The Native Irish Honey Bee Society Conservation Area Family introduce themselves - They support us please support them!
Table of Contents
The Farm does not keep bees itself but the heather is well used by Native Irish Honey Bees in the area. The role of NIHBS Conservation Areas where no honey bees are kept is essential to the development of “safe havens”. The undertaking that the landowner signs requires them to reserve their land, when it comes to Honey Bees, for only our Native Honey Bee.
Cleggan Farm is a peninsular between Cleggan Bay to the South and Ballinakill Bay to the North. It was established by my great-great-grandfather in 1852 and I am the fifth generation. It has spent much of its time as a somewhat private property, but over the past fifty one years I have taken a different attitude and approach and there is now a steady stream of walkers coming to ‘take the air’ and to enjoy the views.
Set on an 840-acre estate, Adare Manor in Co. Limerick is one of Ireland’s leading five-star properties. The resort re-opened in November 2017 following an extensive restoration, refurbishment and expansion programme over a 21-month period. The largest restoration project of its kind in Ireland, the renovation and expansion honours the building’s architectural heritage as a Neo-Gothic masterpiece while incorporating the latest in contemporary luxury. Most notably, the expansion included a new 42-bedroom wing, increasing accommodations to a total of 104 guest rooms, a ballroom which can host up to 350 guests, and 2021 marked the launch of the brand-new Padel Club – a wellness and recreational facility nestled deep within the estate’s peaceful woodlands. The riverside demesne is now home to Ireland’s only spa concept by the globally recognised skincare brand, 111SKIN, helmed by one of the world’s leading cosmetic surgeons. The property is also home to elegant fine dining facilities including the luxury Michelin Star Oak Room restaurant, a championship golf course redesigned by award-winning designer Tom Fazio that will play host to the 2027 Ryder Cup, trout fishing on the River Maigue and a host of other estate activities, including falconry, archery, and clay pigeon shooting, which will intrigue even the most experienced travellers. Situated in the heart of picturesque Adare Village in Co. Limerick, Adare Manor is surrounded by medieval ruins, walled gardens and winding woodland paths and just 25 minutes from Shannon International Airport.
Our natural surroundings provide a platform for everything that we do and we are devoted to returning the same nurture and care to our beautiful home that it has so unconditionally granted to us. Providing a beyond everything experience to our guests and team members remains paramount to us and delivering this experience sustainably is at the heart of everything we do.
We have taken actions to minimise our carbon footprint along with various initiatives established across the resort to support a greener community and promote the natural growth and development of our environment.
Burncourt Community Council
Burncourt Community Council (BCC) is a community based voluntary organisation. A major element of the work of BCC is the provision and upkeep of Burncourt Community Hall. BCC works on an ongoing basis with the local clubs, school and various organisations in the area. The hall is available and is used on a weekly basis by Burncourt National School,Card Players,Dancing Classes, Flower Club, Parent & Toddler group, Drama Group,Sport Groups and others. BCC organise various events and Festivals throughout the year. These include Bealtaine,Summer Festival, Pumpkin Festival and provide the Hall for Drama Productions, Community Celebratory Events and as a resource for those who are bereaved with Funeral Teas. BCC also organise fundraisers for various charities. BCC is currently involved in two major projects – to Conserve and Restore Mountain Lodge in Glengarra Woods, a building which is of immense historical and architectural importance. 2023 will see an extension to the rear of the Community Hall with the potential of increasing the range of facilities available. Living on the doorstep of the renowned Galtee Honey, we are all fortunate to be aware of the tremendous work of the MacGillacoda family.The family’s willingness to take part in events , to engage in educational programmes with the national schools, to support the Mountain Lodge Conservation and Restoration Project , all ensure local knowledge of the importance of the Conservation of the Native Honey Bee. As a group and as individuals , we are privileged to be part of this work.
For the last ten years or more I have worked with amm only and where possible, have sought to obtain swarms that are known to have come from wild living colonies, or to have my virgin queens located in areas where wild colonies exist and have little or no competition from managed colonies. Or I keep some of my own swarms – unless I give them to other beekeepers. The reasons have largely to do with the evident success of the wild colonies (and those derived therefrom) in living with or being able to manage varroa. I have not treated my hives for varroa, for almost ten years – with little or few losses and disease burden. The apiary is located in a rural area of mostly pasture, some unimproved meadows and grazing, raised bogs and some woodland. I also coordinate the Fermanagh Wild Bee project on behalf of our Association – the main aim of which is to support the wild honey bee population.
Lissan Lane Apiary
Lissan Lane is in rural Co Fermanagh about three miles north of Enniskillen. The apiary is located about the middle of Lissan townland and is well sheltered although on a high site 300 metres above sea level. It is owned and managed by Brian and his wife with 14 to 20 colonies. All colonies are Amm and replacement queens are from NIHBS queen rearing programme whenever possible. Brian started bee keeping in 2010 and progressed through the Preliminary, Intermediate and Senior FIBKA examination programme. The area around the apiary is partially wooded and grazing for cattle and sheep with virtually no arable farming. Bee products including honey (extracted, set, and cut comb) bees wax (candles and wax blocks) and mead are produced.
