Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

Table of Contents


Kilkenny Castle


Kilkenny Castle & grounds are a Heritage Ireland site extending to fifty-two acres and situated in the centre of Kilkenny city. There Is a mix of parkland, woodland, and meadows. We try to encourage as much biodiversity as possible, and we create habitats for all sorts of flora and fauna.

The Native Irish Honey Bee (Amm) is a unique black bee that we would love to help preserve. We intend to introduce only Amm bees to our site and the objective will be to increase the population in the park. We have been working with the Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) to declare the safe haven so badly needed.

At present we have one National hive and a nuc of Amm ordered. Our ambition is to continue to increase this year on year.

There are also two “wild colonies” in the castle park which swarmed into Barn owl nest boxes, (made by our staff), and a further four “wild colonies” in the castle walls!! We have built a prototype log hive to our own design which we hope to hang soon and populate with another Amm colony. 

We have declared a Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) Conservation Area because we wish to create a protected area for our Native Honey Bee, which we believe deserves special conservation attention. 


Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel, Adare.

A 44-acre site with bees and Organic produce 

Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel & Spa is very much a family affair.  It was established more than 40 years ago,

beginning life as a four-bedroomed bed and breakfast (B&B) run by Mary and Dick (RIP) Fitzgerald as a way to supplement their farming income.

Irish Cement Platin Drogheda 

 In Platin, local beekeeper Ed Kirwan has established beehives close to the quarry. The area around the quarry is rich in wildflowers. The bees are important pollinators of crops and native plants in this area.

Ed Kirwan working with one of the hives in Platin

Irish Cement has several Amm hives on their 800-acre site and is committed to their biodiversity behaviours to the Native Irish Black honey bee. 



Ballyporeen Community Council Conservation area
The parish of Ballyporeen sits in the Galtee valley. While only 3 miles wide it runs
through the valley from the top of the Galtees and over to the River Araglin in the south ,
a distance of 12 miles. Most of the area is a mixture of pasture, woodland and moorland
giving a wide range of forage for the native bees in the area.
The Galtee valley is famous for it’s the quality and pureness of the native bees in the
area and beekeepers alike, of which there are many, which is part of the reason for the
community council declaring the area a conservation area.
Recently in 2022 the village started a tidy towns group and received recognition for this
from Tidy Towns in their first year, and in the same year the community council won an
award in the national Pride of Place.
The very proactive council has also won a huge amount of funding for the village
recently and is currently creating a community garden and loop walk with an emphasis
on pollinators.
The great enthusiasm and support in the village for these projects is driving them on
with ventures past, present and future making it a successful and developing community
to live in both for the population and the bees.

Cappawhite CA

 Cappawhite BKA, Tipperary.  A NIHBS Conservation Area in West Tipperary covers areas including Cappawhite, Donohill, Annacarthy, Toem and Monard. The declaration covers approx. 125 hives in various local positions and the group are involved in Native Irish Black honey bee Queen Breeding, beekeeping, and other conservation education. They have been remarkably busy using NIHBS signage around the villages to educate others in the community.


County Cork

Ballycatteen Studios & GortNaCrusha Biodiversity Farm, Co. Cork

Ballinspittle – Currently consists of two rewilding projects: Ballycatteen Studios and Farm and Gortnacrusha Biodiversity Farm.  Both farms operate with a strict no-chemical use policy, farming in such a way that encourages biodiversity and habitat establishment as the fulcrum for all decision-making.  Currently, there are six hives of Native Irish Black Honey bees between the two farms which are located on two interlocking glens overlooking Ballinspittle village.  Habitats include riparian zones populated by native woodland supplemented with new mixed native woodland and new native hedgerows. Traditional meadows (possibly the last remaining in the area) are grazed annually encouraging the growth of wildflowers within the swarth of native grasses.


