Kilkenny Castle

BIO

 

 

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 habitat 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 

Irish Cement Platin Drogheda 

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

Carlow BKA 

 

 

 

 

 Heywood Gardens, OPW, Laois. 

 

 

 

 

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, and 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 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

Fingal North Dublin BKA

 

 

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. 

 

Co.Cavan

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.

West Co. Waterford 

 

 

 

 

South Tipperary

 

 

 

 

North Co.Kildare

 

 

 

 

Killinchy 

 

 

 

 

Co. Offaly

 

 

 

 

South Co. Laois

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 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. “

 

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 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 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 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 use 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 wellbeing. 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, 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 the 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 bee keepers 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 iinstallation, 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.”