NATURE NOTES - Carmelite Monastery - Knock, Tranquilla
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‘And just like that – Summer fell into Fall!’

October has taken us by surprise but the leaves are falling gently this year – not torn away by our wild western winds.

We give thanks for all the blessings nature has provided for us this year – and for our gardeners who worked so hard. Our bees provided honey aplenty! And our cooks did wonders with gooseberries, blackcurrants, and raspberries taking shape in desserts and jams. We are still enjoying our own yellow tomatoes plus beans, onions, peppers, and more – ‘All you works of the Lord O bless the Lord!’ 

September brought some beautiful sunny days which eased our hearts and bones!




Knock is no stranger to rain in August!

However, nature still delights us no matter the weather.

This year we even had a mini-heatwave, which we enjoyed.

However, our hearts go out to all who suffer from extremes

of heat or floods across our broken world.











July flew by in a flurry of fruit picking, jam making, and scheduled [and unscheduled] visits and hospital outings.

As well as – Bees, Honey & Roses!






June arrives with the lush colours of Summer, Swallows, and our own honey!


The joy of fine weather is good for all God’s creation

and we enjoy and give thanks for the beauty around us.



Our bees have been busy and very generous with their honey this year!





Our Summer paths delight us

and the rabbits (and nuns!) are hiding among

the rocks and wild Flowers!














The photos of the nuns, trees, and rabbits

are our own.

However, we could not get close enough

to our golden-red foxes

to take their pictures –

so Pinterest comes to the rescue!

Our ones are just as cute though!






May blooms bright and fair!

We are more than a little tardy in our Nature Notes for May

But the joy it brings was right on time. Our, mainly wild, grounds bring us ever fresh wonders!

We await a special moment afresh each year.

These daffodils may seem to be growing in a flower bed

but they push themselves up through the tarmac path each year!

And each year there are a few more flowers.

When they have finished blooming

the tarmac hole closes over them again until the next year.

We are lost in wonder at the strength of something so soft and frail-looking,

yet strong enough to push up through tarmac!

The wonder of Nature sets our hearts singing in praise of our Creator.





April arrived howling like a lion!

Again, this year our beautiful magnolia had only one day of glory before the frost burnt the flowers.


However, our dwarf magnolia, which is sheltered and low to the ground,

made up to us with a dazzling display of flowers on every branch.








Hungry Robin!


February-March 2022 has been the mildest we have known since coming here 40 years ago!

Even allowing for the ‘storm’ forecasts we have had such mild temperatures that buds and flowers are out for  St. Patrick’s day as never before.









January 2022 has arrived with storms, snow, and glorious sunsets. The robins, finches, and blackbirds are always with us – and even now before the end of January buds and tender leaves are appearing on some of our early blooming bushes and the snowdrops are just peeping up and should be ready for St. Bridget’s Day February 1st.













(A very early!)


By Christina Rossetti

Frost-locked all the winter, 

Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits, 

What shall make their sap ascend 

That they may put forth shoots? 

Tips of tender green, 

Leaf, or blade, or sheath; 

Telling of the hidden life 

That breaks forth underneath, …







The dark evenings have crept upon us

and Winter-Time is here once more.

It brings its own beauty

and the play of light and shadow is astounding.






















April arrived with a mixed ‘weather bag’!

Rain, sun, frost, and below zero temperatures

vied with one another and our poor garden

is as confused as we are! 

We are nearer the end than the beginning of the month,

but it is only now that the sun is warm and coaxing enough for the baby rabbits to appear and the first swallow to be spotted over the Basilica!

We woke up one morning to see that our beautiful white Magnolia blooms were burnt with frost.

But nature is never spent and already new blooms are replacing the hearting-breaking  ‘brown’ ones.



March – came in like a lion and seems to be going out like a lion also!

However, we had a few lovely days around St. Patrick’s Day

and the feast of our beloved St. Joseph.

This gave our white Magnolia Tree courage to bloom –

and the daffodils got into a festive mood.

The winds have laid some of the more exposed ones low

but we have planted plenty!























Winter with hints of Spring!



We are busy making St.Brigid’s Crosses for Feb.1st. the feast of  St. Brigid and the first day of Spring in Ireland!

There is no shortage of rushes in our fields and it is great fun to see the beginners’ and proficients’ end result.

We all had to start once! May the promise of Spring give solace to our hearts weary of Covid. May the sick and dying receive the love and care they need and may fear be banished by trust in God’s Merciful Love.