NIHBS Conservation Area Inchydoney Island, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

  A New three-acre property on Inchydoney Island, Clonakilty, Co. Cork is to be designated a NIHBS Conservation Area.  A cottage at the north centre of the property has a small apiary with Native Irish Black honey bee colonies, and they wish to promote the objectives of NIHBS through signage and to show that they actively adhere to the NIHBS principles.  Being a NIHBS member.
they have neighbors who also keep bees and appear to share our concerns and have “Native Irish black honey bees” as well, and they think the addition of signage would strengthen awareness of the legitimacy and importance of preventing the importation of non-native honey bee species into the island of Ireland.

The AGM for our local South West Cork Beekeepers Association is also this Monday and they plan on opening a discussion on NIHBS with those attending, in hopes of spurring more local interest.”

Carlow BKA 


Clonmel Garden Centre
Clonmel Garden centre at Glenconnor is one of the leading garden centres in the country
and occupies a seven-acre site that was once part of the gardens of the Georgian
Glenconnor House was completed in 1797 and once home to the Cleeves family manufacturers
of the famous toffee. The garden centre moved here about 35 years ago. It occupies the
original walled garden as well as some of the original ornamental grounds. It has a
perimeter of about 1.2 km. Apart from the plants for sale, there are several stretches of
hedgerows and treelines as well as specimen trees. Fruit trees, including almond trees, have
been planted to produce pollen for bees and other pollinators. Part of the garden
wall supports a lush growth of ivy which abounds with honey bees in late autumn and
winter. Several patches are reserved for wildflowers. There are no managed colonies on
the grounds at present but there are some in the vicinity. There are no
known free-living colonies within the ground but numerous species of bees are abundant
and can readily be seen during spring and summer. No formal census or survey of the bees
has ever been carried out at Glenconnor. Clonmel Garden Centre is pleased to add its
support to the efforts of NIHBS to protect the Native Irish Black honey bee by joining the network
of conservation areas.”






 Heywood Gardens, OPW, Laois. 

Heywood Gardens

The entrancing eighteenth-century landscape at Heywood Gardens, near Ballinakill, County Laois, consists of gardens, lakes, woodland and some exciting architectural features. The park is set on a sweeping hillside. The vista to the southeast takes in seven counties.

The architect Sir Edwin Lutyens designed the formal gardens, which are the centrepiece of the property. It is likely that renowned designer Gertrude Jekyll landscaped them.

The gardens are composed of elements linked by a terrace that originally ran along the front of the house. (Sadly, the house is no more.) One of the site’s most unusual features is a sunken garden containing an elongated pool, at whose centre stands a grand fountain.


South Tipperary, The Apple Farm

Con Traas owns and operates The Apple Farm, near Cahir in Co. Tipperary. The farm consists mostly of fruit crops, including strawberries, raspberries, cherries, plums, and apples. All of these are insect-pollinated, so bees are a very important component of crop production on the farm. Also on the farm is a juice-production business, as well as a farm shop, and a wildflower area, the latter of which provides habitat and a food source for many beneficial organisms.

Coolnahinch Conservation Area

” Living lockside on the Royal Canal, surrounded by Farmland, Bog & Forest is an ideal place for me to keep my bees. The Royal Canal Greenway is nearby, and I hope to raise awareness regarding the plight of the Native Irish Honey Bee to those passing by. I am a hobby beekeeper with nine colonies and like many, I am battling against hybridisation caused by swarms of non-natives, Buckfast’s and so on. My intention is to use locally sourced Native Queens to produce lots of Native drones and get my Apiary back to where it used to be. I am going to distribute any surplus Native Queens to other local beekeepers.”

Digges BKA Conservation Area

Digges Beekeepers’ Association had its first meeting in the Autumn of 2009 in the Old Hall in Fenagh, it is now ‘The Monk’s From the start it was dedicated to the memory of Rev. J.G.Digges, widely regarded as the father of modern Irish Beekeeping. He lived and worked in the area. Regular meetings were set up in 2010 in the Teagasc Centre, Mohill. Most members come from the South of Leitrim.

Eamon Tubman kept the show going organising meetings with speakers and giving us the benefit of his many years of experience. He also gave us an appreciation of our Native Irish Honey bee as did Colm Brangan who brought the idea of a Conservation Area for the Native Irish Honeybee in this location to our AGM in 2019. Eamon and Colm stay in our memories, and we are very grateful to both for their efforts.

