Watch: There's a buzz in Ballyvourney with the success of a new beekeeping co-operative

Rosaí McCarthy is flushed with the success of a new beekeeping co-operative in Ballyvourney, Cork

Watch: There's a buzz in Ballyvourney with the success of a new beekeeping co-operative

Picture: Heading out to inspect the bee hive are: Cathal Ó Riada, Rosaí McCarthy, Mícheál O’Ceallaigh, Tomás O hEaluithe, Cian O’hEaluithe, Jerh Ó hEalaithe, Suzanne O’Riordan, Rachel Ní Riada, Gearóid Ó Duinnín, Gobnait Lynch and Cecily O’Connell. All pictures: Dan Linehan

CUMANN Bheachairí Mhúscraí was established in the Gaeltacht village of Baile Bhúirne, in February 2017, with the support of local group, Dúlra & Dúchas Bhaile Bhúirne.

We have 22 members and under the guidance of beekeeping advisor, Dr Pádraig Whelan, we kickstarted our journey with theory classes.

Some of us did not know our elbow from a honeybee, but the array of fantastic lecturers, from Cork County and City, taught us the basics of beekeeping.

We quickly got to know about queen cells, nucs, brood boxes, varroa mites, and pollinator plants.

Did you know that there can be up to 40,000 bees in just one hive? We all became quite excited about being out there and getting practical experience.

Our group of 22 is a little unique, in that we have 17 absolute beginners and five experienced beekeepers. We thought that the best way forward was to set up our own co-operative apiary. We put a system in place, so each of our groups would have at least one experienced beekeeper. We wanted our members to have the opportunity of working with bees, before investing in their own hive.

We are a member of FIBKA (Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations) and we received financial assistance, for which we are very grateful, from local businesses: Tús Gheal Teo, Folláin Teo, and Deasy’s Pharmacy Group.

This funding enabled us to buy a hive and a set of super-healthy bees (big shout out to Mícheál Ó Súilleabhán, Dunmanway, and the Irish Examiner’s beekeeping correspondent, Mary O’ Riordan, for their support here). Then, with the help of a local organic farmer, we set up our apiary in Baile Bhúirne. The spot is not too far away from the shrine of St. Gobnait, who is, after all, the patron saint of Irish beekeepers, and also of Baile Bhúirne.

We were ready, we were willing, and the bees were able. We had a fantastic summer, weather-wise, and the bees thrived. With a little effort from all the members, the hive filled up with honey.

This week, we reaped the benefits of our efforts and the hard work of the honeybees. We had the joy of extracting some raw honey or, as we prefer to refer to it, ‘the nectar of the Gods’.

What a joy; you felt connected to the earth, to nature and to life. The feeling of belonging to such a project was overwhelming and worth every minute of our time and effort.

We are in the process of adding a second hive to our apiary, and The Men’s Shed in Macroom have become involved. They are currently building a hive for the association apiary and, all going well, they will build more hives, which can be ordered and purchased from them.

A section of the hive.

A section of the hive.

Ar mhaith leat a bheith i do bheachaire? Ba bhreá linn baill nua a mhealladh! Má tá tuilleadh eolais ag teastáil is féidir é a fháil ar ár leathnach Facebook @CumannBM.

Would you like to be a beekeeper? We would like to invite new members. If you want more information, please contact us through our Facebook page, @CumannBM.

More in this section

News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.