The Blackwell Household
The reason I got into beekeeping was to provide accommodation to native bees, when I had learned about them and the threat to their existence by imports. The small bit of honey I take from them is a bonus, albeit a big one. Of interest is that I have noted that all the honeybee swarms I have seen over the past year (in the vicinity of my home) have indeed been black bees. This has been very heartening.
Fossey Conservation Area
As an avid beekeeper and Public Relations Officer of Laois Beekeeping Association I understand the threats posed to the native honeybee by habitat loss, pesticide use, hybridization and disease, and it’s become clear to me that something needs to be done to protect this vital species.
That’s why I decided to take action and declare my land a native Irish honeybee conservation area. I keep several AMM colonies on my land and this year I am planting wildflowers and making my lands more pollinator friendly. I hope that my efforts will contribute to the conservation of these important pollinators and inspire others to take action as well.
I am new to beekeeping but have a lifelong interest in biodiversity & conservation. My fellow beekeepers in Westport Beekeepers Association are of great support & a font of knowledge & experience. My bees (AMMs) forage in a natural habitat of wildflowers & hedgerow with minimal intervention from me. I am happy to declare my support for the conservation of our AMM.
Inchydoney Bee Farm
My partner and I had the great fortune a few years ago to settle on a small subsistence farm at the centre of Inchydoney Island in West Cork, in the midst of amazing unspoiled natural Irish heritage. The coastal environments, dunes, woods and wetlands, in harmony with thoughtful farming, all combine into a beautiful and fragile ecosystem that we feel a duty to defend. We started with beginner beekeeping in recent years, and came to learn of the precarious position of many of Ireland’s native species when faced with invasive imports, particularly the threat to the native Irish honeybee, Apis mellifera mellifera.
The story of the native honeybee is the perfect narrative to energise citizens into action to defend what is precious on the island of Ireland. The story ranges from the critical role of native bee species in pollination of natural and agricultural growth, to the threat to Ireland’s cultural heritage where beekeeping is officially recognised, to the basic incompatibilities between unregulated trade versus the protection of local environments and livelihoods. We are proud to join the campaign to plant seeds of awareness of what we can all do to protect what is here, for us and for future generations.
Rose Willow Cottage Apiary
Surrounded by Galway stone walls, this apiary is a small home apiary of 6-8 hives on private land. With both woodland and wild meadows in abundance, the bees have a huge amount to forage on nearby.
Paul Butler Household
I first dabbled in beekeeping at college but gave it up as being too interventionist. It was only in the last few years I realised that there are of course many ways of keeping bees and now I am happy to only keep Amm, do no treatments, few inspections and only sporadic feeding if any. (Actually I suppose I inspect all the time by watching the hive door activity!) I work as a forester and love to see the bees on trees and other plants I grow with them in mind. My farm is fragmented and I think this is an advantage as I can spread my hives out and I believe this is good for them.
Dromdúire, Leabeg Middle, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow
My name is Louise Flood and I’m mad about our native little honey bee. I started beekeeping with my uncle Derek in 2013 with the native honey bee. Between us we have 6 to 8 hives on the go. Our approach to bee keeping is quite hands off, letting the bees do their thing.They are wonderful little creatures from the healing power of honey to helping the farmers in the fields and the list goes on. This is a small conservation area of 52 acres approximately. I am one of the next generation in this family to keep this land. When you’re raised on the land, the land feels like part of your DNA and feels very important to keep it healthy for the next generations. All the farms around me are farmed by relatives with nature in mind and some are organic. I rent out all but 2 acres to family. All of the fields are small and surrounded with lovely old hedges for wildlife. The names of the fields have been passed down the generations, Dromdúire is the name of the field we live in. In the little sally park there is a big old beech tree with a colony of bees in it that have been there for years. Every year I put a box out with excitement to try and catch a swarm. In the 2 acres that I keep around my house I have been planting all sorts of trees for bees and I’m the process of making a pond, changing it from a field, (nothing wrong with a field), but to a different haven for wildlife. The process brings me so much joy. Especially when I spy new things arriving. We have tadpoles this year and they’re like my new children. We all need to do our part to protect this little honey bee .Starting with a small conservation area and hopefully growing in years to come with neighbouring farms joining up . It would be lovely if all of Ireland became a conservation island for the native bee.
Woodfield has been a family smallholding for the last 30+ years. Surrounded by forest and low intensity farming it offers a sanctuary for nature. In times past there were rare breed Tamworth and Large Black pigs, Black Welsh Mountain sheep and English Cuckoo marans all making it their home. Those are now gone but plans are afoot to establish some native black bee colonies on site in Summer 2023.
