Beekeeping in Ireland
There are 3500 registered beekeepers in Ireland, of which about 1-2% are commercial beekeepers. There are 59 local member Associations in Southern Ireland and 17 in Northern Ireland with approx. 1000 beekeepers. There are estimated to be 24,000 bee hives here in Ireland at present with an average honey yield per hive of 30lbs. Each Association has an Executive Council which operates as the link between the Association and FIBKA (Federation of Irish Bee Keepers’ Association).
Local Associations run beginners’ courses over the winter with great emphasis on encouraging younger beekeepers. Each Association hold monthly meeting which feature guest speakers, demonstrations, information evenings and annual honey shows. The most popular bee in Ireland is Apis Mellifera Mellifera, which is a dark bee. As we are positioned on the western fringe of Europe our honey season is a mere 12weeks, usually May to July however this is very weather dependent.
An Beachaire, the Journal of The Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Association – this a monthly magazine sent out to all members of the Federation, it is the voice of Irish Beekeeping, with news & views, Beehealth & Medications update, Beginners’ Corner, Improvers’ Corner, Notices, Book Reviews and lots more.
Work with Youth
In 2015 FIBKA introduced a Youth Officer to their committee, to cater for the needs of young beekeepers. This resulted in a week of events for young people attending the Summer School in Gormanston, with children as young as 10yrs taking part in the beginner’s classes. In the last number of years, the number of young people taking part in the craft of beekeeping has grown steadily thanks to the continued promotional and advertisement campaigns being run by each of the local associations.
The Internationally Renowned Annual Beekeeping Summer Course is now in its 71st year and has taken place in Gormanston College in Co Meath since 1961. This is a residential summer course unique to Ireland. There are a range of lectures, workshops, hive demonstrations and examinations for both the beginner through to the advanced beekeeper.
Interesting tips for Apitourism
With the rise of all things eco, the idea of “apitourism” is ever on the increase. Annual Honey Shows and Farmers Markets are now attracting tourists who are interested in meeting local Beekeepers who are passionate about their craft, they are delighted to sample the organic honeys and relish in their medicinal properties. Also with the myriad of byproducts form candles to crayons, beers to bee pollen cosmetics the craft markets are also a huge attraction. Apitourism is now an item on the agenda of many association meetings.
The Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Association is the governing body of Beekeeping in Ireland. Our current President is Gerry Ryan and the Federation can be contacted by emailing www.irishbeekeeping.ie
Irish man, Philip McCabe, who is a well-known beekeeper, is the current President of Apimondia, the world beekeeping federation. Philip believes that he has an historic opportunity to build a new and harmonious dialogue between all beekeepers. To achieve success Philip believes that Apimodia’s leading principles need to be dialogue, inclusion, cooperation and recognising that young people are the future of beekeeping.
Aside from the Annual Summer School in Gormanston, some local associations deliver beekeeping workshops, using observation hives, to National School children, highlighting the importance of bees as pollinators in our environment.
ICYB contact person, email
Contact for a youngster for AYB
(Association of Young Beekeepers)