All of our members work with the Native Irish Honeybee Amm to the best of their ability, and we have started the Queen Rearing Project this year with the support of NIHBS and hope to improve our skills next season. With a bit of luck, we will be able to contribute to the biodiversity in our area.


  Rev. J.G.Digges

In 1897, the Rev. J.G.Digges (The Father of Irish Beekeeping), joined the Irish Beekeepers Association and was promptly co-opted onto the committee.
The Rev. Digges was the author of “The Practical Bee Guide,” which over the decades ran to seven or more editions. It was unsurpassed as a manual of beekeeping, and still is an interesting book to read.


He was also editor of the “Irish Bee Journal” and “The Beekeepers’ Gazette”. He was known worldwide as a beekeeper and a man of great intellectual ability. He died in 1933 and is buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, in Dublin.  © IBA

East Waterford

East Waterford Native Irish Honey Bee Conservation Area

This NIHBS Conservation Area, located in East Waterford is located approximately 400 m from the River Barrow and River Nore SAC, a site of international conservation significance, protected under EU Legislation. The Conservation Area itself is a private dwelling consisting of improved amenity grassland, sections of naturally occurring wildflowers, a wildlife pond, and a horticulture tunnel; encased on all sides by a variety of well-established native trees and shrubs such as Ash, Birch, Scots Pine, and Bramble. It is a quintessential countryside home.

At present, there is no beekeeping being undertaken within the site. This, however, is to change in the near future, with plans to manage Apis mellifera mellifera populations for conservation and biodiversity enrichment purposes. This is all part of the wider goal of supporting native biodiversity throughout the site. This will include increased areas of native wildflower coverage, additional wildlife ponds to support invertebrates, plants, and mammals, the implementation of bat and bird boxes, and more. In keeping with the theme of conservation, this small site actively does it’s bit to reduce instances of environmental pollution through strict avoidance of herbicides and pesticides, monitored use of fertilisers or other growth-enhancing products, the recycling of nutrients through the use of a compost bin and a strict no tolerance policy on invasive plant and animal species.

This biodiversity ‘project’ is one of Ultan Duggan’s passions as a practicing ecologist and wildlife biologist who fully understands the importance of native biodiversity and the requirements to support it. This ~ 1,450 m2 private site located in the countryside of East Waterford is an excellent example of how a seemingly insignificantly sized parcel of land can act as a safe haven for Apis mellifera mellifera in Ireland; promoting conservation through awareness, sustainable practices, and a genuine desire to conserve one of our vital genetic recourses. It is hoped that the designation of this small Conservation Area will inspire others, especially those who are on the fence about approaching NIHBS, believing that their small town garden is no good to the cause. Every area counts, no matter how small and each square meter of the area will further strengthen our only Native Irish black honey bees foothold in Ireland.

Fingal North Dublin BKA

Fingal North Dublin Beekeepers’ Association was founded in 1977 with the aim of “encouraging beekeeping in every way possible and mutual assistance among its members”.

Membership has grown steadily over the years, from 40 in 2000 to over 160 in 2020, putting it among the top four in Ireland.

                     Bremore Castle

The beginners’ course in early spring is well attended and every effort is made to provide the new members with an experienced beekeeping mentor during their first year. Monthly meetings that include talks and demonstrations are held throughout most of the year, and regular beekeeping skills training is held in the Association apiary.

We also visit schools and attend public events to increase awareness of honeybees and their role in pollination.

The Association plays an active role in conserving the native black bee in the area, which is under threat from imported foreign strains and hybrid bees. We have designated our area a Voluntary Conservation Area for the Native Irish Black bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, a strain that has been in Ireland since the last ice age and which is specifically adapted to Irish conditions.

Bremore Castle arch (photo copyright John McMullan)

Close-up of Bremore Castle arch showing monk with skep (photo copyright John McMullan)

Modomnóc CA

Encompassing Garristown, North County Dublin and some surrounding townlands in an approximate 15km radius. 

