Evelyn Reilly and Seamus Murphy, members of the Cavan Beekeepers Association, at the hives at Ballyhaise Agricultural College.

Buzz about county’s first honey show

With a remarkable rise in the number of people in Cavan and surrounding areas keeping bees, the county is set to host its first honey show at Ballyhaise Agricultural College this coming Saturday, November 18.

Hosted by the Cavan Beekeepers Association, the show will have more than 20 classes for entries, covering all types of local honey as well as other related products such as beeswax candles, mead and honey cakes. The show will be open to the general public, with free admission, from 11am and will continue until 4:30pm in the late afternoon.

Entries will be judged by President of FIBKA John Donoghue and Jim Fletcher, two Irish beekeepers, and both eminent names who have just returned from judging duties at the world-renowned London Honey Show.

As well as that there will be an information stand, manned by Cavan Beekeepers Association members, to provide information and guidance to anyone interested in the craft of beekeeping, and opportunities to purchase locally produced honey.

The show will take place in the college's sports hall.

Not since the 1960s and 70s can Cavan Beekeepers Association's Seamus Murphy remember such keen interest in beekeeping in the locality.

“It's really picking back up. Honey shows are just a way of helping beekeepers to present their honey but also an opportunity to see the honey coming out of other local hives.”

Saturday represents the county's “first standalone” honey show, says Seamus, separate to a competition among beekeepers entering produce to the annual Virginia Agricultural Show.

“We left this year to try and start a show in its own right. Initial feedback is we're expecting to get some very nice and important entries from people, beekeepers who have been successful in other areas. So hopefully this will be a success.”

Entries can be accepted right up to the morning of the show at 9:30am, and Seamus highlights there will be plenty more for people to do and see including at a craft fair with wood-turning, jewellery, basket weaving, gardening and much more.

“Everyone is welcome. We'd love the public to come along as well to have a look and see what's happening around the county as well,” adds Seamus, who is conscious of the important role pollinators play in the wider eco-system.

“This year has been an interesting year for honey. It started early and bees were struggling then towards the end, with the rains in June spoiling things. It was almost the opposite of last year, with lots of Spring honey and not as much Summer honey collected.”