Album

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It has been some time…

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~ Henry James

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Just as the rosebuds are swelling, early Summer makes an appearance. It has been a long cold Winter and Spring.

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Euphorbia has brightened the veranda with its vivid lime green.

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And finally, finally the garden stirs into full life.

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“Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
~ Pablo Neruda

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“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
~ Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine.

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Garden visitors have left and the warmth of a sunny afternoon is all my own once more.

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Quince is now fully open in the sun against the warm wood of the barn wall.

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“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!” ~ Kenny Chesney

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Cotoneaster and Birch grow to create shelter by the front door.

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Primroses prolong their blooms in the shady banks along the driveway.

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Bunting heralds a welcome to garden visitors…every day of May…

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And there’s Jack, curious as always to pick up the scent of visitors…

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The golden Goddess now has her sacred Owls nearby…one day Owls will move into Bealtaine…one day…

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Dandelions create a food path for the bees at the top of the driveway.

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Blessings of early Summer be yours XXX Colette, Jack, SammyBear and Beauty XXXX

Support the Bealtaine Project

 

 

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

 

 

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

 

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

 

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

 

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

 

 

Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

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Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at Midwinter

Origins of Yule

The great Festival of Yule, beginning at the time of the Winter Solstice and lasting for a full twelve days, summed up the cycle of the Celtic year.

Bealtaine Cottage candles in the window

The word Yule, according to the Venerable Bede, came from the Norse word Iul meaning ‘wheel’ and suggested that this was the time when the Great Wheel of Existence had completed its circle.

barn window reflection Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 015

“In later Celtic folk-belief, Yule had a dual meaning, it symbolised the death of the old year and heralded the birth of the new…

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Although the ground was cold, it would soon be warm again and Nature would burst forth at the festival of Imbolc.

The low-point of the period of Yule became the central festival of a number of formal religions, one of which was Christianity.

Bealtaine Cottage Midwinter Garden

 

After Yule, the Great Wheel began to turn again, bringing the festival of Imbolc around once more. Gradually some festivals assumed less importance and four great functional festivals – Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain dominated the Celtic year. Many of these became major Christian holy days – Imbolc became Candlemas (1 February) with its own rhyme: ‘On Candlemas Day, Throw a candle away’.

Christmas Eve in an Irish CottageChristmas Eve, 2012 at Bealtaine CottageChristmas eve moon above Bealtaine CottageChristmas Angel 2012In Ireland, because of its close association with the goddess Brigit, it became Saint Brigid’s Day.

Where the festivals of local deities persisted, they became ‘pattern days’– the feast of a local or patron saint.”

From Complete Guide to Celtic Mythology by Bob Curran

winter solstice 2012 at Bealtaine Cottagemidwinter cottage 015midwinter cottage 012

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more.

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage

This Yule, my family will gather at Bealtaine Cottage for a coming together, a “gathering,” to celebrate and mark the Great Turning of the Light, before dispersing to celebrate with others the wonderful celebration of Christmas.

friday 10 12 10monday morn 6 12 10 014monday morn 6 12 10 006Yuletide continues to be marked at Bealtaine Cottage through to it’s end on the first day of January. A time of great hope and lifting of one’s head towards the ascending sun.

For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 85 new blogs and hundreds of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

The Celtic Roots of Samhain

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www.bealtainecottage.com 001The bright red of the Ruby Chard will add colour to the Samhain feast!

In Celtic Ireland, Samhain marked  the division of the year between the light (summer) and the dark (winter).

www.bealtainecottage.com 054For me, the customs of my ancestors are important to acknowledge and continue.

This time of tuning into the seasonal shift and preparing for the darkness of the winter months ahead, is important.

Even today, as I stacked these logs in the shelter of the veranda, I couldn’t help but think about Samhain and its meaning as a custom and special tradition.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The Hill of Tara was associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, even though it pre-dates the arrival of the Celts themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019The passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, constructed some 4,500 to 5,000 years ago, forms the entrance and is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain.

This was constructed even before the Celts arrived in Ireland!

And so, as the leaves fall and cover the earth, we reach Summers End and the beginning of the descent towards Midwinter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The Festival of Samhain marked the end of the Celtic year.

  www.bealtainecottage.com 023This is the traditional New Year’s Eve!

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Walking through the gardens at Bealtaine, takes me on a journey similar to the festival of Samhain, for it is all about ending and beginning…as the land pulls its duvet of leaves across its mantle of green, preparing for the beginning of Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056As Samhain marks the division point in the year between summer and winter, it is understood that any point, in the land where there is division or boundary, can be unsafe at Samhain…for it is there that the veil is at its thinnest!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, the warmth of the sun continues to enchant!

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Carbon Taxes Won’t Save Us!

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Back door of Bealtaine CottageToday, I was feeling just a teensy bit down.

It’s a rare experience for me.

Back door at Bealtaine CottageLife is so full on here at Bealtaine, that positivity fills the day, running from one task to the next and looking forward to a brief sit down and a cup of tea.

But today, something caught up with me…a growing feeling of fragility that I had suppressed for a long time.

A jingle bell heartWeakness in the face of disaster.

Fear.

Dog Daisy benchI have spent much of my life suppressing fear.

To be honest, most people have too.

table on the verandaCarrying life, caring for life, creates a deep fear…of birth and death, and one that we know we  must resist.

Not just resist, but train ourselves to regard this feral fear in as dispassionate a way as we can muster.