Modomnóc is fabled to have travelled by sea between Wales and Ireland bringing swarms of bees on the mastheads. He was also able to achieve all this without being stung !! Modomnoc’s talking to his bees is in keeping with an Irish folklore custom of ‘Telling the Bees’ which ensures that the bees do not feel any offence due to exclusion from family affairs and so will remain with the hive. It was believed that if one didn’t tell the bees of a wedding, a birth, or a death they would take offence and leave. 

Birr Castle

Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, demesne, and grounds have been declared a NIHBS Conservation Area. That’s 120 acres of demesne gardens and a few thousand other acres of other lands. The beekeeper here is a founder member of NIHBS.


This encompasses Ballymachugh, Castlerahan, and Mountnugent areas. Amm breeders and keen supporters of the QRGs. The challenge was to declare irrespective of local Association because they strongly believe that the CA’s needed support.

The Bee Barn

 A small business County Cavan business is ‘The Bee Barn ‘. Situated on the shores of Lough Sheelin in South Co. Cavan and the declared areas of Castlerahan, BallyMachugh, and MountNugent.  Completely involved with the NIHBS Queen breeding group scheme. The Administrator for the Breffni Bee Breeders group and et Bee Barn, is open to groups, for example, schools, garden clubs, men’s sheds, and anyone interested in learning about bees & beekeeping. 
 Welcome to our CA areas, and thank you for your ”Big interest in promoting the native Irish bee & we try to educate possible new beekeepers on its importance”


 Mayo Beekeepers Conservation Area for the Native Irish Black Honey Bee Apis mellifera mellifera from the Mayo Beekeepers Association.
 This club unanimously supported the proposal to create the Conservation Area

 Members of the Committee
Gervase Padden- Chairman 
Jude Walsh- Secretary
Agnes Flannery- Treasurer

Mayo Beekeepers Association is based in Ballina, Co Mayo representing beekeepers in the surrounding area including Ballycastle, Crossmolina, Castlebar, Foxford, and other parts of Mayo; and extending into west Sligo to include Enniscrone, Easkey, Dromore West, Screen, and Beltra and beyond. 
The club was established in 1979 and is affiliated with FIBKA, meeting at the Teagasc Centre, Ballina 


The Headford Community Garden

The Headford Community Garden was established in 2013 and is situated in the wonderful town of Headford in the West of Ireland. Headford is a group of volunteers that are committed to nature and biodiversity. They grow food and provide plants and shelter for pollinators all without the use of any chemicals and are delighted to support NIHBS in the conservation of the Native Irish Black Honey Bee. Apis Mellifera Mellifera

 Kathleen McMahon is the Secretary at the community garden in Headford, North County Galway. Headford declares that their garden is a safe haven for The Native Black Irish Honey bee. They have been awarded a Green Flag every year since they started and never use chemicals of any kind in the garden.

Michael Harte aged 6, is very excited by the idea of an exciting new park and gardens proposed for Headford town centre.

Photo: Aengus McMahon


Shehy Mountain Conservation Area

“Shehy Mountain Conservation Area is a group of five keen beekeepers with six separate apiary areas under the umbrella of the Dunmanway And District Beekeepers’s Association. The groups aim is to both keep and breed locally adapted native Irish honey bees. The Dunmanway BKA are also involved with the NIHBS queen rearing scheme and through this the group hopes to expand its reach gradually over a much wider area of ground and in this way play a part in conserving and improving our native Irish honey bee”

The conservation area is made up of five town lands with an area of just over 2500 acres.  The land is mostly marginal with some fertile farmland but also bog and old woodland. The farms tend to be beef and sheep so not intensive. All in all, a fantastic place to keep bees. 

The bees kept by the group are mostly black bees but there are some hybrid bees in the areas surrounding the conservation area. Hopefully by having quality native queens available locally we’ll solve this problem. 


