This is the summer outing of the Louth Beekeepers Association. They have come to Dublin from Dundalk to visit the apiary of Keith Pierce, a Dublin fireman and a master beekeeper who is held in very high regard. “I would say it is the most beautiful apiary in the country,” says Paul Boyle on the phone. Later Kevin Pierce tells me there are hives in Kilbarrack fire station.
We’re in it for the love of the bee, and the love of the black bee, the Irish bee,” says Martin. Later, at Keith’s apiary, the driver of our coach, Myles O’Reilly, spends most of the afternoon in the top half of a bee suit – these suits are hot – watching everything. It’s a complicated business: the breeding, the culling, the grafting, the clipping of the queen’s wings – although not everyone clips wings.