Family on the dresserWe as adults cannot display fear to our young or those in our charge or care…we must be brave, pretend, laugh in the face of fear.

kitchen windowToday I was desperate for water to ensure the plants in the potager beds did not die.

The well had stopped flowing.

The heat of the day was oppressive, as the cloudless sky framed a burning hot sun that evaporated what little moisture was left in the soil.

Petunias in pot on veranda tableI drove the car to an ancient spring, lower down the valley, and spent the morning bucketing water back up to the cottage.

It was exhausting, but successful…the plants are still alive tonight, as I write this blog in the cool of a full moon.

Church bench and tribal drumThe fear has hung over me all day, as I realise how terribly vulnerable we all are, in the face of these persistent, extreme, weather events.

The first sunflower opens at Bealtaine CottageIn this state of vulnerability lies a growing awareness of the fragility of life.

We have to do everything we can to protect that life.

Carbon taxes won’t do that…only we can…each and every one of us!

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Bealtaine Cottage and Permaculture Gardens Photo Album 2012…February!

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Looking back at the year…February photographsBealtaine Cottage Feb 12 005

February was mild and the Daffodils in the gardens of Bealtaine came up without damage

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Ribes bushes throughout the gardens filled the air with a heady scent, enticing the Bees out from hibernation.

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Mizuna flourished in the tunnel, providing a green salad for the table throughout the winter months.

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Missy showed her first signs of being unwell and began a course of steroid treatment.

We thought we would loose her, but her spirit stayed strong.

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Weaving baskets from willow began in earnest at Bealtaine Cottage, putting newly acquired skills into practice.

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The water barrels kept filling and filling as the rain poured from the skies…

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We had sunny days too…all the more appreciated for the previous rain!

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2012 Thornhill

We went out walking and found old ruins from past lives, now stark and dramatic against the bright, February sky of 2012.

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2012 Permaculture Bog Garden

The greening of the Bog Garden started in mist and frost.

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2012

The heavily misted mornings were a beauty all of their own.

Bealtaine Cottage Feb Morning 2012

And the early sun of 2012 crept into the cottage…

Magical Midwinter at the Cottage

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Freezing fog surrounds Bealtaine Cottage.

Despite the cold, part of the day has been spent outdoors, tree-planting and dog walking.

Missy decided to remain indoors.

She has gotten rather snuffly again as she struggles with her condition.

She craves the warmth and sleeps a lot, bless her!

Once outside, adjusted to the cold with lots of layers, it’s a pleasant day with that magical midwinter light, as the sun travels low on the horizon.

You can see that the fog has partially lifted, though remains in the valley below, hugging the village of Keadue.

Lots of mixed and informal planting gives the gardens a colour and form all the year round, as you can see from today’s picture.

That’s Pyracantha in the foreground, with Buddleia and Copper Beech, Box and Bamboo, all vying for a space and standing up to the wind from the west!

Part of today was spent in hard graft…cutting back some of the Laurel Arch  on the path that leads from the cottage to the polytunnel and soft fruit gardens.

Winter is a busy time, as one attempts to keep on top of the crazy growth here in the west of Ireland.

The top needs to be cut back, but I shall leave that to another day!

However, look what was on the inside…a beautiful birds nest…so I walked quietly away!

My excuse to retreat indoors and make a big pot of tea!

The Autumn Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

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One of the many apple trees at Bealtaine Cottage, laden with fruit on this glorious September day.

As the nights draw in and the apple harvest swells, we realise Samhain is near.

Autumn is making it’s progress through the beautiful Arigna Mountains and the valley where Keadue nestles near the Castle of Kilronan…a place swathed in mist at this magical time of year.

Walking around the gardens today, I took these pictures to share with you.

Butterflies cover the Buddleia…this is a late flowering one as I planted it out this year, which is lucky for the butterflies as they made a late appearance!

Of course, it wasn’t long before Missy joined me, followed by Flo and Che.

It always feels so nice to walk around the gardens with the little characters who inhabit this sacred space!

Flo is just visible on the other side of the pond, near the standing stone.

She keeps an eye on everyone!

I can only add that we all enjoyed the walk.

 Bealtaine Cottage at Ballyfermoyle, is a beautiful place for sure, but, when the sun shines it is heaven!

Lughnasa and the Solstice…Ancient Time

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At certain times today, as I was working outside, I had a distinct sense of Autumn.

The way the sun shone on a plant, the smell from the earth around my feet…it was quite tangible.

The growing cycle in the west of Ireland adheres very much to the old Celtic calendar.

It is easy to tell the season just by walking the land and watching shadows…

Autumn begins on the 1st day of August.

This cycle is in essence closely linked to the Solstices and Equinoxes of the year.

 It is the  same solar alignment that determines the correct time for Lughnasa and this is also the exact same alignment for Bealtaine.

The ancient calendar is correct, as it follows the sun and planets rather than the time of man.

I am more attuned to Natural Time as I work on the land.

I am also much happier in this time mode.

The midsummer solstice was last month, four weeks ago and harvesting is well under way.

I do believe that animals are more closely tied into these ancient seasons than we care to admit.

I have enjoyed the company of many rescue dogs and cats over the years and often observed their habits, right down to times when they will bury food.

Flo, here, is a little hobo dog and has been used to fending for herself for most of her life…

Flo is a persistent food secreter and will often sit on a stash in her basket!

On that note, I think I’ll just go and check…

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