South Kildare BA Conservation area

“South Kildare Beekeepers Association – SKBA
On the 19th of March 1930 the South Kildare Beekeepers Association was founded.
South Kildare was the first Beekeepers Association in Ireland to establish standards for bottled honey. The Policy of producing a high-grade bottled honey rather than sectioned honey was adopted by the Association. Honey from the local hives was bottled with a label bearing the name of the Association and a map of Ireland with an individual number allocated to each honey producer. Honey from South Kildare was despatched to all parts of Ireland and Jacobs, the biscuit manufacturers, and the Monument Creameries, both of Dublin, were buyers of substantial quantities of the product.
However, the success of the early years was not maintained and in 1945, largely due to the low prices then prevalent for honey and the high cost of beekeeping equipment, the Kildare Beekeepers Association went into decline.
Michael Moore of Athy was responsible for re-activating the Association following his attendance at a week-long Beekeepers Courses in Gormanstown in 1962 and 1963.
SKBA is still going strong in 2022 with 70 members and our association apiary produced an excellent honey harvest this year.  We are strong supporters of the Native Irish Black Honey Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera; in 2018 we voted to make South Kildare a Conservation Area for Amm with the aim of conserving, protecting, and improving our local bees.  
SKBA’s annual beginners’ course is always popular and some members have progressed to being actively involved in NIHBS queen-rearing groups. We look forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary in a few years. “


Three weekends, three locations that are special areas of conservation for our native Irish honey bees. Russborough House Blessington,

Kilkenny city park and Wicklow mountains National park. Gerry Walsh

Boomtree Bees Conservation Area

Mick Verspuij grew up in Wellseind, a little place along the river Maas in the Netherlands, He was always out in nature. From a young age, he was fascinated with the environment around him, particularly trees. He was intrigued by how adaptable they are, their different shapes and structure, and how useful they are to both wildlife and humans. This led him to go on to study Forestry and Landscape Management in Velp, Gelderland, NL. After completing his studies, he came to Ireland in 2001 where he started a forestry contracting business in Galway. Throughout these years he became increasingly aware that things needed to change. Hedgerows were disappearing and biodiversity on farms was diminishing because of the intensification of farming practices. At this point, he changed career and went into organic farming. Here it became clear that bees were vital for the pollination of crops. With that in mind, he attended a beekeeping course and got a hive of bees. It soon became apparent to him that conventional beekeeping is more focused on honey production rather than natural bee life. He began to research and found that there were wholesome ways of beekeeping which in turn led him to explore how bees live in the wild. Given the increasing loss of wild habitats, he looked at ways to mimic their natural nesting sites in cavities in trees.
The mission is to help with the conservation and rewilding of the native honeybee through habitat creation and development. Boomtreebees make log hives which are suitable habitats for honeybees in the Irish countryside. At Boomtreebees education is a priority. Their aim is to educate schools, community groups, and others about the importance of the honeybee in our environment and what can be done to secure their future.


Killucan Honey Conservation Area

 Killucan Honey is a producer of locally harvested multiflora honey from Native Irish Black Honey Bees in Killucan, Co. Westmeath. The bees are Apis mellifera mellifera and the operation consists of 70 hives in different Apiaries across Westmeath and North Meath. The bees forage in natural habitats, isolated meadows, and within a special protection area along the Royal Canal. The honey is unique in flavour due to the foraging on Horse Chestnut, Dandelion, Willow, Sycamore, Mountain Ash, Clover, Blackberry, Raspberry, Wild Honeysuckle, Heather, Ivy, Willow Herb, & Meadow Sweet. The honey produced is raw and retains all the local pollen. The honey is never heated so maintains the enzymes usually found in natural raw honey

The Native Queens are raised through a careful Queen rearing regime for docility, honey production, comb building, & hygiene. Killucan Honey works closely with NIHBS, the Native Irish Honeybee Society, and Queen Rearing Groups.  This helps to protect and preserve the Native black Irish honey bee which is under threat from diseases brought into the Island by imported Queens & bees. Also, it is increasingly difficult to rear Queens whilst coping with the threat of hybridisation spoiling the genetics of our Native black Irish honey bee. This causes undesirable traits, and a lot of work goes into conservation through the selected and isolated locations of Killucan Honeys’ Apiaries.

