In Honour of Lyra McKee

I am in Derry for the Vegan Festival and will be happy to report all to you on my return home. As you can see from the photos, home is very much in full bloom! Driving into Northern Ireland from the west of Ireland brings back memories of my youth, much of which involved “the troubles,” as they are referred to…bombings, killings and the constant uncertainty of war. My father was a Civil Rights leader and our tiny home was a hub for much social and political activity. I learned over the course of my growing up in Omagh that…

A Home for the Jackdaws

There remains much work to be done here in the gardens over the coming days and weeks. It is essential I get on with it! I shall leave you with the rest of the photographs I took this morning as I walked around the gardens.

Mabon Moon

Much of the day has been spent in the garden, working, head down, cutting back and meditating as I chop and drop. It’s been a long day and tiredness has forced me indoors. This is the first day of a seven day Juice Fast and, as always, my energy levels are high. Working hard enables me to sleep deeply and restoratively. There is something incredibly magical about working in the garden during Autumn. It is the scents arising from the earth that trigger memories and feelings. Then the hot tea, so well earned after hours of work. There is also…

Equinox Return

I have returned home from my friends Terri and Lol in Clifden, Connemara. The Arts Festival was in full swing in the town, with a real buzz in the air! Staying with my friends whose house is outside of the town near the ocean was a calm and reviving experience. This is one of their beautiful cats in the garden. Driving home through the landscape of this beautiful part of Ireland was a holiday in itself. The road from Clifden to Westport is the stuff made of legends, with mountains that rear up in front of one and water reflecting…

Shape-shifting in Ireland

The stories of shape-shifting can be found in many cultures throughout the world, but none so prominently as that found in Celtic culture. Within the near area of Bealtaine Cottage can be found a wealth of ancient history many thousands of years old. The Tuatha Dé Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland. These people who appeared to “land on top of a mountain”, Sliabh an Iarainn, a great brooding mass of sandstone rock and thin soil, visible from Bealtaine Cottage.  The ancient manuscript ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’, records that…

Midsummer and the Earth is Singing

The back door of the cottage lies open. Outside the birdsong carries vibrant energy over the land. On this, the longest day of the year, the Earth in the northern hemisphere basks in the glow of seemingly eternal light. The shades of green seem endless, a patchwork of effervescence with splashes of outrageous colour.   Ox-Eye Daisy and Feverfew compete in the borders of the Lughnasadh Garden. As fast as flowers open they turn to seed and the future summers to come.   Bees are everywhere, feasting and dancing through their very own garden of abundance and delight. The hard…

Evening in an Irish Cottage…

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

As Evening Descends…

Towards the end of a perfect day at Bealtaine Cottage. The gardens are looking well tended as the evening descends. Strawberries have been potted up in hanging baskets and seedlings rescued from the gravel around the cottage and potted up. These will make fine plants for the Summer ahead! And…all the while…the birds sing! Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Moving with Orion Towards Midwinter

The signs are everywhere… Nights drawing in… Unexpected sunshine on frosted mornings. The bare beauty of trees silhouetted against clear winter skies.  As Orion strides across the evening sky, we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and the darkest, stillest, nights of the year. Winter Solstice celebrations begin on the 21st of December, a time of hope and joy for all, regardless of belief or religious observances. Magical Midwinter! Ancient tribes all over the world observed rituals around Solstice time. We too can  celebrate Winter Solstice, integrating it into our own traditional celebrations. A chance to step outdoors and observe…