Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda is a fourth generation Irish beekeeper. Having learned the craft through helping his father, at a young age in Co. Tipperary, he became aware of the urgent necessity for conserving and protecting the various strains of Dark European Bees that still existed throughout Ireland.
Having married a girl from Co. Louth they both settled down to live in that county in the North Eastern corner of the Republic of Ireland.
It was there that Eoghan embarked on his own beekeeping enterprise using the local strain of Dark Bee.
He found that the bees of Co. Louth were fairly pure examples of the European Dark Bee and this was particularly so in the area known as the Cooley peninsula which is a rather isolated area between the Cooley Mountains and the sea. From talking to existing beekeepers in that area, Eoghan could find no evidence of importations of bees from elsewhere. For many years he has concentrated in studying these bees and has incorporated the strain into his own apiaries some of which he has established in the Cooley peninsula. He knew that the conservation of this particular strain was of the utmost importance. This fact was brought home to him especially, when he discovered that many colonies, in the possession of older beekeepers, were being lost due to lack of treatment, subsequent to the arrival of Varroa.
Eoghan has been enthusiastic in reviving and developing the Co. Louth Beekeepers Association, organising classes for beginners and lecture programmes for all members. He was instrumental in establishing a demonstration apiary where techniques of bee improvement and queen rearing are taught as well as the normal practical demonstrations in manipulation of bees etc. Under his stewardship as Secretary and Chairman the membership of Co. Louth BKA has grown from twenty to seventy members. He has established a breeding group which produces a number of queens each year from selected native stock as well as providing nuclei of reasonably docile bees for beginners each year. He continues to teach the long established GBBG techniques for the evaluation, selection and breeding of the native bees to his fellow Association members. He also lectures to other beekeeping Associations and at Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations’ seminars throughout Ireland.
Since he started beekeeping Eoghan has been a member of BIBBA as well as the Galtee Bee Breeding Group. He is the appointed editor of NIHBS quarterly newsletter, “The Four Seasons”. He has used his editorial skills to develop this publication into a very attractive educational guide for the promotion throughout Ireland of the aims and objectives of NIHBS, GBBG, & BIBBA.
He currently manages about eighty honey production colonies as well as those of the Association apiary.