Irish Seed Savers Conservation Area

‘The Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA) have made a major contribution to the protection and enhancement of nature on farms, gardens and across Ireland for over 30 years.

ISSA conserves Ireland’s threatened plant genetic resources and maintains a public seed bank of over 600 varieties of seed. They preserve heirloom and heritage food crop varieties that are suitable for Ireland and local growing conditions, contributing to the nation’s food security. They provide a unique service to the nation in terms of supply of organic heritage seeds and apple trees. The 20-acre farm, gardens, and visitor trail at Capparoe, Scarriff, Co. Clare is an inspiration, ably demonstrating intelligent land management and best practice in organic farming and farming for nature. They supply seeds of vegetables, grains, herbs, and edible flowers, as well as apple trees the progeny of which, thanks to ISSA, adorn many an orchard across Ireland today.

Irish Seed Savers are committed to preserving the local genetic character of our indigenous black honeybees through a hands-off bee-centered approach. By creating appropriate habitat opportunities for these boreal insects to thrive and to improve their resilience to the many, many challenges they are facing.’


Peninsula QRG Conservation Area

” Once upon a time in a land totally devoid of Amm, actually over 10 years ago, one or two other beekeepers got in contact with Aoife at the FIBKA conference in Gormanstown and we purchased 4 AMM Galtee queens. We had to drive to Tipperary to fetch them up to County Down. We received no help whatsoever for ten and a bit of those years and fought bitterly for Amm at all levels, both with local beekeepers who imported Buckfast bees and queens every year, and others. We were and are still anxious to get Amm very strong here, so other groups who are not as well isolated in Ulster could mate Queens in an Amm secure airspace. We did our best to swamp our areas with Amm drones but never got a colony that was totally Amm. There were always stripes in there somewhere!!! We call them “Frankenstein Bees” as they are a bit of this and a bit of Tat. There are now sixteen of us in the PQRG and a mix of Ladies and Gents with fathers and daughter combos as well. We even have a South African Gentleman in our ranks……International or what!!!  As I speak we are in the process of starting a new association here and have been invited to join the Scottish BKA as we are closer to Scotland by a long shot !! Our bees are still not great but much better than they were and much better than most around the province, but hopefully, this push will help greatly. We at PQRG have about twelve active members and a few who due to family and work cannot make it so often. We range in experience from old timers to new starts and from preliminary to senior FIBKA qualifications. A lot of knowledge and expertise there !! As Admin I have left it open-ended so members can pop in and out of sessions as they see fit, as a lot of the going on is repetitive. We meet at my home apiary at Ballyblack Bees and work from there to 3 other mating apiaries close by. We meet every Saturday morning from 1000hrs to 1200hrs as a rule and then I use the WhatsApp group messaging to inform members of other activities and for V.Queen installs to nucs and apideas as they become available.

We operate in an area not fit to be called Bee country, as it’s entirely made up of Farmers’ grass production. It’s an area of about 300 Sq Km with about 50 separate apiaries. The area is confined on the South, East, and West sides by the sea, East of the Irish Sea, and South and West by Strangford Lough. We have used the A21 dual carriageway running North to South, as our land boundary, from our new City of Bangor south to Newtownards at the north end of Strangford Lough. I have explained to NIHBS for years that it was a great place to set up as a conservation area as it can be almost totally isolated like the National Trust has done for the Red Squirrel here

We need new queens or preferably nucs next year from Galtee or better, to get us off on the right foot. That’s the only bad point about this first year. Our AMM genetics to start with were awful. I know I supplied most of them, but they were the best I could muster and people were told that……This will need to be corrected 

Blackwater Honey Conservation Area

We are two brothers, John, and Andrew Shinnick, and we’re declaring for the Fermoy area, Ballyhooly, and Blackwater valley. Blackwater Honey uses traditional and modern beekeeping methods in order to help the conservation of our native honeybee whilst aiming to produce the highest quality premium Irish Honey for sale. Blackwater Honey is Ireland’s Most Awarded honey and is proud to be a leading partner in the conservation efforts of the native bee in conjunction with the NIHBS.  