Killinchy and District Beekeepers Association Queen Rearing Group
We are a Conservation Area formed in 2022 endeavoring to raise awareness of and provide a safe haven for our Native Irish Bees Based in Finnebrogue Woods near Downpatrick in County Down. For further information, please contact Gwen Earnshaw or Sue Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cappawhite / West Tipperary
A group of about 15 passionate beekeepers are determined to keep West Tipperary a AMM Conservation area. It is a beautiful rural area and is based around the village of Cappawhite but extends to Tipperary Town, towards Golden and Dundrum. All the beekeepers are fully aware of the threats to the native bees from imports and are fully alert to such imports.
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.
Fitzgerald Woodlands House Hotel and Spa is proud to partner with The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) in establishing a conservation area for the native Irish honey bee. As a hotel committed to sustainability the Fitzgerald family recognizes the vital role that bees play in our ecosystem and is dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and biodiversity on its grounds.
This initiative reflects the hotel’s commitment to environmental sustainability and preservation of the native Irish honey bee population. The native irish honey bee has come under threat from imported diseases and hybridisation so we will create a conservation area which will be a designated space to support the welfare and preservation of the Native Irish Honey Bee.
The hotel’s Organic garden, Marys Organic Garden is a project of passion for owner Mary Fitzgerald and supplies the hotel’s kitchen with organic fruits, vegetables, and honey. In partnership with the NIHBS, the onsite apiary will be expanded to house native black honey bee hives. The honey harvested from these hives is used by our guests and for treatments at Revas Spa.
Mary Fitzgerald, the owner of Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel and Spa, said, I am thrilled to be working with the NIHBS to help protect the native Irish honey bee. Our garden and honey bees is a project close to my heart, and it brings me joy to see it thrive while also helping to promote sustainability and education in our hotel operations. This collaboration with NIHBS is a significant step forward for Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel and Spa in its mission to promote environmental sustainability and conservation.
The hotel is committed to preserving the beauty and nature of its 30-acre estate and continually seeks out innovative ways to promote sustainable tourism. Our hives are also a very popular feature for classes and tours in our garden for our junior and senior residents.Guests and visitors are welcome to explore the walking trail and to visit and observe the native irish honey bee hives, which are an integral part of Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel and Spas commitment to sustainability.
Take a look at how our website is helping the Native Irish Honey Bee Society, https://www.woodlands-hotel.ie/home/honey-bees
Irish Cement Plant 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.
The Bee Barn
We run a small business here and are situated on the shores of Lough Sheelin in South Co. Cavan and declare the areas of Castlerahan, BallyMachugh and MountNugent. We have been involved with the NIHBS Queen breeding group scheme . I am the Administrator for the Breffni Bee Breeders group . At our Bee Barn we are open to groups, for example schools, garden clubs, Mens sheds and anyone interested in learning about bees & beekeeping . We have a big interest in promoting the native Irish bee & we try to educate possible new beekeepers on its importance”.
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.
Fingal North Dublin BKA
Gortnagown Conservation Area, based in Glencar Co.Kerry, is the brainchild of Joseph & Rosarie McGillycuddy. The NIHBS Conservation Area comprises woodland of about twenty acres and Joseph is working on a regeneration scheme for the woodland. They are located on the south-eastern shore of Caragh Lake. They have 4 hives which they hope to increase over the next few years. They have always kept a few hives in Gortnagown & they have been part of the McGillycuddy ancestry for 4 Generations. They are very interested in the conservation of the Native Honey Bee, and realise & appreciate the importance of the Native Honey Bee
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.
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 Co. Laois
I have been a member of the Westport Beekeepers Association (WBKA) since 2012.
I have a keen interest in Native Habitats and Biodiversity, which first drew me to beekeeping.
I have also served on the WBKA Committee as Club Secretary, and have seen at first hand the dedication to passing on learning and expertise that comes with beekeepers sharing their skills and giving freely of their time to help others.
It is extremely important to save the Native Irish Honey Bee from further hybridisation, and I would like to do whatever I can to support NIHBS in this work.
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 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.’
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
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.”Fitzgerald Woodlands House Hotel and Spa is proud to partner with The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) in establishing a conservation area for the native Irish honey bee.
I am a small scale beekeeper/conservationist outside of Dunlavin, keeping bees in several apiaries in the vicinity. Plezica is my home apiary, we have 10 acres of fields, woodlands and some ‘wilderness’, an area that used to be part quarry and has now been left to rewild for a number of years, covered in gorse, brambles and multitudes of wildflowers in the summertime. We are also in the process of reforesting more parts of our land, partially groundcovering and partially in small dense miniforest projects. I keep up to 5 or temporarily max 6 hives here, mostly in Warre hives, trying to keep my bees as naturally as possible . I am regularly assessing my bees to hopefully keep them as pure AMM as possible and was recently delighted to find that the latest genetic study is in line with this ambition. I would like to gradually make more people aware that we only have 1 native species of honeybee in Ireland and get conservation areas spread to other places that I keep bees in .
Ultan Duggan – Private Dwelling
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 a strict avoidance of herbicides and pesticides, monitored use of fertilises 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 passion as a member of this household is 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 area will further strengthen our only native honey bee’s foothold in Ireland