Nature continues to lift our hearts and minds.

The winter walks have a beauty of their own

and the trees stretch out their limbs to

God as if in Prayer.

And the little moorhens

come a-begging

with the rest of

our feathered friends!





















The leaves turn to glorious shades of copper, rust, and gold

and the animals ask for a little help!

The field-mouse thought it would be safer in the hands of a sister than

in the mouth of the cat-

so was duly helped to escape!




Our bees have been put up safely with lots of syrup to help them through the Winter.

We are enjoying sunny autumn weather at the moment and our grounds give us plenty of opportunities to praise God for the wonders of Creation. This makes the Covid 19 2nd. Lockdown less of a burden for us. We are united with all for whom it is a great hardship and hope they can turn to nature for peace of mind and heart. Even the tiniest bit of grass is full of wonder and the birdsongs bring a little taste of heaven to us all.


















September 1st.  launched the ‘Season of Creation’,

an ecumenical initiative

that aims to increase awareness among Christians

of the need to protect our common home.

It runs from Sept. 1st. to Oct. 4th.

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,

patron saint of animals and ecology.

We hope to share some of our ‘home-made’ eco-friendly cleaning products with you soon.

We have been busy this year and now make our own soap, general household cleaner, toilet cleaners, air-freshners etc.

Let us all Pray and Work to take care of the creation on our doorsteps!


August this year has been so different. Covid 19 has changed so many things and we hope and pray that the Lord will deliver us from it soon.

We have been busy as the never-ending rain and wind have brought down some old trees. Our organic gardeners are delighted with the plans for a polytunnel – much needed in this wild-west region in order to grow anything apart from cabbage!  However, we did manage to get some lovely sunny days and two picnics!

We had to apologize to a little hedgehog for putting a deep layer of wood chips, from the fallen trees, on his favorite patch! The brave among us got him some slugs. The rest settled for buttered bread (they need the fat!) and milk. He/she was most appreciative and friendly!







Our wildlife friends

are not shy

about coming close

to ask for food!


The garden is awake

with various beautiful flowers & fauna





May the wonder and beauty of Nature

lead us all to Praise and thank

the Lord of all Creation.








The magnificent December skies are heralding Advent and Christmas

here in the ‘wild’ but lovely West of Ireland.


The light coming into our Chapel in the afternoon is breathtaking.


And God’s little creatures are

up and about at odd times!

We join with nature and ‘wait in hope’

for the Day Star – Jesus, born of Mary,

coming as gently as the Dawn

The dark evenings have crept upon us

and Winter-Time is here once more.

It brings its own beauty

and the play of light and shadow is astounding.



The birds (small and big!)

need all the help we can give them

in this lean season.

We do our best and are rewarded

by the lovely antics of our feathered friends.





 Spring arrived early this year

and so has Autumn.

August boasted two full moons –

the second one called

‘The Blue Moon’ as it is so rare.

This brought us some thunderous downpours

which got the leaves moving from the trees before time.

Now September looks, (almost), like October!

September 1st. launched the ‘Season of Creation’,

an ecumenical initiative

that aims to increase awareness among Christians

of the need to protect our common home.

It runs from Sept. 1st. to Oct. 4th.

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,

patron saint of animals and ecology.

St. Francis Of Assisi Digital Art

We are even more determined to



and re-cycle!

Let us all Pray and Work to take care of the creation on our doorsteps!







We have renamed these beautiful flowers

‘Living Flames’

after St. John of the Cross’ poem.

They arrive on time for all the great Carmelite feasts in July!

They blend beautifully with the Orange Blossom and Poppies to provide fitting flower arrangments for the Chapel and house.

Our soft fruit provided rich pickings again this year

and the home-made elderflower cordial

has helped quench the thirst

of yet another hot summer!    




Spirit of God – drawing forth the beauty of Creation to delight us – may this beauty refresh our hearts and souls!

We are doing our best to keep the bees in our midst!

Although we are unable to look after hives ourselves at present;

in our wild-life friendly grounds, we are providing accommodation for some

bees of the Beekeeper Club of Ballyhaunis, about seven miles down the road.

It is wonderful for us to be able to have bees around again

without the worry of swarms getting ready to flee the hive

just as the bell goes for Evening Prayer of Corpus Christi or the Sacred Heart!


May 2019



The rabbits are

out and about bringing

joy and fun to

our Summer days!


































































































































































































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