Kingdom BKA Conservation Area

Kingdom Beekeepers is a FIBKA affiliated Association based in Co. Kerry comprising around one hundred members. They range in skill levels from novice to expert. During the year we hold online and face-to-face Beginners Sessions and it is great to be back together at our Training Apiary in Tralee. We hold regular Club meets, with interesting Speakers, and also recently formed a NIHBS Queen Raising Group which is proving very successful. We had been interested in declaring a NIHBS Conservation Area for the Native Honey Bee for some while but this year we decided was the year !! Our mind turned to other Kerry Associations and we put together a joint declaration for World Bee Day with West Kerry Beekeepers and IBA Collis Sandes. It was great to co-operate. It was an easy process to declare and our membership was very enthusiastic in their support of Amm. We fully support the effort that NIHBS is making with regard to the protection of our Native Honey Bee and its campaigning efforts to ban imports of Honey Bees protecting our Native Honey Bee from imported diseases and further hybridisation

Pocket Forests Conservation Areas

Good things in small packets: Pocket Forests declare Conservation Areas for the Native Irish honey bee
Ashe Conrad-Jones

Pocket Forests is a nature-based social enterprise bringing small native forests to urban areas. We help to reconnect people with nature and empower local communities to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises on their doorsteps. We have planted forests with schools, universities, fire stations, GAA clubs and community groups. At the moment we are active in 70 sites in 7 Counties and in Northern Ireland and have worked with over 200 students

People gain a sense of pride and empowerment by being involved in every step of the creation of these healthy green spaces. Pocket Forests can help alleviate anxiety and provide havens for life, learning and mental well-being. We create memorable experiences for people preparing soil and planting their own forests which become thriving ecosystems that they can enjoy watching grow and develop. Among the native species planted are Rowan, Crab Apple, Guelder Rose, Spindle, hazel and Hawthorn
Pocket Forests is the only organisation regenerating soil and planting highly diverse small native forests in Dublin city. We have worked with more than 100 students with their teachers and planted over 1500 native trees and shrubs, repurposing tonnes of urban waste into healthy soil. Pocket Forests has made a big impact with more than 30,000 visits to our website, and interviews with national media including The Irish Times and RTE, and have built an engaged and growing following on social media.

We have a holding nursery and community awareness space in the Digital Hub on Thomas Street. 

Rare Ruminare Conservation Area

Clive Bright produces and direct-sells the finest 100% pasture-fed organic beef and rosé veal through his company Rare Ruminare. On his farm in south Sligo, Clive uses Holistic Planned Grazing to manage his animals and diverse grassland. He has a keen interest in agroforestry and is actively increasing tree cover to create high welfare, resilient habitat for his livestock, pollinators, and all wildlife.

Clive is dedicated to making space for our native black bees. He believes they are best adapted to our environment and that preserving their genetics is vital to ensuring the pollination of food crops now and in the future.  

Manna Farm Conservation Area

Manna farm is based in the Gleann na ngealt Valley on the Dingle peninsula where we grow a variety of produce for our own farm shop.  Organic Store which can be found on the Island of Geese, Strand Street, Tralee. 

It is a fully certified Organic Shop, selling a wide range of delicious organic fruit, vegetables, and organic wholefoods.

With produce from our own farm, and other local organic farms, Manna is a shop with a difference. It is ALL about the taste. At Manna we sell all kinds of organic fruit and vegetables, some depending on the season. We bring in as much stock as possible from local organic farms, including our own. And we have a buying policy to get our non-Irish stock from as close to Ireland as possible.

Organic food and caring for the environment we live in is not just a job for us – it is our life, we live it every day – on the farm, in the shop and at home.

We have local honey from many local beekeepers and we really see the importance of protecting our native Irish bee to ensure we have honey and healthy bees into the future. This is why we are delighted to work with NIHBS to set up our farm as a conservation area for the Native Irish Bee. 

Brookfield Farm Conservation Area

Ailbhe Gerrard is the farmer and beekeeper behind Brookfield Farm. After working and living in Dublin and abroad for many years she returned to Brookfield farm beside her family home. Ailbhe studied sustainable development in University College London, and organic farming for three years in the renowned Scottish Agricultural College (SRUC). She was honoured with a Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship, and lectures at Gurteen Agricultural College. Driven by her vision of bringing agriculture back to its sustainable roots; producing good food for people. Ailbhe has farmed Brookfield Farm for over ten years, growing skills, developing new ideas, and making collaborations with skilled farmers, apiarists, and consumers.
As well as farming the land Ailbhe was inspired by the views and rich land of the farm, she set out to create entirely natural, traditionally handmade gift products from the honey being produced, including beeswax candles and gift boxes. The candles are dipped + hand poured often scented with botanical essential oils.

Farmhouse Bees & Trees Conservation Area

We are Pat & Fiona McCormack of The Farmhouse Bees & Trees Ltd and with the help of our two
children, we keep native Irish honeybees in a small apiary between the banks of the royal canal and
the River Inny near Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford.
We both trained as horticulturalists, during Pat’s studies he completed a course in beekeeping under
the instruction of Philip McCabe in An Grianan, Termonfeckin.
We got our first hive of bees from Fiona’s Aunt, who was retiring from beekeeping at the time.
Beekeeping has been in the family for at least 3 generations, that we know of.
In the last few years, we have increased the number of colonies we keep & have diversified into
queen-rearing & nuc production.
The honey produced by our bees is coarsely filtered to retain all the good antibacterial &
antioxidants. We produce Spring honey, summer honey, Heather honey & Ivy honey.

Parliament Buildings Stormont Conservation Area

“Parliament Buildings, Stormont, declares for the Native Irish Honey Bee!!


Parliament Buildings, Stormont, is delighted to announce its support for the Native Irish Honey Bee by declaring a NIHBS Conservation Area!!
The Native Irish Honey Bee Society, NIHBS, was established to promote the conservation of Apis mellifera mellifera throughout the island of Ireland. The Society strives to raise public awareness of our native honey bee and its importance and acts in an advisory capacity to groups and individuals wishing to promote and preserve it.

Parliament Buildings is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly and the beekeeping idea was first mooted with the Assembly back in 2018. The Soroptimist Belfast Club wished to install an Apiary here. The Soroptimist Belfast Club is part of an international organisation whose work is linked to sustainable development goals whether it is local, national or International. All of their projects work towards ending poverty, eradicating hunger, providing education for all and preserving the environment.
 In March 2019 an apiary was installed in the grass bank at the Upper West car park of Parliament Buildings and five members of staff from the Assembly trained successfully as beekeepers. They are mentored by the appointed beekeepers and work together to manage the bees. 

There are currently three Congested Districts Board, CDB, hives with native black Irish bees, and two nucleus colonies (miniature colony of bees), complete with combs of honey, pollen and a queen), in the apiary. They are cared for by the Stormont beekeepers and VeesBees. Congested District Board (CDB) Hives were devised in Ireland in 1890 to suit the particular wet and cold Irish weather by CN Abbott, technical advisor to the Irish Congested District Board and a member of the Abbott Brothers Company who manufactured the hives. The three we have were made in 2014 using the original Abbott Brothers plans and amended for today’s use. The wood is from a 100-year-old (in 2014) cedar tree which fell in County Wicklow and the hives were hand-made in Donaghadee. The plan is to use these hives to educate staff, visitors, and school groups on the importance of bees within the eco system and to raise awareness of native honey bees and native hives. We feel that by highlighting the traditional CDB hives and the history behind their construction it enhances the educational aspect of the apiary. 

 The Assembly works in partnership with several organisation’s and we are particularly keen to highlight the bees and their significance to the Eco-Schools when they visit the building. There were some concerns initially with installing the apiary as people were afraid of visitors and staff being stung. These were addressed by educating staff and, following installation, there have been no real issues.

Working with our communications team, VeesBees, NIHBS and others we plan to install signage at the apiary to mark the conservation area and then publicise it on social media and the external website.”